You might need a new headshot for your social media profiles. Are you using a photo from 10 years ago, something cropped from a picture of you and your ex? Do you have one at all? You could be losing out on career opportunities.

 

LinkedIn’s own research shows that profiles with photos are reviewed seven times more often than those without pictures. The latest Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Survey found 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates for job vacancies.

DSC_7999Comcast Recruiter Patrick Fitch says LinkedIn has become important because of the numbers of professionals who use it. “LinkedIn has more professionals in one place than any other business/network oriented website. You can trust the majority of profiles you view and the information you view frequently matches the person you contact. ”

Knowing how to use LinkedIn can give you an advantage. Part of using it well includes having a good, professional headshot for your profile picture. LinkedIn trainer Colleen McKenna of Intero Advisory says “LinkedIn is about people connecting with people and it’s much easier to do that when you can see the person you are connecting with. It’s a pretty human reaction and most of us are visual. Seeing a person creates an immediate connection.

“Beyond that, it shows you take LinkedIn seriously and a level of professionalism. It shows you use LinkedIn well. And, finally, at this point, the expectation on photos is greater than ever. Now is not the time to not have a photo on LinkedIn or any other social or business platform.”

That doesn’t mean you should use any random picture you have on your phone or your desktop. If you scroll through your list of contacts and “people you may know” right now, you’ll probably see a few photos that are, at best, not flattering to either the person or their professional standing. (My favorite might be the driver’s-seat selfie.) Fitch says, “While no one wants to and should not be judged by their picture, you do not want to (for example) have a picture of you holding an alcoholic beverage.”

Your profile photo should look like you on your best day, or look like you, full stop. A photo that doesn’t resemble you could confuse people, or even put them off. McKenna says “I am a bit offended when people don’t look like their photo.”

92% of recruiters surveyed for the Jobvite 2013 Social Recruiting study said they’ve hired through LinkedIn. Do you really want to confuse or annoy someone who could be your next client or employer?

You also need to consider what you’re wearing. Just because you wear it to work doesn’t mean it will work for you in a headshot. Stylist and image consultant Monica Barnett, founder of Blueprint for Style says “Professionals make the assumption that they should be in their professional attire without consideration for what works well on camera and creates a complementary look for them.”

Kristina Moore, the Corporate Fashionista says “what you wear can highlight whether or not your personal or professional style is modern or outdated. It’s to be expected that the observer may then wonder if the ideas and abilities you bring to the table are also modern or outdated.”

What kind of photos are you using on your professional profiles?

If you think it’s time for something new, let’s talk.