|Written by Abby Kohut|
On one of the past Career Wake Up Calls, someone asked a question about posting their picture on LinkedIn. Given that your resume and LinkedIn profile are two major components of your personal marketing collateral, it's a good idea to give some airtime to this topic.
Many people now have chosen to put a picture on their LinkedIn profile. A picture makes your profile seem more personal, and you also appear to be more approachable. Being approachable is the first step towards building a strong network. After all, how can you develop relationships without encouraging people to approach you? Another reason to put a picture on your profile is this: recruiters will be suspicious if you don't, the same way they are suspicious about resumes that don't include years or months.
If you choose to include a picture, remember this: a picture is only worth a thousand words if it is professional looking and photogenic. Ideally, have a headshot taken by a professional photographer. If you are on a tighter budget, consider having your picture taken at Sears or Wal*Mart for a small fee. As a last resort, have a friend take a picture of you with a digital camera, but not with a camera phone. Select a neutral background outside to stand in front of on a cloudy day or in indirect sunlight.
Your attitude in your picture should exude confidence. After all, if you believe in your skills, you want everyone to know that at first glance. Your picture should also be timely. It should be a good representation of who you are today.
This is also a good time for me to warn you to be careful of what you post on other social media sites. For example, avoid posting pictures of you dressed up like Spongebob on Halloween drinking a martini. Make sure the pictures you post present you as a professional person, worthy of hiring. Once you land, keep these pictures off your profile as they will be searchable the next time you are looking.
If you decide to put a picture of yourself on your resume, it MUST be a professional photo. Pictures on resumes are more common outside the US, but occasionally I have seen them in the States. The pictures should be used to show your professionalism, not your attractiveness. There is a HUGE difference.
Pictures on business cards are also starting to become more popular. I actually like the idea because with all the cards I acquire, it's nice to be able to attach a face to each name. Remember that the card will be passed among other people so it is critical that you look your best. You should avoid printing them at home on inkjet paper because the ink runs when it gets wet. You can purchase 500 cards for under $30 typically. See this blog post for more business card tips.
Now let's discuss the elephant in the room… discrimination. Many people don't want to post their pictures online because they fear that recruiters will pre-judge them based on their protected class such as age, race and ethnicity. A friend of mine had a good answer to this. He said, "why would you want to interview with someone in the first place who won't hire you because of how you look?" He's right. If someone is going to discriminate against you, it's better to know before you waste you time with them. In my opinion, the benefits of showing the world who you are far outweigh the risks. You are who you are. No one can change that. Only if you believe in yourself first will the world join you.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Picture this… you add your photo to your LinkedIn profile today. Everyone you are connected with gets a message saying that you updated your profile. One of those people happens to take a look at your photo and he thinks, "wow…what a friendly looking Tech Support Rep that is." Then, he realizes that his company is hiring Tech Support Reps and he remembers about the referral bonus he will get paid if he introduces you. Bing bang boom… you have an interview. Pay for the professional photo… it's worth every cent!