It might be your LinkedIn headshot.
You might find putting your headshot on a public forum to be daunting… but if you don’t put serious thought into your photo, disastrous results can follow.
Don’t blame it on the economy, your age, or experience! Failing to display a professional image online WILL affect your job search.
If your LinkedIn photo shows ANY of the following, employers may refrain from reaching out to you – especially if your target job requires a professional, client-facing demeanor:
1 – Your pet.
We love your pet, too. However, even though you’re fond of your dog, cat, or tarantula, employers don’t need to see their shining faces next to yours on LinkedIn.
Keep Fido, Fluffy, and Fearless out of your professional life, the same way you’d refrain from taking them to an interview.
2 – Unkempt beards or facial hair.
While neatly trimmed facial hair is common, some employers react to beards on candidates. Facial hair, especially when it’s white, can also age you (Santa Claus, anyone?). My clients consistently report better results when they join the ranks of their clean-shaven counterparts.
Still not convinced? Google “getting hired with a beard” to see what employers think. The evidence overwhelmingly points to a successful job search when you take the hint and eliminate or trim facial hair.
3 – The inside of your car.
Want to convey that you’re serious about your career? Then look the part – deliberately – instead of using a randomly taken photo that includes a headrest. (We know you just snapped a selfie with 20 different takes.)
Even a great shot of you behind the wheel isn’t enough to make employers think you can drive a new project or team. (pun intended)
4 – Your spouse or children.
Family photos aren’t LinkedIn fodder, because your Profile is all about YOU. Unlike Facebook, where family matters are frequently shared, your LinkedIn Profile is the place to separate work and home.
Show employers you understand this divide by keeping your LinkedIn persona strictly about your professional image.
5 – Bare shoulders.
A near-constant LinkedIn look for professional women is the “glamour shot” or a photo in less-than-professional attire.
You’ve probably spent countless hours honing career skills and earning the right to the corner office, so leave the party attire behind when spending time on a professional, career-oriented networking site.
However, this isn’t the professional image most people expect (or want to remember), based on your credentials. Don’t confuse LinkedIn with Facebook!
Bottom line: if you wouldn’t wear a strapless dress, sports t-shirt, or low-cut blouse to the office, then don’t show this attire to every prospective boss in the world.
6 – A political sign.
You may believe that endorsing (or bashing) a political figure on LinkedIn will promote your cause. But guess what? Your prospective boss might be on the other side of your political leanings.
As several major elections have shown, nearly half of the country disagrees with you (and therefore, may not consider hiring you). Drop the political messaging from your Profile photo and text, and see what happens.
7 – Your spouse’s arm, shoulder, or hand.
Cropping yourself out of a family photo not only looks obvious, but implies that you’re camera-shy (and perhaps won’t project sufficient confidence at work).
Get over your reluctance – your job search may depend on it. You can easily get a great-looking photo by relying on a professional headshot photographer. Then, take the time to run the results through PhotoFeeler to get some feedback.
You’ll never need that shoulder again.
To sum it up, your LinkedIn Profile isn’t just the “new resume” – it’s a fresh opportunity to promote your brand by looking the part of the consummate expert.
If your LinkedIn Profile isn’t gaining traction, take a serious look at your posted photo. Changing it to a professional-looking headshot might just be the push needed for employers to contact you.