Is Your LinkedIn Profile Picture Killing Job Prospects?

I don’t really consider myself an HR person. I’m more of a social media strategist who loves helping job seekers. However, I do occasionally attend HR related training. Yesterday was one such occasion and inevitably, I had a shock. The discussion moved from hiring techniques, to LinkedIn photos. Many of the folks in the room would agree with us LinkedIn profile pictures should be professional. No argument. But someone told us a story that made us cringe. And if you are in HR, you may cringe as well. This recruiter was working with a candidate, who had hired her to position him for a job. He had a fabulous resume. Literally, she had trouble finding anything to change. But then she took one look at his LinkedIn profile photo. The guy looked like an axe murder. She said, “No wonder he wasn’t getting any interviews, despite his killer credentials, no pun intended.” So, he retook his photo, and I kid you not, within a week, he had several opportunities arise. (Lets just ignore the more frightening social implications of that for now, and accept the fact your photo makes a big impact.) So I ask you, does your photo strive too hard to be what you think professional is supposed to be? Or, are you using it as an opportunity to convey personality? I’m not a photographer, but I would like to offer some profile photo tips: 1. Don’t be afraid to show personality. You can have personality and be professional at the same time. 2. Experiment with action shots. There isn’t a lot of room, but the more you can demonstrate YOU in action the better. Can you fit yourself giving a presentation in the photo, shaking hands, or even leaning on a hand? 3. Play with the negative space. Try turning your body or tilting your head. 4. Smile and think inviting thoughts. That’s my amateur photography advice for LinkedIn. If you have some more ideas, please share them in the comments below.

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