Why you need a new head shot, business edition

You might need to come see me for a portrait session.  You know that profile you posted to that professional networking site?  You need a picture to go with it.  Or a new picture.  Are you using a clear, fairly recent headshot that you’d want to have on a company profile?  Great, skip the rest of this post, call me if you need family portraits.  Are you using a photo from 10 years ago, something cropped from a picture of you and your ex, or you don’t have one at all?  Keep reading.

A new survey was released recently that found 93% of recruiters use LinkedIN to find candidates for job vacancies.  That’s up from 87% the previous year.  73% of the recruiters polled say they hired people they found through social media.  89% of those found someone through LinkedIN.  That means a lot of people who could help put you in your dream job are looking at your profile.  But is it ready for them to see?

I have a profile on LinkedIN.  Putting one together is pretty easy.  The site leads you through what you should add to it, and tells you how close you are to completing the profile.  You aren’t done until you add a photo.  What the site doesn’t tell you is whether the picture you’ve chosen is appropriate or a good photo.

You might have strong job skills that you explain in a fabulous, error-free resumé, but the wrong picture, or no picture, could stand between you and your next career move.  LinkedIN’s own research shows that profiles with photos are reviewed seven times more often than those without pictures.

Photo credits clockwise, starting at left:  Julie Yarbrough ,  Kési Felton ,  Kat Goduco

Photo credits clockwise, starting at left: Julie Yarbrough, Kési Felton, Kat Goduco

I recently updated my profile. I hired a pro photog friend to take my portraits, and I have one of those on my profile and the Twitter account I use for my business.  I’m wearing something I would wear to a meeting or an interview, and there’s nothing distracting in the background.  The LinkedIN thumbnail is pretty small, so you don’t want a wide shot, you need the viewer to see your face.

For other uses, like your company website or business Facebook page, a wider, full length or environmental (workplace) portrait will work.  The ones that you crop from that backyard party or from a group family photo will not.  Don’t show photos from your latest neighborhood tournament if you’re not a tennis pro, and unless you take care of pets for a living it’s best not to post pictures with your favorite pet.

So, what kind of photos are you using on your professional profiles?  If you think it’s time for something new, let’s talk.