Why is your profile photographs are so important to your job search, and how can you make sure your profile pictures are working to your advantage?
There was a time when people were nervous about the internet. They were scared to used credit cards online and they were scared to upload their photographs. There was also a time when people said that social media would come and go.
That time has past.
Your profile picture is a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself from rival candidates. With our partners at Obvious Candidate we work with our clients to improve their online profiles to accelerate their job search. Over the years we’ve discovered the single biggest improvement we can make to a job seeker’s online profile is to improve their choice of photo they are using. By comparison the tweaking of words and details lower down the profile creates a less immediate impact.
And the very worst thing you can do is to have no photo at all.
According to one US study, visitors to your profile finding no photo of you assume you are either ugly or lack the skill to upload. Either way, the job search impact is negative.
As a functioning human being you have become acutely aware of when someone makes a poor first impression. You spot it immediately. The weak damp handshake or the absence of eye contact during your initial greeting are both instant negatives that give a bad start to a relationship and in an interview situation you may never recover the lost ground.
Today your profile is often serving as your first impression. Your photo is the element that your viewer will be most immediately drawn to. That means it’s playing the same make or break role as your body language in an in person meeting.
A study by one leading recruitment website revealed that recruiters actually spend more time considering the candidate’s photo than they do on the detail of their profile. Clearly that shouldn’t be the case, but humans are humans and first impressions count.
But how do you know if your photo is hindering your job search?
The big LinkedIn photograph mistakes:
How to make sure your photo is working for you:
Tip 1: Upload your options to Photofeeler.com
You may remember hotornot.com from when the internet was new? Both sites let other web users vote on your photos. But Photofeeler.com lets you understand how other business people view and respond to your profile picture. Not only that, but it gives you numerical results – scoring your pictures with regard to Influence, Competence and Likeability. Don’t only upload one. Test 3 or 4 pictures and find what scores the best. You can do this for free by voting on other users’ photos to earn credits. Full disclosure: It can be a little addictive when the votes start coming in.
Tip 2: Have some professional photos taken.
You’re serious about your job search aren’t you? Professional headshots are not the preserve of models and celebrities. They are affordable and make a big difference. Find a local photographer, explain your purpose and an investment of a few hundred pounds can help you add thousands to a starting salary. While you’re investing, take a few outfits. You’ll find these shots have a variety of purposes. Get some more relaxed, some more professional.
Tip 3: Select your background.
Make sure your background is not distracting. You should be the focus, not an afterthought.
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