LinkedIn Tip: A Mug Shot is Better than No Shot

Did you know that 55% of recruiters will reconsider a candidate after visiting their social media profile? (MashableTweet this That means you have a greater chance of being passed over than actually being moved through the process. The same article states that 93% of recruiters use social media tools to research candidates. (Mashable) Those percentages are high. You need to flip the equation and make your social brand work in your favor. The best way to do this is to analyze and revitalize your social media presence.

Let’s start with LinkedIn!

Two weeks ago, I spoke on this exact topic of Social Branding to a local job seekers networking group. During the presentation a man asked the importance of having a LinkedIn profile picture compared to no picture at all. The room was unanimous in saying that having something is better than nothing.

According to LinkedIn, your profile will have 14X more views, if you have a profile picture. Tweet this

Granted a “mug shot” is taking it far, but if you don’t have a form of photo identification, simply put, you are not memorable. I am a visual person, I immediately discredit the accounts that do not have an image. I question if they are active or if they even update their accounts. However, I never stick around long enough to find out, because I moved on to someone who does have a photo.

JO Social Branding LinkedIn Tip Mugshot
I have found many professionals are hung up on the fact they need a professional photo for LinkedIn. Here is a secret. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer to take a head shot. It is a good investment, if you can swing it. However, there are ways around this. Have a friend or family member take a photo with a plain background on a “good hair day”. Remember to make sure the lighting is in your favor and there are no shadows.

JO Social Branding LinkedIn Profile Pic
Here is another secret…My profile picture is actually a selfie. Not entirely “professional” and I am sure I will hear feedback on this. I chose this picture because I liked the photo and it doesn’t scream “This is a selfie”. It could pass as an image taken by a friend. I feel it is flattering and serves the purpose for my LinkedIn brand of getting to know me. Much better than that professional side shot I had before. Great photo but not engaging at all.

During this same presentation, a woman in the room asked a follow-up question, “Do you feel people discriminate based on the image you use?” She went on to mutter about age and wrinkles, etc. This hurt my soul because I know the answer and I did not want to share it. We all judge books by covers. I even do it. However, I do not make it the only judgment that I pass. I could tell this question really bothered the woman. I shared my story that she isn’t the only one that suffers from this.

I look and sound young for my age. This can work to my advantage, but it is a disadvantage as well. Too many people look at my appearance and view it as innocence, lack of knowledge or naiveté.

I am constantly judged and discredited before I even have a chance to prove myself.

When I do start to speak, the individual(s) quickly change their impression. However, there are others that take that first impression and move on without ever getting to know who I am. This used to bother me. Now I sum it up as their loss and this woman should too. Would you really want to work for a person that bases their judgement on looks alone? I told her she probably dodged a bullet and it is better that they don’t follow up for an interview.

Okay, I am getting off the soap box now. There are three takeaways to this post:

  1. Make the most of your digital brand and flip those scary numbers. Recruiters are out their scoping social networks for you, and others who have applied for jobs. Take the initiative and make your brand work for you. In January, I am hosting an Online Boot Camp to guide you through this process. More info here. 
  2. You need a profile picture for your LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t need to be professional, it is better that it reflects your brand. However, use discretion when choosing a photo. This does not allow for beach or vacation photos either.
  3. Don’t judge people based upon their looks. Go beyond the looks and get to know the person.

What other social brand topics would you like to read about?  I would love to hear your thoughts! Please comment below.