Do you have a LinkedIn profile? I certainly hope so since this is the first place recruiters go to find their ideal candidates. Do you have your photo on that LinkedIn profile? Again, I hope so – as today it is expected that you should. If you don't, get a professional pic up there now! What you don't have on LinkedIn says more about you than what you include.
But did you know that only three-plus years ago a big debate broke out over whether or not it was appropriate for LinkedIn to let its users have a photo anywhere close to their career qualifications?
Today most professional resumes still don't include photos, exceptions being professional bios in the entertainment and public speaking fields, maybe a high-level executive resume. This job search "rule" is due to the Human Resources concern over liability regarding interviewing a candidate based on appearance, race or age.
(Maybe it's time to change this rule, too? Please share your comments below.)
In doing research for this post, I found an interesting article, "A Photo Is Worth a Thousand Words" by Adam Nash on the LinkedIn blog. In this article the following announcement was made: "We’re excited to announce that starting tomorrow LinkedIn members will have a new option available: the ability to add a professional photo to their profile." (9/27/2007)
Business publications raced to cover this revolutionary change in how HR and recruiters might be swayed on whom they would choose to interview. In fact, Bloomberg BusinessWeek printed the following: "As recently as an August interview, LinkedIn's co-founder and president, Reid Hoffman, said 'photos and business don't go together,' partly because images could unduly influence recruiters. To lessen that threat, LinkedIn is letting HR reps turn off the feature so they can screen candidates without regard to age, race, and appearance." (9/27/2007) — Turn it off? Hmmm…. Does that ever happen?
ZNet conducted an informal survey asking the public if adding a photo was a good or bad idea. Results: 70% said it was good, 30% said bad.
The Wall Street Journal published an article about recruiters using social networking sites (e.g., LinkedIn and Facebook) to check job references on candidates before getting their permission, before even referring them to an interview with an employer. (I believe this topic warrants another post.) They went on to say, "LinkedIn, which already has a similar recommendation feature, plans to announce today that it will allow users to add photos to their profiles – a feature that could help make job seekers more recognizable to industry recruiters who may know them." (9/27/2007)
What a lot of hoopla! What do you think – can having your photo on LinkedIn enhance your chance for illegal discrimination? There was concern about this in 2007 – has that concern faded away in 2011? Or maybe everyone has just come to terms with the fact that there is no privacy anywhere since the Internet has become everyday SOP – notably where job search is concerned.
I would particularly like to hear from HR professionals and recruiters on this topic: How do LinkedIn photos on candidates' profiles affect your decision to conduct interviews? Pros and cons, please!
Wishing you career success in 2011!
SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective - as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "Job Hunting Rules to Break." You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field!
Juice Up Your Job Search, @debrawheatman
It's not your age, it's old thinking, @GayleHoward
Want a Job? Ignore these outdated job search beliefs, @erinkennedycprw
Job Search Then and Now, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
Break the Rules or Change the Game?, @WalterAkana
The New: From The Employer's-Eye View, @ResumeService
Job Search: Breakable Rules and Outdated Beliefs, @KatCareerGal
Job Hunting Rules to Break (Or Why and How to Crowd Your Shadow), @chandlee @StartWire,
Shades of Gray, @DawnBugni
3 Rules That Are Worth Your Push-Back, @WorkWithIllness
Your Photo on LinkedIn – Breaking a Cardinal Job Search Rule?, @KCCareerCoach
How to find a job: stop competing and start excelling, @Keppie_Careers
Be You-Nique: Resume Writing Rules to Break, @ValueIntoWords
Modernizing Your Job Search, @LaurieBerenson
Don't Get Caught With an Old School Resume, @barbarasafani
How Breaking the Rules Will Help You in Your Job Search, @expatcoachmegan
Beat the Job-Search-Is-a-Numbers-Game Myth, @JobHuntOrg
25 Habits to Break if You Want a Job, @CareerSherpa