For years, job hunters have been told that their resume should arrive sans photo in order to avoid discrimination (either in their favor or against them).
Now, we're being urged to provide a photo in order to be considered for a new job, all due to the new "normal" that is LinkedIn. What gives?
Essentially, the "social" part of social networking has become more critical to your success. As an example, LinkedIn Profiles have emerged as a part-professional, part-personal way to convey your brand - meaning that, as a job hunter, you'll benefit by responding to the traditional need to pair a face with a name.
After running a quick survey of recruiters who actively source candidates on LinkedIn, I found that the subject of Profiles that are "missing" a photo stirs some intense feelings.
"Personally, I don't give much credence to those Profiles that do not have a photo," stated Will Armstrong of Serco, Inc. "I have to wonder what they are trying to hide, and I feel less connected to them."
Before you decide to use a more "casual" photo, rather than a professional-looking headshot, consider that several recruiters have spoken out against this practice. "I'm not fond of LinkedIn photos that are personal or silly," declared recruiter Christine Alling.
Andy Foote, Executive Director at LinkedIn N Chicago, was more direct: in his list of LinkedIn blunders, he noted that "No photo, or worse, some kind of random arty or meaningless attempt" was a significant mistake on the part of job seekers.
I'll eagerly back this up, as two of my clients recently encountered scenarios that seemed to match their LinkedIn-photo philosophy: the job hunter who dressed in a suit secured several offers, while the manager that posed with his wife and kids struggled to gain traction in his search.
Even if you don't want to spend the time (or money) on a professional photographer, there are ways to obtain an acceptable photo. As one recruiter noted, you always have the option of dressing in a suit, and finding someone proficient with a digital camera to take several pictures.
You just might find that putting your best face forward will result in more interest on the part of employers.
Job-Hunt's LinkedIn for Job Search Expert Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is an award-winning executive resume writer, national columnist, author, LinkedIn and SEO enthusiast, and past recruiter. Laura is author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips and Strategies to Access the Hidden Job Market. Connect with Laura on Twitter at @ResumeExpert, on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/laurasmithproulx.