Your Profile Photo Matters to Recruiters

Your social media profiles are more important than you might think. With the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn at an all-time high, it’s important to consider the way you are presenting yourself to the world – and the image associated with that presence.

Recruiters pay attention to social profiles, and with 90% of employers recruiting via social media, it’s important to make sure your online presence is making the right impression. Your LinkedIn profile is likely very professional and chalked full of your experiences, accomplishments, and skills, but what about your profile photo?

You may not think the photo attached to your account is important, but it’s actually very telling to hiring managers. Your profile photo is the way you make your first impression on social media, and a recruiter can tell a lot about you from simply looking at your photo. They won’t look for very long, either. According to AvidCareerist, recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at a LinkedIn profile, and it only takes 1/10th of a second for someone to form an impression from a photo. If the photo doesn’t convey the image a recruiter is looking for, it’s likely they’ll move on to another candidate’s profile without looking at your summary or experience.

According to Business Insider, your LinkedIn profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed if you have a profile photo, and the type of photo can greatly impact the way recruiters perceive you.

In a recent study, PhotoFeeler analyzed over 800 profile photos in their database to see “what elements reliably produce a better professional headshot photo,” and the results were very telling. The study didn’t factor in age, gender, or physical traits, only focusing on things that can be controlled, and then analyzed certain characteristics of the photos to determine how they impact competence, influence, and likability.

how profile photos affect job search

Courtesy of AvidCareerist & PhotoFeeler.

Using the results of the study and our own professional opinions, we’ve compiled some tips to help you select a profile photo that will convey the right image to hiring managers.

Approach it like an interview.

When you prepare for a job interview, you make sure to look the part. You look professional, put together, and are focused on making a good impression. Take the same approach when thinking about your profile photo. You wouldn’t walk into an interview looking ready for a night out on the town, so avoid using a photo from a recent girls or boys night out on your LinkedIn profile.

You also wouldn’t bring your significant other to meet a future employer, so be sure to leave them out of the photo. It’s also important to avoid cropping someone out of your photo, as it can make the image look less professional and diminish the quality.

Dress to impress.

When you walk into an interview, meeting, or corporate dinner, the way you dress directly impacts the way you are perceived. The same is true when it comes to your profile image. Those who are dressed up in their photos are perceived as 43% more competent and 58% more influential than those who aren’t dressed for success. To make a lasting impression, be sure to dress formally and professionally for your profile photo.

Don’t hide your eyes.

When taking your photo, be sure your eyes are visible. You may think sunglasses give off a cool, confident vibe, but they actually negatively impact your likability. PhotoFeeler’s study showed that sunglass wearers are 10% less likable, while those with their eyes obstructed by hair or shadows are perceived to be less competent and influential.

It is also important to make sure you aren’t staring down the camera. Eyes that are wide open seem to portray fear, while eyes that are “squinched,” or squinted slightly, help with competence, likability, and influence. Squinching – slightly squinting your eyes – will “portray comfort and confidence” to recruiters.

Don’t forget to smile.

You may want to look calm, cool, and collected for your profile photo, but according to the data, nothing impacts the way a photo is received more than a smile. Those who smile with their teeth showing have significantly greater likeability, competence, and influence than those who either don’t smile or don’t show their teeth. So, if you want your potential employer to trust you and have confidence in your abilities, be sure to smile for the camera.

At Capstone Resume Services, we want to help you put your best foot forward. Hopefully these tips will make the profile photo selection process easier, but if you’re still unsure about other aspects of your online presence, our certified resume writers can create a custom professional LinkedIn profile for you.

We also offer a variety of other resume writing services, and would love to help you stand out to hiring managers. Contact Capstone Resume Services today to schedule a personal resume consultation!