Profile Picture Discrimination

I recently met with a client who was quite concerned about including a picture of themselves on their LinkedIn profile.  Most often the concern about whether to include a profile picture revolves around discrimination.  No one wants to be discriminated against, especially because of their age, race, or gender.  The truth is everyone makes conclusions about a person when then view their profile.  What does your profile picture say about you?

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Employers are looking for someone with energy, a positive attitude, and determination.  Is that what they will see when they look at your profile picture?  It doesn’t matter what age you are, the colour of your skin, or which bathroom you use – your profile picture can be used to present the best image of you and make a good first impression.  By “image” I mean someone who is with it, current, positive, and enjoyable to work with.  How can you capture this in a photo?  Begin by removing any selfies, wedding pictures, Walmart portraits, and photos with friends cropped out.  Then get someone to do a mini photo shoot with you wearing nice clothing, in front of a non- distracting background, with a nice smile, and bright eyes.  Present your best self in your photo, just as you would present your best self for an interview.

You can’t stop discrimination, but you can be sure that your profile picture is the best image of you.  Don’t think about going with no profile picture either – that just looks like you have something to hide.  Take the time to capture your energy in your profile picture, it could make the difference between employed and un-employed.

This post was written by Miranda Vande Kuyt a career development practitioner and communications consultant.

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