I’m looking at LinkedIn profiles this morning. I’m actually re-verifying a list of candidates, the organizations they work for and Hoover’s information. Good fun stuff early on a Friday. It’s actually pretty tedious. But as I’m clicking and cross referencing, gosh darn it if I don’t see your LinkedIn profile pic. Post whatever you want on Facebook and use your privacy controls, but when it comes time to network on a site that labels itself a “Professional Network” aka where the people who might hire you hang out…a few common sense rules: a) Don’t use a fake photo – be you – not Bart Simpson, b) Look like you have clothes on. Seriously. The tube top is a great fashion item but not on a professional profile, c) No kids. I like kids; I have some of my own. But LinkedIn isn’t the place to feature them. Pretty simple, huh? You’d think. Some people still don’t get it. I did a presentation last fall and was highlighting this awesome candidate I found…just the right person for the group of HR pro’s in the room and everyone got hung up on the photo. Why? Because strapless tops have been in for a while and this woman cropped her photo just so it looked like she had no clothes on. Totally lost the group on her fabulous credentials because she looked naked. Ugh.And that’s why you have to think about that photo…because Human Resources professionals are human. Whether they want to or not, they make judgments within seconds of viewing your profile and if you’ve got a misguided photo, it may get their attention, but it may taint their review of your experience. Because they’re human.This is just like dressing appropriately for an interview…it’s a first impression. So clean it up or take it out. Your call.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.