LinkedIn reports that profiles with professional headshots are 21 times more likely to be opened. Recent studies also show that approximately 90% of employers are using social media to find and/or screen candidates. I’m also sure you’ve seen your engagement go up on Facebook when you post a new profile picture. Your friends, business network, clients, potential employers want to see you and the profile picture is the first place they go. Research also shows that people spend 19% of their time on your social media profiles looking at your profile pictures. So it pays to make it a good one! Check out these 5 ways your profile picture may be hurting you.

5 Ways Your Social Media Profile Pic is Hurting You

1: You don’t HAVE a profile picture.
OK. This one is a no-brainer. If you still have not uploaded a profile picture you are just missing the boat. That default silhouette immediately tells anyone that looks at your profile that you just don’t care, or that maybe you have something to hide.

2: Your profile picture is not you.
I totally understand wanting to show off your kids or pets. I post photos of my four legged creatures all the time! However, don’t do it for your profile. You have 1/10th of a second to make that first impression. Take advantage of that time, make sure your profile photo shows you looking confident and approachable. 

3: Your profile photo does not look like you.
Your profile picture should be a picture of you that is less than two years old. Do not have it retouched to such an extent that you look like plastic or use filters that remove every bit of texture from your skin. That immediately tells people that they aren’t seeing the real you.

4: Your profile image is a group photo.
“Which one of these four people is you?” Again, you have 1/10th of a second. Your viewer is not going to take the time to figure out which person you are, they will move to the next person.

5: Your profile picture may not show you at your best.
Employers want to know that you are going to be a good fit for their team and that you are going to represent their brand well. It is probably best to avoid profile pictures that show you drinking, partying, in club makeup or doing anything that may make your mother call you to see if everything is OK.

5 Things You Can Do for the Perfect Social Media Headshot

1: Hire a professional headshot photographer
This is not the time for a selfie. Show your employers/ clients that you care about yourself and your career. A professional headshot photographer should also know how to coach you to get real expressions. It should be nothing like having your grade school photos taken. (Check out this article on what you should expect during your headshot session)
2: Choose a headshot that shows you as confident and approachable
You want people looking at your profile to feel like you can do the job they are considering you for and that they can be around you for a workday. (This article explains what makes a great headshot.)

3: Dress for the job you want.
Corporate America has changed a lot. There are certainly still positions where you may be best suited to wear a suit, but there are more workplaces moving to a more casual look as well. Know what sort of work or customer you want to attract and dress appropriately. A professional headshot photographer should be able to help with your clothing selection and can suggest multiple looks so you are covered under a variety of situations.
4: Hire a makeup artist
Makeup and Hair can make or break your shots. A professional artist will be using high-end makeup that will work well on camera. They will know techniques that will show you at your best and work well in studio or natural light. My team stays the entire session watching the screen as we work. They keep an eye on your hair and make adjustments as needed. …and why not enjoy a little pampering!?

5: Keep your headshot up to date.
You should be updating your headshot at a minimum of every two years. If you go through a significant change such as losing a large amount of weight, a drastic hair cut, etc, update sooner. Your professional headshot needs to look like you.