Putting your picture on your LinkedIn profile makes it more likely that members, including recruiters and hiring managers, will engage with you.
Or does it? What if it makes them discriminate against you instead?
Arguments for a Photo
I think of LinkedIn as the hallway outside the industry conference keynote speech. You wouldn’t go there wearing a mask. Thus, in general, you shouldn’t show up on LinkedIn and hide your face.
In addition, your photo displays on profiles where you write recommendations and endorse skills. Those affirmations carry more weight when you show your face than if you don’t.
The Potential for Discrimination
However, many people worry that using their photo will cause recruiters and hiring managers to discriminate against them.
Their concern might be MSUing (making stuff up), or it might be smart.
People who discriminate do just that, they discriminate. If they don’t like your gender, age, weight, race, etc., a profile photo will certainly help them figure it out quickly.
What to Consider
The calculus here is, if they met you in person, versus in an online photo, would you be able to overcome their prejudice?
The question is important. When discrimination happens, it affects our ability to earn a living.
For all the benefits LinkedIn offers, this is a real concern for many people.
I originally shared this post in 2013 with a strong bias for including a photo. I’m reissuing it because I have additional information to share:
1. You will see comments (below) where people clearly encountered discrimination with a photo and got better results without a photo.
2. The successful candidates in my last two C-suite searches didn’t have photos on their profiles. I didn’t care.
3. I often get people in my page one search results who don’t have photos. My eye isn’t drawn to them as quickly, but LinkedIn doesn’t appear to be penalizing them in search results.
I still think it’s usually better to show your face than not, but it’s a career myth that you always need a photo on your LinkedIn profile.
What you always need is good judgment about whether or not to use a photo — and maybe a change or “with/without” testing as described in the comments below.
Let’s Connect on LinkedIn
Please don’t hesitate to invite me to connect on LinkedIn here: Donna Svei, Executive Resume Writer.
The more I know about my readers, the better I can make my blog.
I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Look good. Get hired. Email me here for more information.
Updated June 2017
© 2014 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, Smart Brief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.