Fraud Blocker

Is your Social Media Image Helping or Hurting

Social media is prevalent in so many things that we interact with every day yet often remains under the radar when we are creating an online image for business. A professional headshot on your social media accounts can mean the difference between it being a boon or a bust.

Whether you are the CEO of your own company or starting out at the bottom rung of the ladder, in this day and age having an online presence is a de-facto standard and so should having a professional headshot. LinkedIn jumped on this a few years back and built a social platform solely for that business purpose. It is common practice now to find recruiters and hiring managers scouring LinkedIn to find suitable staff to fill business requirements and it's a tough job. But LinkedIn is not the only resource. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Skype etc, there are just so many out there. Take them seriously!

The Ladders,  a comprehensive career resource ran a study just last year and tracked 30 professional recruiters over a 10 week period. This study, an eye-tracking study not only determined that on average, reviewing an individual candidate's resume took no more than 6 seconds. In those six seconds, 80% of their time was spent reviewing the following.

  • Candidate's name
  • Current title/company
  • Previous title/company
  • Previous position start and end dates
  • Current position start and end dates
  • Education

That's a total of 6 points that are checked within 80% of the 6 seconds review time. That's 0.8 seconds per point. It's hardly a glance. What took the remaining 20% of the review time? It went to the profile picture! The profile picture took a total of 1.14 seconds of the recruiter's review time. More than any other part of the resume. That might not seem like much but it trumps education! 1.14 seconds is ample time for thin slicing to occur. And thin-slicing can be the boon or bust I mentioned.

Now LinkedIn and online resumes are not the only places recruiters go to research potential new hires. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and others are all places recruiters will go to find out everything they can on applicants. It is amazing what people will put up on social media sites without any thought given to the ramifications. Including their headshot. Twitter is also a great source of personal information about an applicant as well. Entire personalities can be gleaned from these sources telling a lot about how an individual interacts with those around them.

Reppler, a social media monitoring service designed to help users manage their online image across different social networks recently conducted a survey of 300 professionals in the hiring process, recruiters and hiring managers included. In that study, it was revealed that a whopping 91% used social media outlets to vet applicants. Facebook was the heavy hitter here attracting 76% of the attention, Twitter garnering 53% and LinkedIn the remaining 48%.

Shockingly, it was asked if any candidates were rejected from the list of candidates and if so, the reasons for the rejection. Posting inappropriate photos was only beaten out by lying about qualifications and not by much.

Before you scramble for a New Year’s Eve photo from 1992 and crop it down for LinkedIn, listen to this and listen good: you need a professional headshot taken. It is simply not acceptable to use words like “leverage” and “proficiencies” in your online resume and associate them with a picture that includes:

  • Other people’s body parts, even minor ones
  • Dirty laundry on the floor
  • Wedding Dresses
  • Tuxedo's
  • Cocktails
  • Drumsets
  • Your rifle collection
  • You get the idea