LinkedIn Photos & the San Francisco Job Market

Executive headshot of a professional womanThe digital age has certainly changed the way we do business. It has changed the way our customers find us, communicate and buy from us. The internet forces even the most tactile businesses (such as massage therapists) to communicate in words and pictures on a screen to express who they are and what they do. This change has not only come for the companies themselves, but for normal people who, despite difficult economic conditions, are trying to find better work.

In the wake of high unemployment rates (the San Francisco Metro currently boasting around 8%) and an increasingly competitive job market, average people have turned to professional social forums like LinkedIn to network and access information about their industries and opportunities within them. The old saying, “It’s all about who you know,” being the foundation of this new movement towards screen to screen networking, people are coming in droves to create professional profiles, regardless of their industry.

A few important tips about photos in professional forums:

  1. Having a photo makes your profile more personable
  2. Make sure to dress professionally for your photo
  3. Do not take the photo yourself- the camera angle will show this
  4. Make certain that your picture is up to date- to avoid surprises during interviews
  5. People with profile pictures are 2 times more likely to get contacted

But in a sea of regular faces and regular resumes- all competing for similar positions- how can a person stand out? I searched the web for information about this phenomenon- finding many articles and top 5 lists for LinkedIn like this one from a PC World Article- all discussing ways to make the most of your professional profile. And the one thing they seemed to have in common was their strong suggestion to get professional photographs taken of yourself.

Professional man in corporate photoI had already noticed this trend in my work. Along with their casual online dating photos, many of my clients had recently been requesting a corporate photo for LinkedIn and other business networking sites. But one of the interesting things about the San Francisco Bay Area is its casual nature. Very few professionals are actually wearing suits every day to work, but their photo still needs to look professional, and a suit does just that. I advise my clients to still dress professionally, wearing a business suit or other appropriate attire. But I have found that for the San Francisco job market, employers are more likely to be engaged by locations that are fresh and creative. A studio/indoor white background shot can feel rigid and boring. I like to mix it up, using perhaps a brick wall, a modern building, or even some greenery to not only make my client feel comfortable but to create a memorable photo that will get them noticed online.

Please check out my corporate headshots and let me know what you think!