Is Your Profile Photo Helping or Hurting Your Job Search?


By Carson Hogge

Job board profile photos are the 21st century first impression. Before you even meet a potential employer face-to-face for the first time, they’ve probably already seen your job board profile photo. There’s LinkedIn, social media platforms, Google images, of course you had them check out your Good&Co profile, or maybe you’re the photo-on-your-resume type.

It’s not just a picture though. It’s a thousand words. Your profile photo shows your personality and can be a statement of how you want to be perceived. While it could differ by career field, some do’s and don’ts are universal. Let’s take a look and see what works and what doesn’t.

Why So Serious?

When the cameraman says “smile!,” you do just the opposite. No smile and a blank stare. It’s almost as if you just found out you lost your job. Know matter how intimidating you look, chances are you probably can’t force someone to give you a job. Take it easy there, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Instead . . . appear friendly and welcoming. People want coworkers who are receptive and approachable. So try turning that frown upside down.

Goofy G. Goof

It’s hard to stop laughing while listening to John Mulaney and your friends had to capture this moment which happened to turn out amazing! To share it with others, you’ve made your profile photo a head shot of that night at the Forum in LA. The happiness and laughter are so visible some might ask, “Is she peeing her pants?”

Instead . . . lose the goofiness. Having a good time and spontaneity are great, but is that how you want to come off professionally? Send the right message to your potential employer. Otherwise, they might not take you seriously when they read your resume.

And The Subject Is . . .

The photo of you and your two best friends at Chris’s birthday dinner is a favorite. Not only is it a great photo of everyone together, but you’re also looking abnormally photogenic. We’re the three best friends that anyone could have.

Instead . . . don’t make it a guessing game. There’s three of you, and your potential employer has never met you before. Hence, they don’t know what you look like. Use an image of you, and only you. And if you’re cropping a group photo, try not to have parts of other people’s limbs visible. Like a phantom hand holding a red solo cup.

Depth Perception

Your new drone shots are getting all the likes on Instagram. Especially the one of you on top of Mount Shasta. That bird’s-eye view gives such a unique perspective, and you’re just a little speck in the vast Shasta – Trinity National Forest. What a rad shot!

Instead . . . get closer. It’s super badass that you summited the second highest peak in the Cascade Range, but we can’t see your face. The job board profile photo should be a standard headshot. And on the flip side, don’t get too close to the camera. They don’t need to see what kind of face lotion you use.

Pet Project

Oooh, Scruffles is just the best. It’d be a sin not to share his fury cuteness with the rest of the internet world. Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason, right? We’re just inseparable!

Instead . . . separate your personal pictures from your professional profile. While pets are adorable and can cause oxytocin levels to rise, let’s leave the dog talk for the office.

Drawn Out

You went to the state fair and the caricature artist really nailed your spirit when he drew you riding a dolphin while eating a hotdog. How could you possibly go wrong sharing the real you like that, right? It’s so fun, so carefree!

Instead . . . getting a little artsy with a designed avatar in your likeness is a great way to go if you’re not in love with the camera or if you’re in a creative field. Maybe you’re an artist or a designer yourself and this is a chance to give a taste of your skills. If you go this route, make it a reflection of your personal brand, not a wacky cartoon.


The default picture of a human silhouette with a question mark in the middle does just fine. Always leave ’em wanting more . . .there aren’t really any good photos to use anyway. Leaving it blank will do. Whatever.

Instead . . . include a photo. Don’t go incognito. It comes off as if you’re trying to hide something, or that you’re just lazy. If you need help getting a photo, here are the steps: read our job board profile guide provided above, grab your cell phone, get a buddy to take a headshot of you, and upload it to your profile picture. Yes, it’s that easy.

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