Have you ever asked yourself, “Does LinkedIn profile picture discrimination exist?”
Or, “Will using a photo on my profile make decision-makers discriminate against me?”
Per research published by New York University’s Stern School of Business:
1. Women are about 10% more likely to get calls, interviews, and job offers than men.
2. Black, Hispanic, and Asian applicants have 8% to 13% disadvantages in selection processes.
Plus, research published by Generation.org found ageism. People 45+ make up a disproportionate number of the long-term unemployed:
The Potential for Discrimination
Thus, many people worry that using headshots will cause decision-makers to discriminate against them.
Their concern might be MSUing (making stuff up), or it might be wise.
People who discriminate do just that. They discriminate.
If they don’t like your gender, age, weight, race, etc., a profile photo will help them figure that out.
What to Consider
The question is:
If they met you in person versus an online photo, would you be able to overcome their prejudice?
The question matters. When discrimination happens, it affects our ability to earn a living.
Anecdotal Evidence & A/B Testing
I shared this post in 2013 with a strong bias for including a photo. I’m reissuing it because I have more information to share:
1. You will see comments below from people who encountered discrimination with a photo. Then they deleted it and got better results.
2. The successful candidates in my last 2 C-suite searches didn’t have profile photos. I didn’t care.
3. I often get people in my page 1 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.
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.
You need good judgment about whether or not to use a photo.
Maybe a new photo would be more effective. It’s quick and easy to test your options on Photofeeler.
A client and I did that yesterday. We tested 4 similar images. We decided on one for his advisory bio and another for his LinkedIn profile.
Or try the “with/without” test described below.
If you learn something new, please share it in the comments!
You Might Like
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.
Updated March 2022
© 2014 – 2023, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
Let her expertise inform your job search strategy and decision-making.
Contact Donna here to learn more about her resume and LinkedIn profile services and fee structure.