A while back I had a client come to me in a frantic rush for some professional headshots- when she called she was actually a little out of breath as if she had run to the phone.  “How about today?  Can I come in today?  I can get in the car right now!  I need a LinkedIn profile photo NOW!”  She then told me a slightly terrifying story.  She had been out of work for several months, looking for a job, and not getting any calls back or interviews.  With over a decade of experience in the consulting industry, she couldn’t understand why her emails and calls weren’t landing her at least an interview.

A friend of hers told her that nowadays every employer searches for an applicant’s online presence, and will especially look to see if they have a LinkedIn profile.  She had one, but hadn’t updated it in a while and hadn’t uploaded a photo, so she didn’t think people would pay any attention to it or that it would even show up in searches.  Her friend told her to search for her own name on LinkedIn anyway to make sure no one else’s profile shows up instead of hers, which she had never thought would be a problem since she has a pretty unique name.

So she searched for herself on LinkedIn, and 2 profiles showed up.  One was hers, half-finished, not much experience filled out, and with no photo.  The other profile that showed up above hers, with a photo and fully finished, was that of a woman with the same name as hers working as an entertainer in the adult film industry.

Naturally, she feared that the hiring managers at the companies she was applying to were seeing this woman’s LinkedIn profile instead of hers, and were getting confused as to what industry she actually has experience in, and with stacks of other applicants ready to be reviewed, they just moved onto the next person- who probably has a more complete LinkedIn profile that matches their résumé.


We talked about this during our headshot session and I recommended to her that she put a link to her LinkedIn profile right on her résumé.  Some people are even putting not only their LinkedIn profile link, Facebook link, Twitter handle and other social media links, but an image of their headshot right there at the top of their résumé.

If hiring managers are going to vet people out through some internet searching, you should take control of your online presence.  Check up on what shows up when your search for your name with search engines and within social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.  Then post only what you want people to see and know about you on those sites.

And direct people to your profile yourself by pasting the URL of your LinkedIn profile on your résumé and even your profile photo as well, so there will be no mistakes that they’ve looked up the correct person.  This is especially helpful for people with more common names who find multiple profiles of different people with the same name.

I’m looking at you, John Smith.


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