Job Search: Is Your Picture Sabotaging Your Job Search?

In the past week, I’ve literally gone through hundreds of profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn updating the memberships in my job seekers groups. I’m amazed at the bad picture choices job searching nannies make. Whether you like it or not, pictures are a huge part of the first impression you make with agencies and parents. And it’s not about appearing pretty or thin. It’s about appearing warm, friendly, approachable, and professional. With hundreds of caregiving competing for the limited attention of agencies and parents, your picture can be the factor that invites them to learn more about you or to immediately nix you off the possibility list.

So are you making any of these picture mistakes?

The Mug Shot
You don’t need to do a Glamour Shot (am I the only one who’s old enough to remember those?) but your picture shouldn’t look like you just got out of the drunk tank after a long night with hookers and felons.

“Hey Sexy!”
Yes, if you’re trolling for a mate you may want to have a picture of you in a low cut top or puckering up for a kiss. But if you’re serious about a job, those pictures just scream “I don’t know what’s appropriate!”.

Shutter Shock
Lots of nannies, myself included, don’t like to have their picture taken. So I get it. But that frozen-smile-just-get-it-over-with headshot isn’t going to give parents that warm and fuzzy feeling they’re looking for.

Objects May Be Older or Heavier Than They Appear
I admit it, I’m guilty of this one. (See my guilty as charged headshot below.)  My headshot is years out-of-date. Your picture should accurately represent what you look like today. A good version, but still a real version. Don’t use a picture that shows you a decade younger or 100 pounds lighter. No, agencies and families shouldn’t (and usually aren’t) judging you on your appearance. But just like in dating, these small misleading details can impact how much they trust you later on.

The Double Chin Selfie
OK, even the skinniest person is going to have a double chin if you’re looking down to take your selfie. And it’s just not a good look on anyone.  Make sure you’re looking straight ahead or even better, slightly up.

I’m Too Busy to Make This Picture Fit
All social media outlets give you the correct measurements for your profile picture. Use them. When you have a too small or too large photo it’s like having grammar and spelling mistakes on your resume; it just says you can’t be bothered to do it right. Not the first impression you’re going for.

“I’m Back Here!”
The idea of a profile picture is to actually SEE you. If you’re a football field away in your picture, you might as well not have one. Viewers can’t even tell if that’s a real person way back there.

The Blank Space
If you can’t even be bothered to upload a picture, I can’t be bothered to connect with you or consider you for a job.

The Happy Couple
On facebook, it’s fine to use a picture of you and your mate as your profile pic. But LinkedIn is a business site, not a personal site. Unless you’re one half of a domestic couple and are marketing yourselves as one unit, make it a solo picture.

So what type of picture should you use? You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to have a professional headshot taken. A picture savvy friend will do the trick. Make sure the picture is well lit, evenly framed, distraction free, and captures your happy, friendly side. A great place to see some real life samples of excellent nanny headshots is Westside Nannies website. (And yes, those are all real nannies.  But it’s LA so everyone looks that great.)

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