Don’t Let Race And Age Bias Discourage Your LinkedIn Profile Photo Upload
On the LinkedIn job market, the aim is to stand out from the crowd. However, sticking out because of age or race has some candidates worried they might not land a first interview.
When profile photos and years of experience are missing, it can mean job seekers are hoping to avoid the barriers of bias.
“There is a real fear by candidates and how they might be perceived by their profile picture or presumed age.” Said marketing veteran Jacob Brown. “I’ve heard of people not uploading profile pictures for more than one reason – fear of bias and lack of a professional headshot. Both are valid.”
Discrimination At Work
A glance at a LinkedIn profile often assumes race and age. This knee-jerk assumption, paired with recent data on workplace discrimination, supports some candidates’ cause for concern.
New data suggests that age discrimination is rising and is at its highest since 2003. Approximately “78% of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.”According to AARP.
Research by Dove found alarming insights on hair-based discrimination against Black women. “Black women are 1.5x more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair.” To avoid this discrimination, Black women are “80% more likely to change their natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work.” This practice of altering hair extends to profile photos.
Given the recent strides in diversifying the corporate landscape, it’s a difficult moment, especially at the top. Diversity gains in leadership positions ticked up in 2022 with a record high of 44 women and four Black CEOs at the helms of Fortune 500 companies. Outside of the C-Suite, nearly 80% of workers say they want to work for companies that value diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Those choosing to omit photos and dates risk drowning in the application pool due to obscurity.
Penalties For Incomplete Profiles
The consequences of not uploading a profile photo are staggering when job hunting. According to LinkedIn’s “Official Blog,” members who include a profile photo receive “21x more profile views and up to 36x more messages.” Profiles with missing images and basic information often do not appear in searches making them virtually undiscoverable to headhunters and hiring managers.
Members often upload generic stock images of landscapes, animals, or phrases to show up in searches. This action is a direct violation of LinkedIn’s Profile Guidelines, and the photo is removed when profile photos do not comply with their User Agreement.
When LinkedIn removes a profile photo 3 times, members indefinitely lose the ability to upload an image to their profile.
Landing Your Next Role
I. Lean Into Authenticity
If you’ve lost the ability to upload your profile photo, consider creating a new LinkedIn profile. This will allow you to upload an image should you change your mind. A profile photo doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It should be a medium closeup picture with no distractions in the background. When considering whether to add your graduation year, know that a simple work history scroll leads to quick math.
Hiding differentiators could help get a foot in the door, yet face-to-face interactions through video and onsite interviews are inevitable. Given this job-hunting reality, some are beginning to embrace their individuality.
“I have recently noticed many people taking a stand and leaning into their authenticity.” Said Brown. “I’ve seen people wearing their hair more naturally, wearing brighter lipstick, and not covering up tattoos or piercings.”
II. Work Your Network
LinkedIn is only one of many ways to land your next role. Research shows that “80% of people land new roles through their network, and as much as 70% of new roles are not posted online.” Sharing your need in your network holds power. Ask to be kept top of mind and invite people to hop on video calls to connect. These two actions may get you closer to your next role than applications alone.
A surprising study published by “The Harvard Business Review” highlighted the results of experiments involving 20 million people. They found that “moderately weak connects — and not strong connections — are the most useful in finding a new job.” Look to meet with friends of a friend.
Remember that the job interview process goes both ways. You are interviewing them to learn about their work culture and potential. Landing at a company with discriminatory hiring practices will likely not be the best fit, regardless of your profile photo or age. Having a profile photo and listing your graduation may quickly disqualify companies that weren’t worth your time in the first place.