A reader writes:
I know more and more employers are looking to online profiles for information on job-seekers. I am curious if you have any information about the "do's and don'ts" of profile pictures? Is having one helpful? Should I leave the picture spot blank? Is having a friend take one on a regular camera going to hurt my chances, or should I hire a photographer to do a professional shot?
There are so many variables here that it's hard to give one answer. But in general, I think you should do what you feel comfortable with -- post a photo if you feel like it, and if you don't, then don't post one and don't stress about it.
If you do post a photo, all the obvious advice applies -- look professional, look happy (but not so happy that you look drunk), wear something appropriate (doesn't need to be a suit, but it shouldn't be a bikini), etc. It doesn't need to be a professionally taken shot.
There are also a couple of other factors you could consider, neither of them savory:
* Are you attractive? Plenty of studies show that attractive people get hired more easily, and also that very overweight people don't.
* Are you worried about triggering any conscious or unconscious discriminatory biases based on race or age?
And whatever you do, do not include a photo on your resume itself. Yes, people do that, and it freaks me out every time.