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How To Get Job On LinkedIn? Use Younger Profile Pic, Says Study

Monit Khanna


Older job seekers on LinkedIn receive fewer job offers than youngsters, reveals a novel study published in the journal Hogrefe. 


Representational Image: 3 idiots/Boman Irani

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Researchers recruited two groups of US-based LinkedIn users — a group that had older participants and a group that had younger participants. The younger group (which had 110 participants) had an average age of 28 years whereas the second group had 88 people with an average age of 55 years.

Half of the participants had a bachelor’s degree, a quarter had a master’s degree and a quarter had a high-school degree. The individuals belong to a variety of sectors including IT, finance, healthcare and even retail.

For each of the participants, the researchers recorded how many LinkedIn contacts they had, along with their skills and recommendations. They also looked at images uploaded by the users as their profile images and how old they were when the image was taken.

Researchers, comparing the two groups, couldn’t find major differences in their impression management skills and both prominently listed their work experiences and technical skills. They also saw that surprisingly, the older group had more polished, well-filled profiles compared to the youngsters. However, despite this, older job seekers got considerably fewer job offers compared to young applicants.

Also Read: After Facebook, 500 Million LinkedIn Users’ Data Leaked Online

Things changed with a younger photograph

This difference however decreased considerably when older job seekers put young photos of themselves as their profile images. And no other factor (such as endorsements, contacts, recommendations) worked as good as a young-looking image.

linkedin job offers
Reuters

Also Read: 40% Of Indian Professionals Are In Silent Distress, Says Workplace Study

Authors reveal that age stereotypes could be responsible for this divide between young and old applicants on the networking platform. The authors explain, “A younger-looking face creates impressions of higher physical and mental fitness. Our results suggest that these impressions may indeed be a powerful driver of favourable employment outcomes.”

They added, “Older job seekers are aware of these negative stereotypes and they are motivated to refute them,” while stating that seeing older professionals are just as proficient as young ones to create an apt professional persona online is encouraging to see. 

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