LinkedIn Photos – The Minority Professional’s Dilemma

As a black female, I’ve come to accept a few things in life:

  1. The color “nude” does not apply to me.  Whether it’s Band-Aids, pantyhose, or underwear…nude will never be what my skin looks like.
  2. I can’t walk into a random bar or party and know that I’ll be accepted.  I remember many times in college when my white friends and I would crash parties, and I’d have a tinge of nervousness walking in the door.  For all I know, there could be a confederate flag on the wall.
  3. I HATE stereotypes, and have done everything in my power to not perpetuate them.
  4. The color of my skin can affect my job search.

It’s no secret – LinkedIn has become the new resume, especially for those in Sales and Marketing.  However, it makes me wonder: how does this affect the African-American, or any other minority for that matter, jobseeker?

In the past, a resume was a piece of paper and a candidate was nothing but a name, skills and experience.  The common practice was to remove any groups or associations that identify the candidate with a race, religion or ethnicity.  But with online resumes with photos becoming commonplace, is that advice to go by the wayside?  After all, LinkedIn says a profile isn’t complete without a picture.

I admit, I’ve been hesitant to post my picture, because as a Black female, I felt that it may count against me.  I’d like to think as a society, we’ve gotten over such superficial things;  we do have a black president now.  Then I come back to reality, and realize that mindset is a bit naive.  For every 100 people who realize that race doesn’t define a person, unfortunately, there’s probably at least one person who does.

In the end, I’ve come to peace with my decision to bring a face to Ashley Deas.  My reasoning: if a company can’t look past my picture to my qualifications, it’s not a company that deserves my talent.

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