SMU holds photo shoot to boost LinkedIn profiles

SMU Career Services organizes free photo shoot to help get students jobs through social media.

Fourth-year SMU student Chris Spurr has his portrait taken by photographer Mike Tompkins for SMU Career Services LinkedIn photo shoot. Photo: Matt Jamieson

Saint Mary’s University students put on their best blazers and ties Thursday for SMU Career Services’ free LinkedIn photo shoot.

Partnering with the Sobey School of Business, SMU Career Services gave students the opportunity to have a free portrait taken by Halifax photographer Mike Tompkins. The portraits are meant to enhance their profile on LinkedIn, a professional networking website.

“Professional headshots tend to be pretty expensive,” said Aimée Chow, career information specialist at SMU Career Services. “So the Sobey School of Business, Career Services and Aramark all teamed up to sponsor an event to hire a professional photographer to come in and get students a professional headshot.”

Three sessions took place Thursday morning, the first of which was geared towards SMU’s business students. Arts and science students could get their photos snapped later in the morning. Career Services manager Donnie Jeffrey said he expected 200 students to take part throughout the event.

Fourth-year business student Chris Spurr said his LinkedIn page needed some work.

“I thought I should come because my page wasn’t all that impressive,” he said. “A lot more companies are looking at your online profiles these days and mine isn’t going to get me a job any time soon.”

Spurr said his LinkedIn page has only six connections with other LinkedIn users — at the moment. “I need to improve that,” he said.

LinkedIn more important than ever

LInkedIn is a Mountain View, Calif.-based social media service founded in 2003 to help professionals network and connect. As of 2013, LinkedIn claims it has more than 332 million users in 200 countries.

According to San Mateo, Calif.-based social recruiting platform JobVite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey, 94 per cent of job recruiters use or plan to use social media to look for potential employees. Ninety four per cent of those recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates.

“It’s essential to the modern job hunt,” Chow said.

According to LinkedIn, a profile with a photo is 11 times more likely to be viewed than a profile without one. Chow said this is the main idea behind SMU’s photo shoot.

“I used to be a recruiter,” she said. “Having a nice polished professional photo is really important to setting the right impression and right message.”

“Being able to make that really positive first impression out of the gate… increases your odds of being seen as a positive candidate,” she said.