By Natasha Singh, Doximity

After digging through more than half a million profiles on Doximity, you learn a thing or two about how to represent yourself online. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this turns out to be true, even for physicians. We analyzed 500,000 physician profiles to reveal five key lessons on why professional headshots are critical for today’s physicians. Whether it’s a prospective employer looking you up online, or a fellow physician reaching out for a referral, your profile photo helps build your practice, your reputation, and ultimately your digital brand.  **
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1. You’re one professional headshot away from growing your referral base (seriously)

We found that doctors with profile photos are viewed TWICE as often as doctors without photos. So, why does this matter? Well, physicians with profile pictures get preferential search ranking. By not having a profile photo, you may miss out on opportunities to expand your network among local physicians or position yourself for your next career move. We even discovered a correlation between doctors with and without photos and the salaries they earn: doctors with profile photos earn, on average, 8% more than their camera-shy counterparts.

2. Looking for the right job match? Don’t treat it like a blind date

For young residents beginning their careers, the lack of a profile photo is actually hurting their chances of landing their dream job. In fact, our data reveals that employers are 21% more likely to view candidates with profile photos than those without. In fact, Dr. Armand Krikorian from Advocate Christ Medical Center encourages all of his residents to take professional headshots before they graduate. “As a Program Director, one of my responsibilities is to help our graduating residents find jobs. Paper CVs have been effective, but I encourage them to create online profiles. I even tell them to add photos to help bring their CVs to life.”

3. The one photo med students shouldn’t hide in residency application season

It’s a well known fact that medical students go to great lengths to hide or disable their social media profiles when they’re applying for residency. For some program directors, examining applicants’ social media profiles is the norm when screening residency candidates. American Medical Association reports, “A survey of surgical program directors in the Journal of Emergency Medicine found that 17 percent screened applicants by using social media networking sites, and 33 percent of that group gave lower rankings to applicants based on the online content they found.”

While it’s smart to hide the photos that might potentially hurt your application (no program director needs to see what a champ you were on Thirsty Thursdays), we found there is one photo that 4th year medical students absolutely DO want people to see: their professional headshot. Our data reveals that graduating medical students are 57% more likely to have a professional headshots on their CVs than 3rd year medical students. And it makes sense. They know that their profile pictures are a key part of building their professional reputation.

4. Older physicians are putting their best face forward

Now that we’ve established how a profile picture can help you build connections online, let’s look at who else has one. In our analysis, we found that some age groups are showing better photo-awareness than others. Surprisingly, our younger doctors (in their 20s, 30s and 40s) were lagging a bit behind their older counterparts (ages 50+). Out of the headshots we analyzed, a little over half 53% of them belong to doctors over 50

5. Follow the lead of the more photo-savvy specialists

We also discovered certain specialities are more likely to have profile photos than others.  Surgeons and highly specialized doctors lead the way in profile photo saturation, perhaps due to a greater need to market themselves and their skills to their peers. For example, nearly 2 in 3 plastic surgeons, colorectal surgeons and pediatric cardiologists have photos to supplement their online CVs, while more emergency medicine and internal medicine doctors tend to be camera-shy.

Ready for your closeup? Get a free professional headshot.
We’re on a mission to help every Doximity member put their best face forward by taking free professional headshots at a variety of medical conferences all year long. Check the list, and reserve your appointment today: doximity.com/conferences

Already have a great headshot?
You’re ahead of the curve! Make sure you added your photo to your Doximity profile. Visit your profile on Doximity and easily add or edit your profile photo.

*Have a headshot but need some feedback on it? *
Our professional photo experts can give you feedback and tips on your photo -- send your photo to: headshots@doximity.com.