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Strategic Communication Insights blog

What employers want to see when they Google you



Check out this excellent post from a fellow Purdue University alum, Brenda Berkelaar.

Seven characteristics of great headshot photos


The folks over at recently published the results of a study aimed at isolating the characteristics of profile photos that influence ratings of competence, likability, and influence. The results confirm some suggestions that professional headshot photographer Peter Hurley has long espoused: accentuate the jawline and squinch the eyes. In total, the study revealed seven key traits of headshots that increase ratings of perceived competence, likability, and influence.


  1. Avoid eye obstructions (e.g., sunglasses, hair, glare, shadow).
  2. Squinch the eyes
  3. Accentuate the jawline
  4. Smile with teeth, but don't laugh.
  5. Dress formally with conservative colors.
  6. Use a photo of the bust (head and shoulders) or torso (head to waist) but not face-only or full-body.
  7. Avoid overmanipulated photos with obviously high saturation or with decreased brightness.


If you have a headshot that just doesn't measure up, it's probably time to think about getting a new one!

Eye-tracking study: Your LinkedIn profile picture is REALLY important

A recent study from highlights the importance of having a professional and high-quality headshot for your online resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Tracking recruiters over a 10-week period with eye-tracking equipment, researchers discovered that an astonishing 19% of the time spent looking at LinkedIn profiles was devoted to examination of the profile picture.

With everything we know about physical attractiveness bias in hiring, this research underscores the fact that having a professional profile picture is REALLY important. If you have an old, blurry, or low resolution photo that currently serves as your profile photo, it's probably time to review some helpful guidelines for high-quality headshots and take something new.


Keep attendance records effortlessly with Attendance Tracker for Android

I'm not sure there are any administrative tasks that I hate more than taking attendance. I'm of the mind that students are adults, and if they skip my class, they'll miss out on learning which will ultimately be reflected via the assignments and assessments built in to the course. Unfortunately, since things like financial aid, grants, scholarships, and university-level initiatives require a count of all students enrolled in classes and attending classes, taking attendance is something I grudgingly do.

Taking attendance, however, is a huge time-suck. I've tried taking attendance on my own attendance sheets, passing around sign-in sheets during class, and even having students sign-in as they enter the classroom. Unfortunately, each of these methods required me to have a sign-in sheet ready for every class each day and to enter the missing students in some sort of record book (real or electronic) at the end of the day, wasting valuable time that could have been devoted to more productive interests.

This semester, I've been using an automated solution on my Android phone called Attendance Tracker. Check out the video below for a quick walk-through of the features.

At the beginning of each semester, I upload a course roster for each of my classes that lists the names of all enrolled students to my Google Drive account as a spreadsheet. Then, I open up Attendance Tracker, create a new event for each of my classes, and then import the list of students from the Google Drive Spreadsheet. During each class period, I open up the app and check off the students who are not present. That's it!

At any point in the semester, I can look at a complete record of who was present for each of my classes, and I can even export the data and sent it via email.

I paid to unlock all restrictions and remove ads (about $6.00), and it's been worth every penny. If you just want to check it out, you can use a version that restricts the number of events (i.e., classes) you can have at any given time and is ad-supported for free.

Spring 2014 Business Communication Steak Dinner Winners


On Sunday, April 13, 2014, the top performing students on the Impromptu Speech assignment in Spring 2014 sections of BUS 3306: Communication in Business enjoyed a fantastic steak dinner at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House in Fort Worth with Dr. Yale.

Rachel Sullivan, Jack Gilloon, Amy Sullivan, Elizabeth Spencer, Stephanie Lobo, and Sarah Tafolla enjoyed Caesar or house salads for the first course. For the main course, the diners feasted on bone-in prime ribeye, prime strip steak, the filet mignon trio (three 4-oz filets, each topped with a Béarnaise sauce, a bleu cheese crumble, or a lobster sauce), or the elegant shrimp scampi with linguine. To accompany the main course, skillet potatoes and onions, jalapeño bacon macaroni and cheese, roasted asparagus, macque choux corn, and roasted squash with onions. For dessert, the diners shared generous portions of double chocolate cake, lemon doberge cake, hand-whipped cheesecake, and white chocolate crème brûlée.

Please congratulate this semester's steak dinner winners for their excellence in business communication!

This semester's winning impromptu speeches may be viewed below:

Rachel Sullivan
Jack Gilloon
Amy Sullivan
Elizabeth Spencer
Stephanie Lobo
Sarah Tafolla