According to Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov, it only takes 100 milliseconds to form an impression of someone just from looking at a photo of their face.
LinkedIn is a B2B social network, and one where a first impression is extremely important. Around 85% of first impressions are based on either trustworthiness or competence. Both of these attributes can be defined by the way you visually display yourself on LinkedIn.
As someone who has understood the importance of using the right visuals, I wanted to share with you 5 key factors to consider for an eye catching LinkedIn profile photo.
1. Smile With Teeth
If you are looking to build your personal brand, and want to portray a positive first impression, consider using a photo where you are smiling, with your teeth showing. A closed mouth smile makes you appear half as likeable as someone who shows their teeth according to research conducted by PhotoFeeler’s.
2. Accentuate Your Jawline
If you don’t have a picture of you smiling with your teeth, think about how the picture of you looks, and whether it accentuates your jawline. This might seem like a weird factor to take into account, but consider that research has shown that a shadow line that outlines the jaw, or an image that accentuates your jawline does increase influence and likeability.
3. Dress Smart
The way you dress in your profile picture will have a huge impact on the way someone will perceive you. A smart, formal outfit will help show your influence, as well as competence. Also think about the colours you are wearing. Men for example, dressed in light-coloured shirts with a darker suit jacket are looked upon more highly than those in bright colours. The way you dress in your profile picture is one of the most important factors in helping you build a positive, and leadership-inspired personal brand.
4. Contrast/Lighting Of Your Photo
I always say that adding a filter to an image you share online is a great way to make an image look more engaging, and interactive. This is great, but not for LinkedIn. Leave the image altering to Instagram. Having a photo that is too dark, or a image taken at night time doesn’t look professional. Position yourself in front of window light, or a room that is lit to give you a warm glow.
If you have recently done an interview, or spoken at an event, consider using one of these photos as they are well lit, and show your professionalism, and helps increase trustworthiness and influence.
5. Waist And Above Only
A full-length photo does not work as a LinkedIn profile picture. It will mean that, based on the LinkedIn dimensions, that people will not be able to see your face properly, and this is a big no-no. Think about only using a visual of you from waist upwards, and if possible, only your head and shoulders.
There is a fine line between how much of “yourself” you show. A full length visual will work against you, as will a close up visual of your face only. Show some of your body e.g. shoulders and chest, but don’t go further than that.
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