A picture is worth a thousand words. What does yours on LinkedIn say about you? When around half of B2B buyers look at your LinkedIn profile, every little detail matters. In fact, studies show that people take about one-tenth of a second to judge you based on your photo alone — so how you present yourself is of great importance.
Fortunately, there are studies on what specific types of profile photos make the best first impressions. Here are some tips on how to have a great LinkedIn profile photo and create great first impressions with your potential network.
A study by PhotoFeeler, a site that receives feedback of LinkedIn photos, analyzed 60,000 ratings of likeability, perceived credibility, and influence across 800 photos, drawing a conclusion based on the most desired factors.
The study found that smiling with a closed mouth won’t make you look as likeable as someone smiling ear to ear with teeth. What’s more, laughing while smiling increases your likeability, but it also reduces your points for perceived credibility.
If you’re not comfortable smiling with teeth on command, practice in front of a mirror before having your picture taken to get the look you want.
A deer in the headlights look is not only unflattering, it also makes you seem vulnerable and uncertain. In contrast, a squinch, or a slight squint adds to your perceived competence and influence, making you look more confident and comfortable with yourself.
Aim for a picture that accentuates your jawline. A shadow line makes your jaw stand out more, increasing your likeability and perceived competence. People tend to think that a strong jaw is indicative of a strong and confident personality.
Wear something you would wear to an important meeting. This is LinkedIn, not Facebook, so dress to impress for business. If you’re a man, your best bet is to wear a light-colored dress shirt with a dark suit jacket and tie. Avoid bright and trendy clothes, which score low on professionalism and perceived competence.
Looking into the distance may work for selfies on Facebook and Instagram, but it simply won’t do on LinkedIn. Look at the camera lens when having your picture taken, and avoid wearing sunglasses, having your hair cover your eyes, and shadow on your face.