A common expression that I’m sure you have heard a thousand times is “The suit doesn’t make the man.”
Yes, it’s indeed true that appearances are not necessarily correlated to a person’s inner self, however, how we present ourselves has a tremendous impact on how people perceive us, especially if it’s the first time they see us.
Unfortunately, first impressions tend to last, and they are utterly arbitrary and often biased.
There are psychological biases that concur in building a first impression and making it resistant to change, for example, the Anchoring bias. As its name suggests, it anchors us to the first impression that we have of a person, and we use it as a starting point for all future judgements.
So, considering that bad LinkedIn profile photos can hinder someone’s chances to close deals, I am baffled when I see profiles without pictures or with unprofessional pictures on LinkedIn.
Willing or not, your LinkedIn profile picture is your business card since it’s the first thing that a user sees when landing on your profile and it concurs in establishing your personal brand.
There are different ways to get a great profile picture which range from hiring a professional photographer to DIY.
So let’s explore what the elements that concur in making a good LinkedIn Photo are.
1) A genuine smile.
To say it with Louis Armstrong’s words “When you’re smilin’….keep on smilin’ The whole world smiles with you”.
This happens because of a group of neurons which fire both when we observe an action and when we act on it, they are called the Mirror Neurons.
So when we see somebody smiling at us, the Mirror Neurons fire up, and that makes us feel good and well-disposed towards that person.
But it has to be a genuine smile. People recognize quite quickly that a smile is fake, like the one we make to the colleague we don’t like. This happens because we use more facial muscles when we smile for real and when we do not.
When we have a genuine smile, we use both the jaw muscle, the zygomatic major muscle, and the muscles around our eyes, orbicularis oculi muscle. But when we fake our smile, we use the jaw muscle, that’s how people can see on our face when we are pretending it.
2) Crop your image.
Do you have a picture from an event in which you think you look good? You can use it! But make sure to crop it not to include other people.
3) Avoid selfies.
Use a tripod and set a timer or grab a friend/colleague and ask them to take a picture of you.
4) Use a high-resolution camera.
Last generation phones are equipped with pretty good cameras. At least good enough to take a headshot. Make sure that the result is not blurry, noisy or pixelated and you are set.
5) Avoid busy backgrounds.
Try to use a homogenous background. Avoid a background that could distract the viewer from the focal point, you.
6) Get the lighting right.
This is the most challenging part of all and here is when experience makes the difference.
But, as a rule of thumb, make sure that there are no weird shadows over your face and that you are not overexposed either.
Upload a banner that promotes your business, and it’s easy to understand. Unless you are a concept artist, avoid conceptual banners that do not communicate your value proposition directly. Be direct and concise; the user has to be able to understand what you do in a glance.
Now you are all set! Go and astonish your audience with a fantastic profile picture!