Ever asked yourself why YouTube’s popularity is growing exponentially? The answer is that people are much more attracted to information they get via images versus having to read content. Well, the same principle applies about photos on LinkedIn profiles. As soon as a profile pops up on the screen, the human eye gravitates first to the picture and only after that to the rest of the [written] information. One’s picture communicates much more than we may think it does. And the first impression is, as they say, a lasting one. The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” means that a simple image—in this case, of you—says lots about you. And therefore, it better be the best darn picture you could post.
Paul Ekman is an American psychologist and a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He found that human beings are capable of making more than 10,000 facial expressions, only 3,000 of which are relevant to emotion; and people are very good at deciphering such facial expressions.
Here are some tips for projecting a positive image via your LinkedIn profile picture:
- Because photo size is predefined by LinkedIn, try to have the ratio between your face, body, and background around 60, 20, and 20, respectively.
- Preferably look at the camera and smile. A smile universally around the globe conveys the same thing: I am friendly and enjoy your company.
- Wear your most-flattering colors, but make sure that your attire, the color of your skin, and the background complement one another. For example, if your skin tone is fair, a picture taken with a flashbulb and a white background will hardly be well balanced.
- The background should be plain or a photographer’s neutral backdrop. Anything else in the background is distracting. Lighting should be properly balanced. For instance, a dark background for a person with dark hair is not complimentary.
- The photo should not be an extreme close-up. LinkedIn is a professional social media platform and not, say, a magazine. Your entire face should be in the picture. Even the angle you hold your head at can convey meaning.
- Your purpose and objective should be for the picture to humanize you and make you appear approachable and accessible. It should encourage others to engage with you. And it should project the image of a warm person with a friendly smile.
You want people to connect with you because you project the image of someone they’d want to do business with, because you appear to be trustworthy, because you seem qualified and nonthreatening, and because you look like someone they’d want to be associated with.
I’m sure you have your opinion too. Let’s hear it.
by Alex Freund