It's common knowledge that we make an immediate judgment of a person within 10 seconds of meeting them. However, did you know it happens even faster when someone looks at your photo online? Much faster. In fact it only takes them 40 -100 milliseconds for a person to determine if they would like or trust a person based on just one picture. Clearly your LinkedIn photo is saying some things before you do. It's giving potential employers or clients a route to make an opinion way before they even make it to your summary (if they make it that far). Here's how to get this seemingly small part of your LinkedIn profile, practically perfect.
It's shocking to report that even in 2017, there are still people on LinkedIn who don't have a photo on their profile! While, we hope you at least have a photo up, the wrong photo can also do damage to your professional brand online. Also, people who had photos had up to 21 times more views than those without. Here's how to snap the perfect LinkedIn pic.
While that beach background really is beautiful, it's distracting from the true standout of the photo - you! Keep it simple by cleaning up what's going on in the background of your photo so it's just that, a background. A white or solid dark backdrop is best - if you can manage to find one. A blurred background or a simple workplace environment is also acceptable.
Yes Millennials, beanies included. If it covers your head or your face (aside from religious reasons) it should be off. Studies show the more of your face that can be seen, the more approachable you seem to others. Remember, if people can't see your eyes, they can't trust you.
Sorry everyone, this isn't the place for your bachelor party pic from seven years ago, even if your jawline did look amazing. Also, don't think you're getting around this rule by cropping someone out. This should be a photo of you, and only you. But not too much or too little of you. Be sure the crop of your photo is professional in size, either head and shoulders or waist and above perform best. Avoid too-close headshots or full-body photos.
What do you wear to work? That's probably the perfect outfit for your LinkedIn photo - unless you're working from home in pjs. It's best to lean slightly more formal if you're in doubt. If you have the time to really perfect this, studies show that certain color combinations make us more likeable to others. For men, this means a solid dark colored jacket paired with a lighter colored shirt. Women's photos were best received when they were wearing lighter colors and more conservative attire.
Your smile is your best accessory, right? Well, maybe. If you don't smile at all in a photo, people can assume you're difficult to work with. However, if your smile is too big, they might write you off as "too approachable", which can be negative too. So, attempt to look sort-of happy in your picture.
We know that's a lot to remember, but when it comes to nailing a first impression that hundreds of people might see, we think you'll agree it's worth the effort. Want more insight into snapping the perfect profile picture? Check out this blog that covers all the bases including composition and editing.
Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.