LinkedIn has become an essential tool for career-minded professionals. It is the perfect platform for jobseekers, marketers, entrepreneurs, and professionals from all industries.
Before you can expand your network and build strong relationships on LinkedIn, you need to choose the right photo for your profile. Selecting the perfect photo is crucial to your success on LinkedIn. It plays a much bigger role than you might expect.
Studies have shown that your LinkedIn profile is 40 percent more likely to be clicked on if it contains a headshot. But not just any picture will do. If you do it wrong, your profile photo can hurt your prospects rather than help you.
Should You Smile in your LinkedIn Photo?
One common question people ask is whether they should smile in their LinkedIn photo or not. This question comes from the fact that LinkedIn is more professional compared to other social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
But while people on this site have more serious goals beyond just socializing, it is not strictly forbidden for you to smile in your LinkedIn photo. In fact, it is actually encouraged.
Because you want people to connect with you, it is important to appear warm and friendly. When posing for a profile photo, try to smile with your eyes. No need to smile too wide if it feels unnatural—just try not to look too serious.
This tip is backed by research. One study of 800 profile pictures found that people view you as more likable, competent, and influential if you smile in your picture. Smiles that show teeth were rated twice as likable as closed-mouth smiles. It’s just psychology: people respond more positively to others who appear kind and approachable.
Whether you choose to smile or not, you need to consider your facial expression in your LinkedIn profile photo. Your goal is to appear professional yet approachable. If you can select a photo where you look genuinely happy, then that is a good pick.
Remember that this is the first time a prospective employer or potential client will see your face. Make sure it makes the right first impression. Whatever image you choose, make sure your face is the focal point.
Things to Avoid
Smiling is not something you should avoid when choosing or taking your LinkedIn profile photo. But there are a few things you want to avoid. For example, selecting an old photo of you is not a very good idea. Either take a new, professional photo, or just choose an existing image that represents what you look like in the present. While you need to make a good first impression, you also want to make sure you are accurately representing yourself.
Another thing to avoid is having someone else in the photo with you: whether it’s your pet dog or cat, your spouse, your friends, or your family members. Your LinkedIn profile photo should be just a picture of you. Avoid using a group shot where people have to guess which one you are.
Do not take a picture that is too close up or too far away. Also choose a photo that does not have a distracting background. For this reason, you might want to consider having your picture taken in a studio, so everything is perfect. But if you choose not to, just make sure the background does not take the attention away from your face. The background should complement the headshot, not draw the eyes away.
Avoid bad lighting because it can drastically change the quality of the photo and even change your appearance. Bad lighting can completely change the look and feel of your photo.
Things to Consider
It can work wonders to use a high resolution image that meets the new size requirements set by LinkedIn. The ideal profile picture size is now 400 x 400 pixels. However, it is okay to upload a larger picture as long as it’s square and no larger than 8MB in file size. This ensures that the image is clear once it is uploaded. If you choose a smaller photo, it might look small or blurry.
A little filtering never hurt anyone. Just do not edit the image to the point where it no longer looks like you. Slight tweaks to the lighting can improve the overall look and feel of your photo without altering your image.
Follow these tips and you are ready to make a great first impression. This opens a lot of doors and opportunities for you to seize.
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