“Get yourself a great LinkedIn profile head shot!”

This is what I tell the countless people who attend my LinkedIn Training Workshops and Masterclasses. My own LinkedIn profile picture certainly needed improving so I decided to invest some time doing just that.

How to make a good LinkedIn Profile Picture, Perrin Jayne Read, Roth Read Photography, Nigel Cliffe To that end, I had the pleasure of enjoying a nice afternoon with two lovely people – namely Leeds based portrait photographers, Lincoln John Roth and Perrin Jayne Read (pictured with me, right), who together run Roth Read Photography.

All the posing, photo bombing and strutting my stuff in front of the camera got me thinking – anyone can take a photo but what makes a winning LinkedIn profile picture? I’ve put a checklist together of the dos and don’ts.

LinkedIn Profile Picture Checklist

1) A Smile Goes a Mile!

It may sound obvious but just as no one wants to be around someone with a negative or miserable attitude, people respond better to images of smiling people – it gives the postive impression that you’re friendly and approachable – ideal for business networking!

In fact, research by Photofeeler, a website that provides feedback on your business, social and dating photos from real people and hard data based on how you come across, found that, whilst smiling with your mouth closed is better than no smile at all, a smile that shows your teeth makes you seem twice as likeable. Careful though, laughing while smiling enhances your likeability but damages your perceived competence and influence scores.

2) Dress to Impress

With it taking as little as a tenth of a second to form an impression of somebody, dressing to impress is a no-brainer. Wearing smart office clothes, blouses, shirts, jackets and ties in your profile photo shows you take what first impression you make seriously and therefore people should take you and your skills seriously!

Interestingly, Photofeeler’s study, which identified the winning ingredients in a LinkedIn photo by examining 60,000 ratings of perceived likeability, competence and influence of 800 profiles, found that men wearing light-coloured button-down shirts with a dark suit jacket and tie achieved better scores than those sporting bright or trendy outfits.

3) Eye Contact is Everything

Countless studies have shown that the power of eye contact in building trust and rapport shouldn’t be underestimated. The ability eye contact has in increasing confidence and likeability in a person translates from face-to-face conversations into photos.

Avoid rocking sunglasses or having hair or shadows obstruct your eyes and face and don’t be afraid to look directly at the camera. After all, you want to be recognisable on LinkedIn so those potential leads you met at your most recent networking event know who to send a Connection request to don’t you?!

How to make a good LinkedIn profile picture

4) Just You Will Do!

Sticking to the theme of being recognisable, you’ll be surprised how many people feature themselves with their friend, child or even pet on their LinkedIn profile photo. People will want to connect with you and do business with you, not your pet or child! With LinkedIn being a professional business-to-business platform, photos of pets and children should be avoided and only you should star in your own profile photo!

5) Bright is Best

In order to be recognisable and appear pleasant, people need to be able to see you. Embrace bright coloured backgrounds and aim to have your profile photo taken in front of a window, which is allowing natural light to filter into the room you’re in or take your snap in a lamp-lit room to create a warm glow for your photo.

6) Head, Shoulders…No Knees and No Toes!

Since people remember a face make your face the focal point of your profile photo ensuring your head and shoulders fill the frame; it will do wonders for helping you come across as knowledgeable and influential, whilst emphasising your eye contact and smile.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t be shy, use the above tips to ask a colleague or friends to take your LinkedIn profile photo or invest in a professional photographer to help you achieve that picture-perfect LinkedIn profile image!

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To find out more about our in-house training courses, get in touch via the form below, email us on nigel@valueexchange.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)7976 894353