Does Your LinkedIn Profile Photo Tell Your Story?

Did you know that studies have been done showing it only takes one-tenth of a second for someone to make decisions about you based on your photo? That's a little daunting isn't it?

According to Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist, "When we form a first impression of another person it’s not really a single impression. We’re really forming two. We’re judging how warm and trustworthy the person is, and that’s trying to answer the question, “What are this person’s intentions toward me?” And we’re also asking ourselves, “How strong and competent is this person?”... Research shows that these two trait dimensions account for 80 to 90 percent of an overall first impression, and that holds true across cultures.”

Your profile picture on LinkedIn or any other social media platform is hugely important. This is especially true if you are an entrepreneur or freelancer. One of the first things someone will do when researching your company or service is look at your photo. Your photo should help tell your story while showing you as confident, warm and trustworthy.

Too often, I see profile photos of people cropped from a photo with other people in it, or a poorly lit photo from a vacation. When you use a blurry snapshot as your profile picture recruiters and potential clients are very likely to pass you by.

People also want to connect with other people, so having a logo or abstract as your profile is off putting.

Maybe you hate having your photo taken? Maybe you're nervous about spending money on something that seems so selfish? I hope to see more people investing in themselves.

A good photo of yourself is an investment. Take the time to find a good photographer whose work you like and who makes you feel comfortable. You will not regret spending a little more money on good photos as much as you'll regret the waste of time and money when you have to get your photo taken again because you're disappointed in the work of a photographer you chose based on price.

Ask yourself the following questions:

- How old is your profile photo?

- Does the photo still look like you?

- Is your hair completely different?

- Have you gained or lost weight?

- Do you look confident, professional, trustworthy and friendly?

- Does your clothing help you look the part?

Ideally, you should have your photo redone every 2-3 years. It can be embarrassing to have someone tell you you don't look like your photo.

People are often waiting for something before getting their photos done... waiting to lose weight, waiting for their hair to grow, waiting for their fairy godmother to make them look like a movie star. Don't wait. Time gets by us before we know it, and who knows what opportunities you will have missed out on while waiting for perfection.

When I work with a client I ask questions about what they do and what they want to portray with their headshot. Ask yourself those questions before you start looking for a photographer. Do you want a studio shot or is an outdoor shot more in tune with your story? The answer to that question can be very different based on your industry. Give yourself time to look at other people's photos in your industry and see what you like about them. Maybe go so far as to collect your favorite photos in a Pinterest board or take screenshots of photos you like and save them in a folder on the desktop of your computer. These can work as a vision board and help you pick a photographer whose work compliments your style.

Tips for getting a stand out Profile Photo:

- Interview several photographers to see who makes you feel comfortable.

- Don't wait until you have a tight deadline like a speaking engagement coming up. Having more time to pick a photographer who is a good match will relax you.

- Don't feel like you need to go shopping for new clothes. Wearing a tried and true well fitting outfit can help give you confidence as long as the clothes don't "look tired".  You know the old saying, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." 

- This is not the time to try a new hairstyle. Get your hair cut 2 weeks before your session to give it time to settle.

- I highly recommend that women use a stylist who is experienced with on camera makeup. It's different than everyday makeup, but an experienced stylist can make it look natural.

- Drink a lot of water and get a lot of rest the day before your session.

- Have your clothing clean, pressed and ready to go the day before your session.

- On the day of the session, give yourself extra time before and after the session so that you aren't stressed about getting to your next meeting.

These days, your LinkedIn profile is as important as your resume, and it might be the first and last chance you have to make an impression.  So pay attention to that important little square that says so much about you. 

Yvonne Marchese Photography is a Personal Branding, Headshot and Family Photographer located in Norwalk, CT an hour outside of New York City. Yvonne offers branding and headshot sessions in Norwalk or NYC and will travel to you for your branding session. 

 She also shoots on location including Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Riverside, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.


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