People trust a person who has a genuine smile. You appear more likable and competent according to PhotoFeeler. People usually smile when they are introduced to someone in person. In the same way, your smiling profile photo introduces you to someone meeting you on LinkedIn.
But how do you get a natural looking smile in a photo? I usually tell people to make the sound “ha ha” while smiling and looking at the camera. This engages the muscles in your face and makes you look like you are really laughing or smiling.
Do a Background Check
What is the background in your photo? Is it distracting? Do you blend in with it? I prefer a neutral background. Having a nice contrast between you and the background makes your face stand out. A busy background is distracting and draws the eye away from your face. White, dark or light grey are safest backgrounds. But a dark background can work well if done correctly. If you have light hair, a darker background can work. When I photograph people on a dark background I put lots of light in their hair to get it to separate from the background.
Make Sure Your Photo Looks Like You
This seems pretty obvious. But there are some pretty blatant errors I often see on LinkedIn.
An old photo can look pretty ridiculous. Are you ashamed of how you look now? That shows a lack of confidence. You should have a profile photo that looks like you currently look. If your weight has changed drastically, or you are many years removed from the previous photo, update that photo.
Do you wear glasses? If people that meet you for the first time are likely to see you in glasses, then wear them in your photo on LinkedIn. Conversely, if you only wear them to read, you might be better off without them in your photo. Of course, make sure your glasses are clean and in good repair.
Has your hair changed drastically since your photo? I got mine cut very short after years of having it longer. I immediately put up a new photo with the shorter hair. If you have changed your hair color, then post a photo with you in your current hair color and style.
Crop Your Photo Tight
A correct crop on your profile photo is essential. If someone cannot recognize you scrolling through a list of people with the same or similar names as you, then you have cropped your photo too wide. Crop just above your head or even into your head a little. On the bottom, crop just above the sternum. I like to leave any shirt collar in the photo. If you have a necklace, try to leave it in the photo, unless it forces you to crop below the sternum. Then you might want to pick a photo with a shorter necklace or no necklace at all.
Use these tips and you will be on your way to a great LinkedIn profile.