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There's a reason LinkedIn urges you to upload a photo. For better or worse, how we look deeply affects others' perceptions of our strength, intelligence and trustworthiness, according to a round up of the relevant neuroscience done by Entrepreneur Magazine.
Happy faces -- think smiling, bright eyes -- make you seem more trustworthy. People respond better to faces they perceive as healthy over ones they see as smart. Those sort of impressions matter, especially when you're looking for a leg up in a job hunt.
So, are you ready for your close up? Here's five tips to help you repeat the benefits of a well-done LinkedIn photo:
1. Have One
Foregoing a photo all together makes your profile look incomplete and can also give the impression that you've got something to hide. Creditors out to get you? On the run from the law? Those aren't things you want potential recruiters or clients to think when they see your LinkedIn profile, so ditch the gray outline for a good picture.
2. Chose a Recent Photo
You want to portray yourself in your best light, but you also want to give an accurate impression. Make sure your photo represents you today, not how you looked twenty years ago.
3. Look Approachable
Many people want their lawyers to be intimidating and formidable -- when dealing with the other side. For potential clients and employers, save the shark look for later and go for something approachable. Think of puppies, sunsets or a really funny joke and give it your best smile.
4. Dress for the Occasion
If you want people to view you as a professional, dress like one. You may look great in that vacation photo, but you shouldn't wear shorts in your LinkedIn photo. A nice, pressed suit will do wonders.
5. Get Some Help -- Or At Least a Tripod
You could invest in a professional headshot, if you want. Most photographers will do them for a relatively low price and include digital versions for your uploading pleasure. But now that most phones have morphed into high quality cameras, you can also get by without the professional help. Set up a tripod or have a friend take your photo -- no selfies! Make sure you're framing the picture correctly. You want to capture your body from the shoulders up, with little empty space on any side. Warm, natural light will help as well. Unless you're a skilled photo editor, though, don't bother with Photoshop.
Don't be afraid to play around, too. Try different outfits and back drops or photograph yourself over a few different days. If you have more options to choose from, you're more likely to come out will an impressive LinkedIn photo -- and hopefully all the good will that comes along with it.