Your profile picture matters way more than you thought!
People are judging your pic with a blink of an eye. So let’s put our Malcom Gladwell “Blinking” ahem I mean thinking caps on to analyze and apply some of the data shared in an excellent Washington Post article by Internet Culture Blogger :
- OKcupid, a popular dating website, reports that pictures account for more than 90 percent of a profile’s popularity No shocker there, but let’s continue…
- Oregon State says young women who posted “sexy” images online were taken less seriously by their peers. This is especially true on Linkedin. The business culture of the network makes sexy pictures stand out even more, and not in a good way.
- University of York confirmed that people make deeply personal, snap judgments based on profile pictures. Unfortunately, we all do it! Don’t believe me? Go through the “People you may know” section of Linkedin and try to stop your mind from making first impression judgments. It’s practically impossible.
- A Harvard Medical School study reported it takes 39 milliseconds to accurately judge someone’s appearance. As the author brilliantly points out, that’s 180th the amount of time it took you to read this sentence. Now that’s “blink” fast. So what picture should you use?
Here are five quick tips to help you choose the perfect profile pic.
Since we’re being judged by the profile picture we choose, this is how we can use this information to our advantage:
1. Don’t Use Group Shots!
Cruising through Linkedin, I often see profile pictures with more than one person in the shot. Remember, people are looking for you. If you use a group shot, you’ll have people scratching their heads wondering: which one is she/he? That’s not good.
The quick fix for this is pretty obvious. Make sure the only one taking all the shine in your profile picture is you. So crop the others out!
2. Avoid pics with distracting backgrounds
Using a selfie taken in the bathroom, or a picture with a lot happening behind you or one of you sitting in a messy office is distracting. A potential employer, client or networking contact may end being more interested in what’s going on in the background instead of you.
How to fix it: Take a picture in front of plain white background… or a bright colour if you want to really stand out. But honestly, you can take your picture anywhere you want. Just make sure your face is the focal point of the picture, not what’s going on behind you.
3. Don’t wear inappropriate clothing
By the way, I am not just talking about that oh-so-hot little black dress or muscle hugging t-shirt you wore last Friday night. I’m also talking about pictures of you in the outfit you wore to your cousin’s wedding or in your favourite team’s jersey. Believe it or not, your picture actually helps people imagine you on the job.
Easy fix… dress to impress, but don’t go overboard. If you’re really nervous about your clothing choice, just ask yourself, could you wear what you have on to an interview or meet with a client? If the answer is yes … Say cheese!
4. Make sure you look like your profile pic.
You never want somebody to say “Oh….you look totally different from what I expected.” This usually happens if you do something dramatic to your hair; grow a beard, lose or gain a significant amount of weight or look way more glammed-up then your everyday look.
There are a few reasons why. The connection you are meeting for the first time is looking for the person in the picture, not the person in front of them. They now have to process the “new” you and maybe distracted with thoughts of how different you look instead of focusing on your conversation.
Quick fix: Choose a profile picture that looks like a slightly more polished version than your everyday work look and if you go through a major look change make you update your photo pronto.
5. Make sure you have a picture!
Not having one is the fastest way to get ignored. People want to know who they are connecting with. Don’t believe me? Think about the about the last time you received a connection request from someone who did not use picture on their profile. It always feels just a little sketchy and I personally tend to ignore them.
So here’s my final advice.. . Use a close-up shot, cropped just below the shoulders. You should be wearing the right clothes for the job and your face should feature a warm and friendly expression that makes people subconsciously think, “I could work with her/him.”
Do you agree/disagree? Have any more advice to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.