The Science Behind Picking the Perfect LinkedIn Head Shot Trust us -- it matters.

I just read an article, titled above, from the March 2017 issue of Entrepeneur written by Vanessa Van Edwards.  This was really interesting and I thought you might find it interesting as well as helpful when you are choosing the best picture for your LinkedIn profile pictures. 

This story appears in the March 2017 issue of Entrepreneur.  I've included only a portion of the article here but you can click the link at the bottom to read the entire article and see examples of good and back picture choices. 

Do you agonize over your LinkedIn picture? Do you dread the moment someone asks for a professional photo? There’s good reason: That picture really does matter. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that different pictures of the same person produce radically different impressions. And according to one of the researchers, Alexander Todorov, we judge new faces online after only 100 milliseconds -- about how long it takes for a hummingbird to flap its wings once.

Image from a recent headshot client.

It gets worse: Those snap judgments are often correct! Researcher Sarah Sloat had people guess someone’s personality traits based on their Facebook profile picture. Participants accurately guessed an average of nine out of 10 traits. That means our pictures give off all kinds of signals about us -- our personality, our competence and our likability. Picking the right one is key -- and it may not be what you expect.

PhotoFeeler offers insight for everyone. In one site-run study, 60,000 participants ranked 800 profile pictures. Among the findings: Full-body shots make someone seem less competent but more likable. (Takeaway: fine for Facebook, but not for LinkedIn.) And sunglasses, glare or shadows across a face in a photo decrease both likability and competence. (If you don’t have a head shot taken in a studio, use one where you’re directly facing a light.)

And the big takeaway: Second opinions are useful! So before you pick your photo, get one -- if not from the internet masses, then at least a few truth-telling friends. 

Here is the link to the original article: