We have one shot to make a good first impression. On a daily basis we make quick judgments about others and the images we see. It’s no different for our online social profiles. Others who view our profiles decide the type of person they think we are. You will want to influence that person to see you in the most positive way possible.

I’ve found LinkedIn to be an amazing resource for connecting with people on a business level. It’s a place where you begin to understand if you can help each other. Therefore, it’s a place where your personal brand needs to shine.

One way to convey your positive attributes is with a great profile picture. According to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm Sweden “Facial appearance can affect judgments of attributes such as trustworthiness, aggressiveness and competence.” So our profile pictures need to ensure that others – from prospects and clients to potential employers – are getting a great first impression.

LinkedIn research shows that having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. Here are some tips to ensure your profile picture gives the best depiction of you:

7 Tips for Your Best LinkedIn Profile Picture

  1. Don’t crop your face out of a group photo. It may be a great photo of you, but no one wants to see the bits and pieces of the others around you in the photo.
  2. Use a tripod. If a professional headshot is not in the budget, make sure to use a tripod to take your photo. You don’t want it to look like you’ve taken a selfie and uploaded it to LinkedIn.
  3. Use a neutral background. You don’t want to distract your viewers with your surroundings, so keep the focal point of the photo your face. Ensure you use a neutral background – preferably a solid colour – with your face filling the majority of the frame.
  4. Dress like you would for work. To depict your professionalism, wear what you would normally wear to work; that is, typical business attire. Choose solid colours instead of prints, which can be distracting on camera.
  5. Smile. Improve your likeability with a great smile. You want your smile to look natural rather than forced. Sometimes a little practice in the mirror can help.
  6. Make eye contact with the camera. Avoid the artsy photos of staring into the distance. Just like when you’re having a conversation, you want to look at the person you’re speaking with. Do the same for your profile viewers.
  7. A little Photoshop never hurt anyone. Don’t be afraid to edit your photo to improve the quality of the image. Toning out orange and slightly reducing contrast can make a big difference. Every change in contrast and saturation should be done subtly.

If you’ve taken these tips into consideration or want to test your current LinkedIn photo try Photofeeler. This is a great tool to show you what your picture will really say about you. Your photo will be rated for likeability, competency, and influence.