One of my friends recently saw my professional profile photo and politely told me that I could do better.
I was having a déjà vu of my late mom telling me to pose to photographs outdoors or hire a professional photographer so that I could be more marketable in the Arranged Marriage market.
I use the word market because there are profitable Indian matrimonial websites where the men are competing for women, who are fewer in number in India.
Like most people, I just don’t like posing to the camera intentionally. Well, to tell you the truth my wife and I disliked the photos that our families sent to one another. We did connect in person.
Coming back on subject, I really valued this friend’s feedback and I told myself I better do something about it.
I also learned about scientific evidence that hiring managers and recruiters, make sub-conscious decisions based on physical appearances. I got to know about this cool website called Photo Feeler.
People anonymously vote on your professional photo based on Competency, Likability and Influence. I posted my online photo and I got dismal results with less than 10% acceptance in all three categories.
I was shocked, as I had cropped the image from a Facebook profile picture with my wife that had got over a hundred likes! I guess people were complimenting my wife and not me.
On further research, I found it is not recommended to crop from an existing photo that you like because it loses its aesthetics complying to social media website photo requirements.
The survey results were unbiased, as people voted anonymously and objectively.
I started searching online for professional photographers in my area and luckily managed to get an appointment the very next morning.
My photographer was very friendly and suggested an outdoor location. He asked me to wear a tie and jacket and made me pose in fifty different angles.
He was conversational and made me talk about my interests so that I felt comfortable and natural.
I selected and uploaded five photos in Photofeeler. I chose a sample size of 40 people to vote on each photo so that it is statistically significant. The results were varied and illustrated below.
I basically look competent and influential but I am not very likable digitally. In photos where I smiled and had a tie, I got the highest ratings in all three categories.
This is in agreement with the research conducted by Photofeeler.
Some of you might be wondering why am I sharing this in public and making myself vulnerable.
Well I was hesitant at first to write this post but two TED videos by Brene Brown inspired me. I really recommend watching them.
I hope you find this post beneficial. I appreciate commenting and sharing it with your friends, colleagues and family because people need to know that their Linkedin photo online really matters.
1) Power of Vulnerability
2) Listening to Shame