A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

7 Ways to Look More Trustworthy in Professional Networking Photos

For when your LinkedIn profile pic needs an update.

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Crack a smile

When it comes to taking a headshot, smiling is a no-brainer. If you’re not the type to flash your pearly whites—or if you just want your photo to appear more serious—know that simply turning the corners of your mouth upward is enough to give off more a trusting vibe, according to an analysis of studies done by New York University. You should trust the brands you use as much as your trust a potential employee. These are the most trusted brands in America.

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iStock/Minerva Studio

Get the lighting right

Nothing screams “don’t trust this person” like eyes dimmed out by shadows and darkness. Take your headshot with the light pointing toward your face (as opposed to coming from behind you). Here are more tricks to make yourself look better in photos.

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Shape your brows like this

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then brows are the framework of the face. What’s more, research has discovered that certain shape have the ability to make you look either less or more trustworthy. One New York University study found that people with v-shaped eyebrows are judged as less trustworthy than those with  ^-shaped eyebrows, likely because a tense brow is associated with anger and other hard feelings. Follow these grooming and makeup tips to get perfect eyebrows.

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Try a blue or red outfit

Color experts have long believed that wearing blue creates an aura of trust. (Related: This is what your outfit color says about you.) For professional photos, women can try a navy dress, blouse, or blazer (though you’ll always want to go with the piece of clothing you feel most comfortable in). Men might choose a navy blazer and white dress shirt, or a grey or black jacket with a blue or red tie—both colors create trust and give off a professional, disciplined vibe. These are the outfit mistakes that could cost you the job.

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Wear makeup in neutral shades

For one study, researchers photographed women wearing three different makeup styles: “barefaced,” “professional,” and “glamorous.” They then asked a group of participants to rate each woman on perceived trustworthiness and competency. Women wearing the professional look were rated most trustworthy and capable, followed by those with the glamorous look. Those wearing no makeup at all were rated least trustworthy and competent.

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iStock/Vladimir Arndt

Create a wide angle

Researchers from New York University found that men with wide, rounded faces with bigger mouths and larger chins were rated more trustworthy than those with slim faces. While you can’t fix this one on your own, your photographer might be able to help. Ask her to use a camera angle that adds dimension to your face.

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Enhance brown eyes

We get it—there’s not much you can do to change your eye color. But it’s worth noting that studies have found that people with brown eyes are seen as more trustworthy than their blue eyed counterparts (though researchers noted it might have been because of other facial features associated with brown eyes). Regardless, if you’ve got brown eyes, play them up! It couldn’t hurt.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest