Say cheese

Now that more CCOs are loosening the reins on staff using social media channels like LinkedIn to network and discuss business, it’s important that GPs learn exactly what can make or break a LinkedIn profile.

Firms often use the social media site for branding and marketing purposes in order to reach portfolio company execs, job seekers and LPs. But you might not get to discussing firm track record or expertise if profile viewers are turned off by one thing: your facial expression.

According to new research from New York University, people with positive expressions (i.e. upturned eyebrows and an upward curving mouth, even without an overt smile) are more likely to be perceived as trustworthy.

In one experiment, participants looked at different computer-generated faces and were asked which one they would choose to be their financial adviser. Results showed that people were much more likely to choose the faces with more positive expressions.

Unfortunately, the study also found that you can’t do much to change how competent you appear, which depends largely on your facial structure. So quick—log in to LinkedIn and swap out that frowning photo. Looking slightly happy will help get your foot in the door, and then you can prove just how competent you are.