26 Apr 2018
The best LinkedIn profiles, the ones scoring the most new contacts, connections, and new opportunities, are sometimes the easiest ones to build. And it’s easy because it is all about you.
No one knows your background and experience as well as you do. LinkedIn is there to showcase all that information in an attractive and easy to grasp way, so employers and potential clients will know right away who you are and how you can help them.
LinkedIn visibility is tied to having exciting headlines, a good and engaging profile photo, and a clear, concise presentation of your life and experience. And putting all that together can be done quickly and easily. To prove how fast you can ramp up the power in your profile, we have put together these 10 LinkedIn profile tips that you can do in the time it takes to read this article!
Ok, this might sound a little strange, but think about it. Your photo is the first thing people see when they open your profile, and while LinkedIn is not a beauty pageant, your photo needs to be the best one you can find. You can use a classic front-facing portrait, an action shot of you at work (but one where we can see your face please!), or a more casual photo, but for each, there are some simple guidelines to follow. Make sure you are smiling and that we can see your whole face. If it is a casual shot, use one that looks like a professional relaxing and not a photo from a frat party! Photos with neutral backgrounds are better as busy background distracts attention from you. And finally, even if you think that hat and sunglasses combination looks great on you, leave them out on LinkedIn. Present yourself as if you are going to a meeting.
A lot of times, people do not know that you can personalize your wallpaper. Placing a good photo that reflects your personality goes a long way to help people know you better. Are you an experienced teacher? Put in a photo of your classroom or lecture hall. Do you have a bicycle repair business? Give us a nice artistic looking shot of some bikes. Remember: everything you put on your profile reflects on you. Make sure the photo you choose is tasteful, in focus, and fits the size requirements (1584 x 396 pixels and no larger than 8MB). The final test – does it look good with your profile photo? Ask a few friends if you are not sure!
When you are improving your LinkedIn profile, you get to write your own headline. To make yours stand out and get noticed, make sure you think a few minutes about how you want to be introduced to the world. If you leave it blank, LinkedIn will just fill it in with your last job title. Instead, try out a few sentences that talk about you. If you have your own software company, why not try something like this:
Innovating software solutions
This is catchy and tells us that you are an innovator and maybe a person that companies can use to help them grow. Your headline is your introduction so use it well. Another person might be using LinkedIn to find new jobs. She might say:
Seeking new challenges in the field of UI development
It is clear and to the point and people will notice. But it is also important that you not get too stuck on your headline. It does not have to stay there forever. If you change your plans or your needs, change your LinkedIn headline to reflect it.
Below the headline and before your putting in your experience, you have 2,000-character space to write a short autobiography. This is where you can tell your story, talk about what you want to do, and describe yourself as you would like prospective employers or client to know you. The summary makes people want to know you more.
The best way to write a good summary is first to think about what people need to know about you. If you are looking for a new job, you can talk about why you are making a change. If you are moving to a new country, you can tell people what you would like to do there. Use it as an extension of the LinkedIn headline. The headline gives them a snippet, now in the summary, you can add color. We recommend that you make it personal, use the first person, “I”, when you are writing it. You have a fairly large amount of space, so use as much or as little as you think explains your headline best. Please don’t summarize your career – they can read about that underneath. This space is for introducing yourself.
Insider’s tip: the first two lines appear on your profile page above the “show more” button. Make sure your first two lines pack a lot of punch!
As much as you might think that being captain of your high school field hockey team is a good thing in your life, it might not be terribly relevant for someone who wants to hire you or book your services!
Starting with your present position, be as economical as you can about what information you give. If you run your own company, list out some of your achievements, the size of campaign budgets you have managed, or some of your bigger clients. Also, when people are reading your experience, they do not like to read it like a book. Use bullet points as much as you can and avoid wordy paragraphs.
So show them what is important and leave out the rest. You may have had 20 jobs in your life – and a lot of people do. But think about which ones are the most important to what you want to do now. Focus on the last three to five jobs at most. If they want to know more, they can read your CV or, better still, contact you to ask.
Word to the wise: If you are unemployed right now, use the first position to talk about the job you would like! “Looking for a new position in…”.
LinkedIn has a lot of very interesting and very industry specific groups, all of which are started by members, and this can be a good place to join an ongoing conversation or start one of your own. You do not need to join all the possible groups, but pick and choose a few and when you are in, get involved. Each time you post in a group, that many more people are looking at your profile and getting to know you.
If you cannot find a group that suits you, you can always start one of your own – but if you do, remember that you will need to maintain it every day!
Getting recommendations from former employers, from clients, and from industry influencers (if you know any) is a great way to get noticed. The one thing that usually stops people from getting recommendations is a sense of humility or shame in asking for them. But LinkedIn has made it easy for you. There is a standard form you can use to ask for recommendations and you should use it as often as you can. Moreover, you can do the same for other colleagues and friends on LinkedIn and they will appreciate the effort you make.
Recommendations are another power boost to your profile because you name then appears also on the profile of the person who recommended you. Not only will people say good things about you, but you get more visibility too!
A lot of times, people will endorse you for skills that you never mentioned. The number of skills for which you can be endorsed has no upward limit, but having a million different skills means, unfortunately, that people will not read through them all. Have a look at the skills you have listed and pair them down to the ones that fit you best. If you are a native English speaker, you do not need English as a skill. The same goes for a lot of skills that are now taken for granted such as Microsoft Office – we expect that most people know or can learn Word and Excel if they need it. They are not special skills. But if you know HTML or Java, if you are skilled at Search Engine Optimization, those should be kept.
Endorsements are not the first thing people look at on your LinkedIn profile, but when they do, you can make sure they know which important skills you possess.
When you like or follow a company or a particular influencer, this has a double benefit for you. On the one hand, you then get to see updates from these companies and people in your newsfeed every time they publish. But the more important result is that other people see who you are following.
Why does this matter? Because you are then associated with the thought leaders and opinion makers that you have chosen to follow. This means you need to be aware of the people and businesses you follow and be sure that they are in line with your goals. LinkedIn is not Facebook, and it is not a forum for displaying your private life and personality. Your LinkedIn profile is meant to be your professional page. So keep your likes professional.
Open LinkedIn once a day or a few times a week and stay in touch with your network. If you see an article that you like, share it on your feed. People will be interested not only in what you share, but they will probably stop to have a look at your profile too. LinkedIn is not a static warehouse of professional bios. It is a living, dynamic forum for professional conversations. The more active you are, the more people will see you and the closer that will bring you to your goals.
Staying active on LinkedIn does not take more than a few minutes each time you log on. If you heard someone say something clever about supply chain management, make a comment about it and give them credit. Your cats and the pizza you had last night, on the other hand, should be saved for Facebook and Instagram…
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