Having a solid, well organised LinkedIn profile will not only increase your visibility, but will potentially open up more professional opportunities to you in the future.
Your LinkedIn profile is the foundation for your professional branding, whether this is to promote yourself, your history and achievements, advertise your company’s offering or all of the above, making sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and as attractive as possible will enable you to stand out whether you’re looking for a new career or trying to engage with potential clients. So, are you making the most of your profile?
Let’s take a look at some LinkedIn profile options which by adding or updating will give you the profile and personal brand that you deserve and could ultimately help in your current career or future aspirations. By making a few small improvements this can have a massive impact and take your LinkedIn profile to the next level.
This will sound straight forward, but LinkedIn research has shown that having a picture and, more specifically, the right picture will make your profile a whopping 14 times more likely to be viewed by others.
Your Profile Picture is how people are introduced to you virtually and can govern their first impressions. Here are a few tips to make sure your Profile Picture is the best it can be:
- Make sure your picture is recent and looks like you
- Your face wants to take up the majority of the picture. Long distance pictures won’t stand out
- Wear what you would wear to work
- Be the only person in the picture. If there are others how will visitors know which one is you.
- Avoid distracting backgrounds and take the picture in soft natural conditions
- Ask someone to take the photo for you
- Use a high resolution image
When someone clicks on your profile, your Cover Photo will be the next thing that grabs their attention, so you will want to use this to set the context of your page, engage, interest and stay memorable. Here are a few helpful suggestions:
- Make sure the picture reinforces who you are
- The image should visually support the written portion of your profile
- Create a background that will resonate with your clients’ and target audience
- Add an email or website address
- Use a high resolution image
- Keep it simple
As Napoleon Bonaparte said “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so make sure you stay on brand. LinkedIn is a professional networking site so it would make no sense to have an image that is unrelated to you or what you do.
LinkedIn will by default create your Headline based on your current job title, but you can change this and use up to 120 characters to add either additional information and keywords or get creative by including your specialties or relevant skills.
By including additional details and keywords you can differentiate your profile from others and also show up in more search results.
I will use my own Headline as an example for this article which is “Author @ Salesplaybookb2b.com | Passionate About Sales | Fanatical Prospector | Strategic Sales Hunter”, but you can find many other examples with a quick search on LinkedIn.
Alongside your profile picture your Headline is one of the most visible parts of your LinkedIn profile, so create opportunities by sharing what you’re passionate about or what you can actually do using strategic keywords.
Make sure you invest some time in this section of your LinkedIn profile. This is one of the most under-utilised parts of many LinkedIn profiles and is a great opportunity for you to tell your own story.
Whether you’re using your profile to find a new job, build a professional profile or market your company’s offerings the About section is your most personal piece of content and is worth the effort.
You’ve uploaded a great profile picture, your Background/Cover Photo and Headline are engaging, so don’t let yourself down with the About section. LinkedIn gives you around 350 characters to play with, so add some personality, tell your story and inspire your readers.
It’s not so much if you should use this section rather how you use it. Showcasing the right content here can set you apart from other candidates while searching for a new job by leaving a strong impression in a recruiter’s mind, help convey your personal brand by highlighting articles, videos or notable projects, or showcase your company’s top offerings to potential new clients by adding in current customer stories, testimonials, white papers etc.
Your Featured content is an important visual section of your LinkedIn profile. It is recommended that what’s under Featured flows nicely from the story in your About section. This will help keep your viewers engaged, highlight visually what you explained in the section before and intrigue them to proceed further into your profile.
This is simply the history and current positioning of your career, but there is a few things that you should make sure are done when adding your information.
1 – Make sure each of your previous jobs and current position are linked to the relevant company’s LinkedIn page if they have one. This will enable your profile to look clean with the company logo against each position, but this will also enable viewers of your profile to click on the company link and find out more about what solutions they and you provide.
2 – Add a specific job title – What I mean by this is make sure the job title in your experience is relevant to what it might be called today.
Example: When I started in sales I was an SDR. My actually job title was Marketing Assistant, but my job was to qualify leads for the sales team, which would now be a Sales Development Representative, so that is what my job title specifies for that role.
Make sure your experience is relevant for today. If the job title changes, but the role is the same…update your profile
3 – You can add visuals to your experience just like adding them to your Featured section. Adding PDFs, Powerpoint presentations, certificates, links to articles etc., can really help differentiate your profile by providing more visual content
The key here is to keep this section relevant and related to your profession. Keep it professional with your schools, colleges, universities, but also add in any other related academies or institutions that have furthered your education and your career. Making sure this section is as up to date as possible will also make it easier for former classmates to search for you and connect.
Example: If you’re in sales and have completed any online or in person courses with Sandler Training these can be added to your education relating to your sales career.
Tip: Always make sure you link to the institution’s LinkedIn page, as you would do with the companies under Experience. This will keep your profile nice and tidy.
A few other tips you could consider:
- Enter any extracurricular activities you participated in at school, college or university
- Add any awards or honours you received
- Include any rich media like photos, videos, links or documents that showcase your achievements
This is a great section to show the causes that you support in and out of work, which readers of your profile may find interesting and relatable.
In this section you can add in your individual experiences across a number of organisations you’ve helped or the ones closest to your heart. Either way by adding the work you do to your LinkedIn profile enables your viewers to understand your philanthropic and humanitarian interests and not just your corporate ones.
Skills & Endorsements
Listing your relevant skills helps to substantiate the details in your Headline, About/Summary and experience sections of your profile.
Identify the skills that are relevant to your career and add them to the list. This will then give others a platform to endorse you and if you’re looking for a new job then your skills can be matched to roles during a LinkedIn job search, which can ultimately help in finding your ideal next choice.
Endorsements from others validate your skills and increase your credibility so having the right career skills with endorsements can really impact the look and feel of your LinkedIn profile.
Here are a few tips for this section:
- Add industry relevant skills
- Reorder your list so that your most important skills are at the top
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to endorse your skills
Endorsements give your profile a quick visual sense of the value you bring, but having recommendations take this a step further as these are personal testimonials from people that have experienced your skills first hand.
Including recommendations in your profile can significantly increase your chances of being contacted by recruiters or professional parties seeking advice.
The easiest way to get recommendations on your profile is to ask or to recommend others which can incentive them to do the same. There is a handy drop down menu in the recommendation section of your LinkedIn profile to make it easy to reach out to connections and ask for recommendations and it’s worthwhile taking the time to think of who you would most value a recommendation from so you can personalise your request.
This section is heavily under-utilised by many on LinkedIn, but you should be proud to add in your accomplishments. Whether these are courses you have attended that were not certified, projects you have undertaken, publications you have written or organisations you are a part of or support. Adding these in gives your viewers further insight in to the type of person you are and what makes you tick.
Other Effective Changes or Updates
- Making your profile public – Check your account settings and make sure your profile is public. This will allow you to show up in searches and expand your profile.
- Update your location – This will not only improve the accuracy when someone searches for you, but will also let people in your extended network know you are based in their city, which will allow them to consider you for specific events or relay relevant information in your location
- Create a customised URL – There might be multiple people around the globe or even in the same country or city with the same full name as you, so a custom URL can make it much easier to send people to your profile. This is also requested now on the majority of employment applications so having a personalised version is a great idea
- Contact Information – Make sure your email, website and other professional social media platforms are listed on your profile. LinkedIn InMail is only available to Premium users, so having your contact information up to date allows others to contact you even if you have a standard LinkedIn account
Just like Facebook is a platform to communicate with connections in your private life, LinkedIn is a platform to do the same in your professional life, so make the most of it. Use as many tools (sections) to highlight what you have done and what you will do.
Remember you are the best at being you! No one else can do you better, so gain insights from others but then use that to make the best LinkedIn profile about you as you can!
“Your ability to build trust and credibility is mission critical to maintaining healthy client relationships”
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