Top Tips for a Winning LinkedIn Profile
With LinkedIn now boasting in excess of 100m users, the importance of using this fantastic resource for professionals is becoming more and more obvious. LinkedIn is essentially one great big networking event, and one which you can’t afford not to attend.
A winning LinkedIn Profile
The first thing most people do when they join LinkedIn is build a profile. It is so easy to overlook the importance of a good profile. This is not the place to re-write your CV, this is a place to sell yourself, and make an impact.
A winning profile will do wonders for your online presence. It allows direct access to you and more people to access you.
Whether you like it or not, people are using the internet to view you. Make sure what they view is what you want them to see.
First impressions count
Your LinkedIn profile may well be someone’s first interaction with you – make that a good first impression. The expectation is that you can find someone on LinkedIn, it is often first point of call for potential clients, and employers.
Be open and honest
Authenticity is the key. It is vital that your profile sells you. Make is open and honest, and about you. A closed public profile causes concerns for a potential client, as does an incomplete profile.
Profile writing – my Top Tips
1. Ensure your profile is 100% complete.
Your profile shows who you are and how you got there. The importance here is authenticity. Show all your relevant work experience, and don’t forget that past jobs that are not directly relevant to your current role may still be valuable to show.
Include your whole education.
Make sure you are recommended – these are very powerful in their own right and LinkedIn requires you to have 3 to have a complete profile. Recommendations from current colleagues don’t really help and may make the viewer think that you don’t have any from clients
2. Have a photo.
Again this is needed for a complete profile and studies show that people are 40% more likely to view your profile with a photo. It helps people remember you and it warms humanises your profile.
The does and don’ts of profile photos:
- Do have a close up
- Don’t show your partner or kids
- No facebook type photos
- It needs to be YOU
- No cartoons or avatars
- No company logos (this is actually banned in the LinkedIn user agreement)
- Worst of all – leaving it blank!
3. Name and Headline
Your name should be just your name (this is important for searching), phone numbers, LION etc don’t help with this.
Your headline should sell what you do. The key here is to get people to click through to your full profile. Simply stating your job title is unlikely to do this effectively. If you have attended my ‘Networking Superstars‘ course you will know my thoughts on answering the question “what do you do?”.
4. The Summary
Make it a proper summary – you have 2000 characters to use, use them well. Write in short paragraphs and make it personable. Add your contact details here.
5. Work experience
The key here is key words. This section is a highly search engine friendly. Your descriptions should include the words that people would use to search for you, particularly how you describe your role. Again, using your role title may not give the right results. A good role description optimises your profile.
Do not leave gaps. Similar to a CV, gaps will lead a reader to have instant concerns about you.
6. Web-site links
You have the ability to use 3 here. So use them all. You can put whatever you like here, including links to professional journals discussing you etc. Change the website title to a description too.
Adding applications to your profile can be particularly useful. LinkedIn allows you to embed presentation, link to your blog, you tube etc. One I really like is Reading List by Amazon – a client recently told me that he liked that we were currently reading the same book! These bring authenticity to your profile.
8. Profile Settings
Make sure that your profile is visible to everyone. Make it public. Being visible and authentic makes your profile more valuable. Edit your public settings to be as open as possible
9. Customise your public URL
The public URL that LinkedIn gives you is customisable. Make it memorable and searchable. eg. my URL is link2james – no.1 hit on Google.
10. Keep your profile up to date
Make sure you keep your profile up to date. Ensure that you list your client offering in your profile well, and add new skills that make you more saleable. An out of date profile is worse than none at all.
Some final thoughts
Don’t forget that LinkedIn profiles rank extremely highly on search engines. This means that when potential clients, employers or recruiters search the web for your name, your LinkedIn profile is one of the first things that they are likely to find.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile – get one! If you have one, make sure that it is the best it can be. LinkedIn is the biggest professional social networking site there is, and it is free.
For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at email@example.com, use the contact page on my website www.jamesnathan.com or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @jamesnathanxp, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.