There is a misconception floating around that LinkedIn is just a place to frequent if you are looking for a new job. That is not the case anymore. LinkedIn is a great place to networking and share your knowledge and ideas.
If someone is given your name and they search for you on Google your LinkedIn profile is often in the first few results. This means your profile is very important and is the foundation of all your activity on the platform.
Here are 12 tips to make your profile strong, effective, and give the impression you want people to get when they visit it.
1. Yes, you need a profile photo.
No one likes their photo, get over it. Really. No one wants to do business with an “empty head” icon. You need a professional image. It doesn’t necessarily have to be taken by a professional photographer, but don’t use a photo from vacation with the people next to you cut off.
2. Add a Cover Story video to your profile photo.
LinkedIn launched a feature called Cover Story. It allows you to record or upload a 30-second video from the mobile app that lives behind your profile photo. Think of this as your audio introduction. People feel like they know someone better when they see and hear them.
When you visit someone’s profile you will know they have a Cover Video because there will be an orange frame around their photo and the video itself may start to play without sound as a preview. Simply click to watch it.
3. Making a background image will set you apart since not everyone has one. Think of it as your personal/professional billboard.
“But, I’m not a graphic designer,” is the excuse I often hear. You can always hire a designer to make your graphics, not just for LinkedIn, but for all your social media. You can also use an easy, and free application like canva.com. Pick the custom dimensions button and enter 1584 x 396 pixels for a profile background image.
4. Think of your headline (text under your name) as your 220-character elevator pitch.
By default, your headline will be your job title, but don’t waste this space. Use it to start telling your story. It can be a single statement or multiple keywords and phrases. The format that works for many people is: I work with (insert your ideal client or industry) to (what do you do for them?). Do include the keywords that apply to you.
5. If your headline is your 220-character elevator speech, the About section is what you say when someone says, “Tell me more.”
Your About section is the place to tell your story, express your passion for what you do, and be findable for appropriate keywords. Do write it in first person. This is not your third-person bio.
“Lead with the need” as in all writing online. In this case, only about two lines of text from the About section show up on your profile before the “see more” link to click. Those two lines need to be compelling enough to get people to click.
Also, people don’t really read online, we tend to scan. Use short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and other techniques to make it a quicker read.
6. Use the Featured section and attach media to your current role under Experience.
The Featured section is a wonderful addition to your profile. It allows you to highlight content toward the top of the profile and because it takes up significant space and allow you to have images it captures attention. It is prime real estate on your profile. Use it!
You can essentially pin PDFs, videos, articles, and even posts. That way, if you did a post a while ago that got great engagement and you don’t want it to disappear because of newer posts, you can feature it. In the image above I featured a post about receiving the Certified Virtual Speaker designation.
Note: I’m not a lawyer and don’t play one on TV, but I know you must have rights to upload a PDF or image and may need to pay for rights if it is from a publication.
7. Change the order of your endorsements
By default, your Skills and Endorsements are ordered most endorsed to least. Since only three of them show on your profile without clicking to see more, you want the most important three (to you) to show.
To change the order:
- Go to your profile and scroll to the Skills and Endorsements
- Click on the blue pencil to the right of the heading
- See the reorder section on the right.
- Click and drag on the three lines (called a hamburger) to reorder.
- Save your changes.
8. Get recommendations
Having recommendations on your profile is a powerful thing, whether for career advancement or for potential clients to see how fabulous you are.
I was asked how to get recommendations when it is so much easier for people to endorse you with a single click. The time to ask, I explained, is when someone is thanking you in person, on the phone, or by email. That is the perfect time to say, “You are very welcome. Would you be open to writing what you just said as a recommendation on LinkedIn?”
LinkedIn has added the ability to share your preferred pronouns. Many people will update this section, not only to indicate their pronouns but to be an ally and make it a commonplace thing to do.
Is your name hard to pronounce? Help people by adding a pronunciation recording from the mobile app that will show up as a speaker icon next to your name.
Bonus Tip: Create a Business Page
Create a business page. If you don’t have a business page in addition to your personal profile then your current role under experience will have a grey box instead of the logo and doesn’t look like a real business.
I believe in using all the real estate LinkedIn provides to control the message about you and your business. The business page allows you to tell your story and share your services more completely. Plus, if you have a team they can link to the business page you create.
CEO Beth Granger Consulting: Intrepid Social