LinkedIn continues to be the leader in professional networking. It has grown into one of the most important and prevalent online platforms for professional networking, which makes it imperative that your LinkedIn profile is up to par. The resource is currently used by more than 313 million people in the world, and it is obvious that is has replaced traditional forms of meeting, socializing, and networking.
Whether you use LinkedIn for networking, sales, marketing, career opportunities, or just staying in the loop with current industry knowledge, everyone wants to have THE perfect LinkedIn profile. If you ask 10 different people how to create an optimized profile, chances are, you will get 10 different responses. Some think you should have all your accomplishes listed, with explanations, while some think it is best to keep it short and clean. No matter your strategy, the ultimate goal stays the same: to get noticed. What is the best way to show your best qualities? We dive into the world of LinkedIn, and give you 10 tips to build a killer LinkedIn profile.
1. Communicate Who You Are, Not What You Do
Yes, it is important to list your qualifications, awards, and past professional experiences, but it is just as important to list a couple personal points as well. Employers obviously weight your qualifications more than anything, but give them additional insight as to who you are on a personal level as well. Team chemistry in the work environment is gaining traction, as well it should be, and employees want to explore who they are interested in. Give employers a little snippet that encompasses who you are outside of the business world. Don’t get me wrong; it should be just a snippet, not an entire paragraph. Try including some personal facts in the headline or summary to give people more insight into your likes and values, and it will be a nice touch to round out your profile. Remember, a personal touch can go a long way.
2. Customize Your URL
Most people do not know about this hidden gem. You can, and should, set up a customized URL for your profile. Forbes Magazine gives a great explanation on how to do that, and the benefits of doings so. The URL should encompass your skill set, expertise, or your name. Keep in mind that your desired URL might not be available, but pick an applicable one that works for you.
3. Your Photo Needs To Be Legitimate
The first thing people notice when they arrive on your profile is your picture. Your picture needs to be professional. Most people will tell you to get a professional headshot. This is a great idea, but do not limit yourself to this option. 90% of the people on LinkedIn are going to have a professional headshot, so restricting yourself to this guideline does not allow you to stand out. Aim for a photo that pops and makes you stand out from the rest of the LinkedIn profiles. Some good examples are:
- Speaking at a conference
- Mentoring or helping others
- Working hard at a desk focusing on a task
This should be common sense, but do not use a picture that has alcohol in it, or one with you partying with friends. You can do that on facebook, but LinkedIn is a professional network. Also keep in mind that you should be the only one in the photo, or the main focus of the photo. Do not use a pic of you and 4 friends standing next to each other, it offers zero value to employers and other users of the platform.
4. Build connections
One of the best ways to convey authority is to build connections, and more importantly, build connections first. Take the initiative and reach out to people that you think you can have a mutually beneficial relationship with. Having connections conveys that you are trusted and known within your community. Aim to get over 500 connections. Note that connecting with random people on LinkedIn is not going to help. Make sure your connections can provide value to your profile. A larger network will afford you more opportunities.
5. Media: Use It
You are able to add video, pictures, and various other forms of media on LinkedIn. Strategically place videos and images throughout your profile to spicen it up a little and stand out. Do not go overboard, as it can get clunky very easily.
6. The Real Power: Groups
Once you have your profile set up, start browsing various groups to join that are related to your industry or goals. You should not be content on posting only personal updates and connecting with your connections via personal message. Joining a group is another vertical to connect with people and keep up to date with industry knowledge. Groups allow you to reach people that you would have never of thought to engage with, and will boost your potential network. Groups offer a way of introducing yourself to others with proper etiquette, and allow people to familiarize themselves with you on a personal and professional level. Partake in group discussions and chime in on issues that you can provide value on. Groups are also a great place to share content that you have created. Let people know what you have been working on and ask for feedback on your content in hopes to stir up a conversation.
7. Use CTAs On Your Profile
Think of your profile as a marketing tool. Is it a mere brochure, or a tool that drives growth? Your profile needs to be actionable, not just a stagnant page. Prompt visitors to connect with you via email, use a banner at the top of your page, or a CTA at the bottom linking them to your personal or professional website. The idea is to capture the information of visitors so you can follow up with them or connect in the future. You don’t need to get their email, phone, etc… but just offer another avenue and opportunity for people to connect and learn more about you. CTAs are a great way to engage with visitors and start up conversation.
8. New Jobs And Promotions Are The Same Thing
Anytime there is advancement within your company, make it known. If you just got promoted, or you were offered a full time job from your internship, let people know! Progression in a career is important, and others will see that your hard work is paying off. It shows your network that you have been providing value and are contributing to the success of your company. Employers will see this and understand your motivation and work ethic.
9. Treat Your Personal Brand Like A Brand
The best way to legitimize yourself is to treat your personal brand like a professional one. A brand is created through an identity. Yours should be based on personal values and beliefs that convey who you are as a person, but should also convey professional aspirations. The key here is consistency; as you network more and more on LinkedIn, it is important to be consistent with your messaging, photos, and voice. As stated earlier in this post, make your profile actionable. Link it to other social media outlets like facebook and instagram to expand your audience and be more personable. Use these social medai outlets to attract attention.
10. Endorse Your Peers
Always start off by providing value to your network instead of asking for it. Endorse people in your network, and eventually the favor will be returned. Make sure your endorsements are legitimate and have some thought behind them. Do not just go through and endorse every single person for random skills. Endorsements are a great way to establish yourself as an industry leader and build credibility.
Congratulations! You are on your way to having a killer LinkedIn profile and getting noticed. LinkedIn is important, but it is only a piece of the puzzle. Download our free ebook below on content marketing. You can use the these principles to create valuable content to share in groups and with your peers.
Connect with us on LinkedIn for more great resources and insight.