I can honestly say that I LOVE LinkedIn. It’s a powerful platform for professional networking, recruiting job candidates, looking for a job and finding sales prospects. It’s also a great platform for building YOUR professional brand – an attribute of LinkedIn that most users totally underutilize.
Does your profile make you stand out – or is it just ho hum?
If you answered ‘yes’ to the latter, read on. In this blog I’ll share some practical insights for turning your ho-hum profile into one that will get you the attention you deserve.
Tip #1 – Start by Getting Inspired
I strongly suggest starting by getting inspired. Search and find some peers and professionals who are much like you – but that have striking LinkedIn profiles. Ask yourself: What aspects of his/her profile capture your attention? How is he/she bringing their story to life? What keywords is he/she using? What type of content is he/she posting and sharing?
You’ll be surprised what a little inspiration can do.
Tip #2 – Make a Great First Impression
Your photo is your virtual handshake – don’t cut corners. Your photo should be friendly and should align with your role. If you already have a professional headshot that you like – great. If not, get one. Consider it an investment in yourself.
You headline (the text directly below your name) should not be your job title. Rather, it should be catchy and include keywords that others might search for and find you. Focus on problems that you solve. But remember, you don’t have a lot of text to work with, just 120 characters (including spaces). Make every character count. (Need help? See Tip #1 – check out peers for inspiration.)
Also, I highly recommend that you replace the default blue background banner image at the top of the page with one of your own choosing. You can have a custom image designed or find a royalty free option. The preferred resolution is 1400 x 425 pixel. The format should be JPG, PNG or GIF and the file size should be <4 MB.
Tip #3 – Tell YOUR Story
Don’t cut and paste your resume! Rather, tell your story. Share what inspires you. Showcase your personality and your unique blend of skills, experiences, accomplishments, education and credentials.
Write your About section copy in the first person. Pay particular attention to the first 300 characters, as they will appear on your initial profile page before the “Show more” link.
Use the Experience section to provide a concise summary of the positions you’ve held. I like this format:
- X Company is/was a ….
- I did this …..
- I accomplished this and that.
As you are telling your story, remember that you want to be searchable. Using keywords will help. It’s a good idea to draft a list of keywords in advance and make sure you are including them often and consistently.
Tip #4 – Don’t be Shy
Be sure to take advantage of your vanity URL. As a major website, LinkedIn has a high Google page rank. Using a URL like “linkedin.com/in/yourfullname (for example linkedin.com/in/joantesla) can help your name rank pretty high too. Be sure to add your vanity URL to other social streams – like your blog, email signature, online resume, Twitter and Facebook.
In the Accomplishments section, add videos, presentations and other content you’ve created alone or as part of a team to bring your story to life.
Ask for Recommendations. Don’t be shy. They are a powerful way to add credibility to your story. You should have at least ten. Oh – and be sure to reciprocate when someone agrees to provide a recommendation by providing one back.
Mention your Volunteer experiences and the causes you support, as well as any Honors and Awards you’ve received. And join as many Groups as you can find that interest you.
Tip #5 – Make Meaningful Connections
Connect. Connect. Connect. But don’t connect randomly.
You should aspire to at least 500 connections. Go to My Network > People You May Know to start growing your network. If you are trying to connect with someone you don’t know, be sure to include a personal note explaining why you’d like to connect.
Tip #6 – Share Your Wisdom
Finally, Like, Comment and Post. Be active daily to provide value to your network. Share your latest blog post, presentation or any content you’ve discovered that is worth passing along.
So, there you are. Six tips to make your LinkedIn profile set you apart. A final word: It won’t be easy. It takes time and commitment. It also takes a knack for storytelling and writing.
If you need help, call, text or email me. I’d be happy to provide a free assessment of your profile and help you make it rock!