LinkedIn can be a great place to grow and enrich your professional network, so here’s what you need to know about how to create a top LinkedIn profile.
Standing out from the crowd is key and the only way of getting tangible results.
If you are in sales, marketing or business development, and are looking to optimise sections of your profile to enable prospects to better find and connect with you, knowing how to leverage your Linkedin profile is paramount.
Build a better LinkedIn profile
Firstly, let's keep it real, you have to be present. By this I mean you have to be visible, active on LinkedIn. How many times have you accepted a connection request from a LinkedIn profile that doesn't have a cover photo or profile picture?
If you are going to have a professional profile on a social media site you have to focus on building trust. So, if you can, get a professional headshot or if you are selling yourself as the commodity - think coaches, personal trainers etc, then have a picture that reflects your personality.
People will always buy people, so a good clear headshot, a well-worked cover image and your full name. I can't stand it when "John. W" wants to connect...
Highlight your skills and experiences
Looking for an opportunity to show off? This is your chance! Skills, work experience and accomplishments are gold dust here.
Go beyond the basic essentials of job title and responsibility summaries (don’t just regurgitate a paraphrasing of your job description).
Outline how you’ve won awards, taken your company or clients’ forward and/or tackled a difficult challenge with stunning results. Use bullet points to accentuate your most prevalent information.
This is your time to shine. If you are hunting for new business, always keep in mind what will impress a potential client and that's a great profile. Check out our post, Linkedin for Business which is a deep-dive into all things LinkedIn.
Share your volunteer experiences
When someone is researching your profile they will be evaluating you on a variety of levels. Your professional skills and experience count just as much as your character.
Don't forget people buy people and are fundamentally more likely to buy people they like, respect and relate to. Whenever possible, provide an overview of your volunteer experiences so that potential clients or potential employers can get a snapshot of who you are outside of work.
Also, offer to give career advice, be seen as that person who is willing to help others and develop better professional connections. This also looks good to any future employers as you continue to optimize your profile and stand out.
The importance of your summary
In the spirit of our previous point: it pays to be personal. Your summary is one of those important sections and it’s a place where you should go far beyond the basics such as your job title.
In fact, this is the first thing someone perusing your profile sees, so make this content count. Ditch the third person synopsis and industry-heavy jargon, this is an opportunity to capture someone’s attention by being provocative, informative and human - where your personality can really be brought to life.
Tell a story, show your passion, share anecdotes and accomplishments. Use keywords to pump up your search ranking. Cut out tired and overused phrases like “strategic thinker”.
The key is to maximise your impact each time someone views your profile so that you have the highest chance of getting the kind of attention you want.
Join groups to expand your professional network
Joining a LinkedIn group is a great way to find and network with other like-minded professionals. As a rule of thumb, the more you join the better, as long as they are relevant to your industry or profession.
Even more importantly, engage in them. Ask and answer questions, pose a challenge you’d like the community’s opinion on; become a valuable member with your insights.
Give a recommendation
One of the best ways to utilise LinkedIn effectively is to go beyond your profile and leverage your network. Once you have a strong and compelling profile, recommending the skills of people you know can help increase the value of your network as they will be inclined to reciprocate and give you one in return.
And don’t be shy - ask for them! Try to find individuals that can speak to different competencies and experiences across your career, to give a well-rounded picture of who you are and your accomplishments.
Customise your public profile URL
If you’re serious about beefing up your profile, you should customise your public URL to give it an extra boost. It’s a little change, but it can make a big impact.
Having a custom public profile URL helps your search rankings tremendously in terms of SEO. Keeping it simple and functional will also ensure it’s easy to remember when you and others share it.
The Big Picture
In conclusion, your LinkedIn profile should be detailed, strategic and personal. If you really want to do business don't forget to share details like your business phone number or email address. Now that you understand what to focus on, get updating like a pro!
For more great examples of top LinkedIn profiles check out these 10 great examples and see which suits your personality.