9 TIPS TO CREATING A BETTER LINKEDIN PROFILE
LinkedIn is the world’s leading professional social network. For most professionals, it is vital to have a strong presence on the platform, and it is a highly effective tool when it comes to seeking out new connections and opportunities.It is vitally important that you know how to create a great LinkedIn profile. Click To Tweet
While the mechanics of actually setting up a profile are easy, optimizing your profile to be an effective professional tool is a much more challenging process.
In this article, we will take you through exactly what to include in your LinkedIn profile to create a presence on the platform that is highly discoverable for all the right reasons and effectively communicates your experience and aspirations as a professional. Read on for our top nine LinkedIn profile tips.
How To Create A LinkedIn Profile: 9 Tips For Effectiveness & Success
Creating an effective LinkedIn profile page is all about communicating what you are “all about” professionally at a glance. It should show off both your existing professional experience and your future professional aspirations. It should make you both highly discoverable in the right contexts and highly desirable for new opportunities.
1. Use A Professional Headshot (& Add A Cover Image)
The ultimate crime on any social media platform is not to include a profile picture. If the default grey silhouette represents your profile, this is a trigger for most people to click away.
But more than just adding a profile picture, you need to add a headshot that reflects on you as a professional. Adding your favorite photo of yourself from Facebook, perhaps taken at a friend’s wedding, subliminally gives off the wrong message and can undermine your seriousness.
An excellent headshot of you looking your best in a professional setting can make a big difference when it comes to making a good impression.
While it is less vital to the overall appeal of your page, don’t forget to add a cover image as well, which should be a long landscape image with recommended dimensions of 1,584 x 396 pixels.
This image should feature depending on you, but again, unless you work in the tourism industry or are a professional surfer, a beach profile probably doesn’t leave the right impression.
If you have your own business or brand, then this is an obvious thing to incorporate. If not, other ideas are to use images of the type of technology or tools you work with, the people you serve, or the city you consider your home base. If you can’t think of anything else, an abstract image is a good choice.
2. Optimize Your Headline
When someone is browsing many similar profiles looking for potential job candidates, they may be sorting people into maybes and nos at a glance based on what they can see “above the fold” on your LinkedIn profile page.
The first things are your profile picture and cover photo, name, and headline.It is essential to optimize your LinkedIn headline to help readers "get what you are all about" at a glance. Click To Tweet
LinkedIn will automatically populate it with your current job title if you don’t complete your headline, but it is easy to take control of that vital 120-character snippet.
You want your headline to reflect your most important professional experience and indicate the kind of opportunities you are looking at in the future.
Consider these examples:
Executive experienced in strategic planning, program evaluation, cost analysis, budget management, and board governance.
Product Management & Marketing Leader in SaaS and Software with IT, Mobile, Analytics & Technology space.
3. Keyword Optimize Your Summary
If you have caught someone’s attention with your headshot and headline, they will look at your summary.
This is 2,000 words in which you get to show off what makes you a desirable colleague, employee, or business partner. It would help if you focused on your skills, what you have achieved, and your impact rather than your work history, as this is something people will be able to discover by scrolling through the experience section of your profile.
Also, bear in mind that your summary is integral to discovery, as search platforms harvest important keywords from this section. So, it would be best if you optimized the text to highlight what you want to be discovered for.
Include any training you are doing to expand your skills or side-hustle talents that you would love to incorporate into your career.
4. Organize Your Experience
Adding your previous work experience might seem like a simple matter of cutting and pasting from your CV. But there are two essential things to remember: Scrollers don’t always have the most extended attention spans. The listed nature of experience on LinkedIn will highlight any gaps in your career.
While you might want to add more details about your most recent or most crucial employment history, in general, keep the job descriptions associated with your previous employment short. Lists that give people an idea of what was involved at a glance are ideal.
For your more important roles, where you want to add more information, try and keep it as brief as possible. If you are too lengthy, LinkedIn will cut down your text and require readers to click on the “see more” button to read your full description. If people are looking at hundreds of profiles, they may never click that button.
If there are periods where you were out of the workforce that looks problematic within your experience list, think about how you can explain these gaps. Remember that you can include things like “year abroad” or “full-time caregiver” in your experience. You probably also gained many skills through these types of incidents, which you can also include in this section of your LinkedIn profile.
5. Be Smart About Education
The education section of a LinkedIn profile is a great place to highlight your academic experience. This is especially useful for university-educated folks with honors and distinctions under their belts.
But, if before you went on to complete a Project Management course and a mini-MBA, all you had is a less-than-mediocre high school diploma that is decades old, you don’t need to include this in your profile.
People reading your profile will get the information they need from your most recent qualifications. Unless you are a recent high school graduate or have an imposing high school record, there is no need to highlight this information on your LinkedIn profile.
If you have several professional qualifications to add, none will be surprised if you don’t include a high school certificate from 20 years ago.
6. Choose Your Profile URL
If you let LinkedIn choose your URL, the platform will provide you with something that includes your name followed by a string of numbers. But you can easily edit your public URL to make it more relevant to you and your professional expertise.
There is an option to edit your URL on the right-hand menu. You can change your name from something like linkedin.com/jane-doe-1574837 to jane-doe-photographer, jane-doe-curator, or anything else that reflects who you are as a professional.
7. Seek Connections
Perhaps you think of your LinkedIn page as a showcase page to make you discoverable. Therefore, you might think that while the content is important, having an extensive range of connections is less vital.
But your connections largely dictate who can see and discover your profile. Contact between LinkedIn users is often limited to first-, second-, and third-degree connections. So, if you aren’t connected to anyone, headhunters, conference organizers, potential clients, and others will have a hard time discovering you and getting in touch.
First-degree connections are the people you have actually linked with on the network, like your “friends” on Facebook. Second-degree connections are the people they have connected with, or “friends of friends,” while third-degree connections are then “friends of friends of friends.”Statistics suggest that if you have 1,000 first-degree connections on LinkedIn, you might have 10 million potential third-degree connections Click To Tweet
The best connections are the people you know professionally but on a personal level. As you discover them, you can click to invite them to connect, and as they recognize you, they will probably accept.
You can also connect with active people in your field or mentor figures that you would aspire to connect with personally. When you invite these contacts to connect, it is a good idea to include a short message introducing yourself and explaining why you would like to connect.
Building these connections can be a lot of work, but you can significantly simplify the process using an automated LinkedIn management tool such as Growth-X. With this tool, you can do things such as import your email contacts, making them easier to find on LinkedIn.
You can also seek out people whose profiles meet specific criteria, such as certain job titles, locations, or keywords. If you are dealing with a small number, you can then start contacting them individually. If you are dealing with a large number of people, you can automate your messages and invitations.
8. Ask For Recommendations
The fact is that people put more trust in what other people say about you than what you say about yourself. This is why word-of-mouth recommendations are more important for companies than multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns.
Take advantage of word-of-mouth on your LinkedIn profile by asking your professional connections to write brief recommendations for you. These are linked back to their profile within the LinkedIn platform, authenticating the recommendation for the reader.
You don’t need to wait until you are looking for a new job or new clients to ask for recommendations. Most people, including your boss, understand the importance of maintaining a good, professional LinkedIn profile. They will be happy to provide you with a recommendation if you ask them and explain your motives.
9. Remain Up To Date & Active
If you visit a website and see that nothing new has been added in years and that pages are rarely updated, you will probably think the site is no longer active or at least of limited use. People tend to have the same thought when finding a LinkedIn page that is not up to date.
Take the time to update your LinkedIn profile regularly, adding current training, new projects, and new jobs if relevant.
Even better than being up to date is being active. This means posting relevant and meaningful content and engaging with the content posted by others in your network.
While content composed specifically for the LinkedIn platform does best, reposting content that you might be posting on your professional blog or Medium account is a great place to start.
Take the time to comment on things posted by others within your network of connections. Don’t worry; most people will be ecstatic to engage in conversation with you on their posts as it improves their level of engagement as well.
Another great option is to look for groups that focus on your area of professional interest, where you will find lots of content to engage with. Plus, these groups can be a great way to grow your network.
While the mechanics of creating a LinkedIn profile are pretty simple, creating a profile that effectively communicates who you are as a professional and gives you a leg up when it comes to finding new opportunities is a different kind of challenge.
Follow our nine top tips that will help you stand out from the rest of the LinkedIn cloud. These steps will make you more discoverable by looking for professionals with your skillset and communicating what you are all about professionally at a glance.
Do you have experience optimizing LinkedIn profiles? Do you have any top tips? Please share them with the community in the comments section below.
Growth-X is the #1 automated LinkedIn engagement service for managing, engaging, and building your network of leads on LinkedIn. Growth-X works on various social media platforms and is the leading social media management tool for B2B sales.
I’m Growth-X’s digital marketing, copywriter, and customer success expert who focuses on growth hacks for B2B companies. When not working, you might catch me doing yoga or planning my next adventure.