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How to improve your LinkedIn profile
19th January, 2021 |
In the 21st century social media world, there are few more important networking tools for successful business people than their LinkedIn profile. Unfortunately, many are missing out on big opportunities to market themselves and their businesses through the site.
As we carry our phones with us 24/7, you might be tempted to update your profile while you’re on the move – just make sure you’ve got mobile phone insurance in place in case of accident or theft.
Contrary to what you might expect, getting your LinkedIn profile working harder for you doesn’t have to take up hours of your time.
Try working through these top 20 tips and you’ll make progress in no time. Some of them are quick wins while others might take a bit more time, but all will leave you amazed at what a difference LinkedIn can make to both your career and your business.
Make your profile discoverable
With around half a billion LinkedIn members worldwide, it’s important your profile is noticed by the likes of Google. LinkedIn therefore advises users to:
- Ensure your profile’s public visibility is ‘On’ in your profile settings.
- Invite and connect with at least one connection.
- Add information to your profile.
- Edit your profile regularly to keep it current.
If you don't want to be found by search engines, then change your profile’s public visibility to ‘Off’ in profile settings. However, doing this will make it harder for potential recruiters or business connections to spot you.
Update your location
If you move around a lot, take the time to update your location on LinkedIn. It lets local recruiters or clients know you’re near and can take online networking offline.
If a connection realises you’re nearby, they might suggest a quick coffee or even a potential networking event. A golden opportunity might literally be around the next corner!
If business or networking takes you beyond the UK then call your mobile phone insurance provider to check you’re covered.
Add contact information
If you’re uncontactable then there isn’t much use in having a LinkedIn profile! Updating your email, phone number, website and so on is important if you don’t want to miss out on important connections.
Perfect your profile pic
One of the very first things people will see on your LinkedIn profile is your profile picture. Remember first impressions really count and it’s important you think about the impact you’re making.
While different industries will have different standards, they’ll all be looking for someone professional to connect with.
At a bare minimum the picture must be clear, professional and only include you. It also helps if it’s a recent photo that’s recognisably you! After all, people often check LinkedIn before a meeting so they know who to look out for.
Wear what you would for work and try to smile with your eyes and your mouth. A friendly photo will entice more people to connect.
Don’t forget the background
LinkedIn profiles often end up with a boring generic background, and this can work to your advantage.
By adding your own background you’ll grab people’s attention and show a little more about yourself and what your personal brand stands for.
Think about what people instantly associate with what you do. Or choose from any number of cool yet professional options found online.
Hit them with a headline
Too many LinkedIn profiles simply use their job title as a headline. This is a missed opportunity for displaying your personal brand.
These 120 characters can make a big difference to engagement and the power of your profile. Use this space to entice readers to click and learn more about your work and experience.
Craft a super summary
The LinkedIn summary or About section is often under-utilised by even experienced users.
Many leave it completely blank or type in a short tagline better suited for a LinkedIn headline – boring! This is a waste of an important piece of LinkedIn real estate which could be used to let your personality and flair shine!
You have 300-350 words in which to strengthen your profile by adding some personality, optimising your search terms, telling your story, and inspiring readers.
Bringing your skills to life and telling others what you could do for them is vital. But never settle for your first draft, run it past people you respect and adapt accordingly. And if you see something great in someone else’s summary then don’t be afraid to adapt it – as long as it applies to you!
Banish the buzzwords
LinkedIn profiles can all start to sound alike when we focus on the same slightly meaningless buzzwords. With every ‘expert’ showing ‘leadership’ while also being a ‘team-player’, ‘creative’ and ‘passionate’ these words lose their power.
Instead, remember the classic advice to “show, not tell,” You need to ‘show’ the reader you have these qualities rather than just ‘tell’ them.
It can take some work but you can readily do this in both your headline, summary and the content and comments you feature about yourself.
Ignore keywords at your peril
Always add industry specific keywords within your summary and job history.
From banking to security all business sectors have their own unique keywords that recruiters or business people search for.
For example, if you’re able to work wonders with InDesign or Photoshop you’ll want these keywords front and centre in your profile.
Create a vibrant network
There are many ways to grow your network but a good place to start is with your email contacts. By synching this with your profile you’ll be able to transfer any pre-existing connections into LinkedIn.
After this, get into the habit of following up any networking conversations with a LinkedIn connection request.
It’s a great way to keep the conversation going and adds vibrancy to your network of contacts. Even if something doesn’t come from this immediately you never know when it might pay off down the line.
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Update your skills
To support what you’re saying in your headline and summary, you need to identify your skills to other users.
It also makes it easier for network contacts to endorse you for these talents. However, have a regular review of your skills list to keep it relevant and up to date.
If you feel confident then you could take a LinkedIn Skills Assessment to demonstrate your abilities. Displaying a Verified Skills badge on your profile is perfect for strengthening your personal brand.
Endorse, endorse, endorse
Endorsements are vital to a healthy LinkedIn profile.
Seeing an endorsement from someone you know and trust carries a huge amount of weight within the LinkedIn network. Endorsements from others will give you credibility in the eyes of colleagues and recruiters.
A good way to get them is to first endorse other people in your network. Once you endorse them they will often endorse you back. And don’t be afraid to ask a connection if they would consider endorsing you – provided it’s for a relevant skill that they know you have.
Just as we place a lot of trust in a recommendation for a mobile phone insurance provider from friends and family, the same works in the business world.
Whether you’re looking for work or business opportunities, obtaining personal recommendations of you and your skills will demonstrate your experience .
It’s easy and straightforward to approach previous clients, work colleagues or employers for recommendations and certainly worth the effort.
If you feel uncomfortable asking then try recommending others first. You’d be surprised how many people will feel obliged to return the favour!
Share work samples and presentations
Even if it’s not in your character, you need to show off a bit on LinkedIn. For example, if you’ve put together a great set of slides or an interesting case study then upload them and use them to your advantage.
It’ll not only showcase what your business is all about but also demonstrates you’re passionate about what you do!
LinkedIn is the perfect place to share if you’ve recently published some thought-leadership pieces. Perhaps you’ve written a guest blog post, an eBook or even a White Paper.
The Publications section of LinkedIn is where you need to share this. But make sure you don’t just leave it there. Get a conversation going with other connections – you never know where it might lead.
Showcase lifelong learning
We don’t just stop learning once we finish school or university, it continues throughout our lives.
So, next time you attend an online course or seminar use the opportunity to demonstrate your positive approach to learning.
A passion for learning is intrinsic to success so why not use your LinkedIn profile to demonstrate this? Indeed, LinkedIn even has its own learning site offering video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative and business skills.
Add comments to your content feed
Whether you’ve seen something brilliant from a LinkedIn influencer or you read something hard-hitting in the weekend papers, share it in your LinkedIn feed. It’s sure to bring value to your connections.
Add comments to the content to show why you think it’s interesting or in what way you agree or disagree with it.
Bringing your own individual perspective to the content will establish the strength of your opinion in the market. It will hopefully provoke yet more additional comments, which then raises your profile further.
Use LinkedIn for inspiration
Whether you’re publishing thought-leadership pieces, adding content or commenting, always be on the lookout for inspiration.
Perhaps you find a particular subject or point of view resonates across your network and beyond.
If so, be sure to expand on that with a further long-form post or article which can, in turn, create yet more connections and conversations. A virtuous circle indeed!
Set up a LinkedIn group
To get the most out of LinkedIn you really need to stay active. The more great content you share and people you interact with, the more people will see your brilliant profile.
An important part of being active is to set up your own LinkedIn group. It will show your specific interests and demonstrate your approach to interactions.
It will also help you build deeper relationships with your connections. LinkedIn groups are an invaluable way to build up your personal brand and give potential employers and collaborators an insight into your ethos.
It’s not just about connections
While LinkedIn is an excellent platform for networking, it isn’t just about connecting with those you already know and trust.
By following relevant and thoughtful people in your industry you can share their great content and add value for your contacts. Indeed a follower might even develop into a future lucrative connection.
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