Increasingly the first contact you will have with new people is going to be electronic so it is vital that your LinkedIn Profile stands out. This means building a complete and rich profile which projects the image you want others to see of you. Having a LinkedIn profile that isn’t up to the job could mean you fall at the first hurdle – “they look, they read, they turn to somebody else.”
The first thing that most people will notice on your profile is your photograph. LinkedIn is not Facebook, so no funky photos of yourself doing weird things on holiday – use a clear up to date and smiling photograph, a head shot is preferable, and make sure that the photo is appropriate to use in a work setting.
Next to the profile is your headline, this should tell people what you do as well as who you do it for. You also want to try and get keywords in to increase your SEO. You have 120 characters to play with so use as many as it takes. To find out more on this watch our video ‘How to write your LinkedIn Headline’
When it comes to adding contact details you want to be as thorough as possible. Make sure that you have your work email and add in as many forms of contact as you can, including websites. The whole idea is to make it as easy as possible for any potential clients to learn about and contact you. You can find out more about this in the video ‘How to add your LinkedIn contact details.’
Make sure that your LinkedIn URL is personalised, it helps to not only strengthen your personal brand but also will increase your SEO on search engines. The video ‘How to change your LinkedIn Profile’ goes into more detail.
Most visitors to your profile will read your Summary so it’s a good idea to make sure it reads well. We suggest it’s written as though prospective clients (as opposed to employers) are going to read it and it needs to be interesting enough that people will wish to continue reading the rest of your profile. LinkedIn has an excellent relationship with Google so be sure to include keywords in your headline, summary and work history, this will increase your SEO which will help you become more widely recognised. To find out more on this watch the video ‘How to write your LinkedIn Summary’
Skills and expertise, where you add individual skills for people to endorse, are a section of LinkedIn that allows you to prove your capabilities and gain credibility through your network. Try and pick 5-10 key skills that you wish to be known for; any more than that and your message can get diluted – you can appear to be a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none which is not the desired outcome.
Originally LinkedIn was a sort of an online CV, however these days you need to think of it more as your own personal website. This means that whilst you should list all of your previous work history concentrate mostly on what you’ve been up to over the past 5 years or so. Jobs you had 10 or more years ago should only really warrant a sentence or two. Also do emphasize the great things you’ve done in your career as well as what you aspire to achieve in the future.
Your education can be useful as you can find people based on the schools that you went to, it is also a useful way of proving credibility and capability and for potentially building rapport with clients at a later date if they attended the same school. It is, however, more important if you are a recent graduate as your work experience will usually take president to potential clients.
In the additional info section of your profile you can add your interests and hobbies, this allows your connections to see the person behind the professional. Adding hobbies can make a whole new side of you apparent and can be used to build rapport and dialogue at a later date. Obviously you should only put things in that you are comfortable being in the public domain. One of the most important sections in Additional Information is the ‘Advice for Contacting’ section. As only your first level connections can see your contact details, this section allows you to put in an email or phone number as well as suggestions for why someone would contact you so that any level connection will be able to get in touch with you.