LinkedIn continues to be the go-to social platform for business to business. Whether someone looks you up there or searches for you on Google, it is likely they will end up on your LinkedIn profile. I continue to find profiles that are incomplete, unimpressive and frankly, unprofessional. Your LinkedIn profile is your digital resume, your online calling card, and making a great impression is essential.
FiveTips to Make Your Profile Stand-Out
- Have a Photo – this is absolutely essential. LinkedIn tells us that profiles with photos are 40x more likely to get noticed. It should be a professional photo although it does not have to be taken by a professional photographer. If you can have a professional headshot done, then do it. It’s worth it. If not, get a good photo with you smiling. The photo should have been taken within the past 5 years. Please, no pets, kids or anything else. One mistake I see frequently is people using their company’s logo for the profile headshot on their LinkedIn profile. This is not appropriate. Save that for your Company Page.
- Complete Your Summary – here’s one I coach about a lot. First, your Summary should be written in the 1st person, not 3rd. This is not a bio. This is your chance to WOW them when they come to your LinkedIn profile. Work on three sentences that tell someone why they should contact you. What is the benefit to them? Have a call to action. Give them your phone number. Elicit an emotional response by asking a question. For example, “How frustrated are you with a hiring strategy that is a revolving door?” or “Are you tired of not having a clue about your exit strategy?” Once you have the first few lines (which are the ones that will be above the “See More”), then you can add another couple of paragraphs. Use bullet points; they are easier to read and we all scan these days.
- Complete All Sections – go through every section and complete what is appropriate. Volunteer experience, organizations you belong to, certifications you have… If you went to college post-graduate, be sure to have it listed. Most colleges and universities are on LinkedIn so the logo will come up. Do you speak another language? Have you served in the military? Do you sit on Boards? This is YOUR digital resume, so make it complete. Complete all applicable LinkedIn categories
- Fill in Your Skills & Endorsements – you can list up to 50. Why not do that? If you aren’t sure how to find that many, look at a colleague and/or competitor in your field and see what they have listed. If you want to add a word or phrase that doesn’t automatically come up, just add it. Remember to capitalize the first letter of each word. Once you have all 50, you can order them, and you want the three most important on top. LinkedIn may not let you move these exactly as you want because of the way they list the categories. That’s okay. Don’t worry if you list something in the top three that has no endorsements yet, it will. Get rid of anything that doesn’t serve you. For example, you may be a whiz at Excel, but do you want people finding you in a search for someone who knows Excel?
- Get Recommendations – it seems this is one area where people either forget to ask or don’t know how or feel embarrassed. Regardless of which it is, there is no reason to not get recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. I suggest making a list of six to twelve professionals you have worked with in some capacity that can speak to your great abilities. Sometimes this is someone you reported to or someone who reported to you or a co-worker. You can do this two ways; send them a Request for a Recommendation or Recommend them and see if they reciprocate. I prefer asking them to write one. Remember, these Recommendations must come through the LinkedIn system.
Ask for and give recommendations.
LinkedIn will work if you have a strategy for using it. It continues to be the platform of choice for professionals to engage with other professionals.
Comments? You can contact me directly via my AdvisoryCloud profile.