Ten tips to help you create the perfect LinkedIn profile – part one
Looking for a job? Everyone knows how important your LinkedIn profile is. There’re no prizes for realising that I’m afraid.
Not everyone knows how to write one though. That’s the hard bit.
There’s no such thing as the perfect LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is constantly evolving and so is the way people use it – but we can give you plenty of tips that should help.
Not only can we, my friend, by Jove we will. And as if by magic here they are:-
1 Customise your URL so it doesn’t look like gibberish
Tidy up your URL to get rid of any random letters and numbers at the end. This will make it much cleaner – which should help on business cards and CVs, for example.
On the “Manage Public Profile” page, just click on “Customize your public profile URL” on the right-hand side.
When you are done it should look something like this: www.linkedin.com/in/joebloggs. Unless of course your name isn’t Joe Bloggs, in which case we’d recommend changing that last bit.
If some slippery customer has already taken your name, aim for something memorable that people will associate with you.
One option is to create URLs that focus on your skills, eg. www.linkedin.com/in/freelancejournalistlondon.
However, we’d urge caution: unless you are a woman who is about to get married – or you are about to move into witness protection – your skills are more likely to change than your name so we’d advise naming it after yourself, not what you do.
2 Optimise your profile by using relevant keywords throughout
Using relevant keywords throughout your profile will help you get found but don’t overdo it, it still needs to read well!
If you are searching for inspiration, have a look at the kind of jobs you are interested in and try to use terms that often come up.
Companies advertising jobs regularly use tools like Talent Finder and Profile Matcher to source potential candidates so using the same language as companies you’d like to work for is a good start.
As a minimum you should use keywords in titles – they count for more there – in the summary, in various job positions and descriptions and in your skills and expertise.
There’s only so much room in the headline so, if you are forced to choose, optimise it for whatever you want to be found for now, not older stuff that has become less relevant.
Which leads us nicely on to…
3 Headline / tagline: identify a problem and show you can solve it
Your headline is where you demonstrate to potential clients and employers in 120 characters or fewer that you can solve their problems.
So don’t muck about – and don’t start on your company name unless it has wow factor. It’s better to start with who you are and what you do, eg “Social media expert…”.
Anyone searching should be able to quickly identify what you can bring to the table – as should LinkedIn’s inbuilt search mechanism – so, as discussed above, keywords come into play here.
There are plenty of formulas that can help you create a winning headline. A common one is: Keyword or subject matter (describing you) who does XXX for XYZ person followed by proof.
With that in mind, here’s one we made earlier:-
4 Demonstrate value in your summary – and get the tone right
Also key. Entice your reader by identifying their biggest problem, demonstrating you can solve it and backing your claim up with proof.
Include your full name somewhere in your summary in case viewers can’t see it and leave a call to action at the end.
Also consider giving away an incentive for people to get in touch. “If you need help with XYZ, talk to me” often works well.
Try and be as engaging as you can and have a think about your audience before settling on the tone: industry buzzwords can be fine but formal does not have to mean stuffy or full of jargon.
Bullet points for some – or even all – of your summary are by no means essential. However, they can add more punch or focus so we often use them.
Sub headings or lists are another way to make things more digestible – not just in your summary but throughout.
There’s also plenty of debate about whether to write your summary in the first or the third person.
As with much of this stuff there are no hard-and-fast rules but we’d recommend first person – it’s nice to be able to speak ‘directly’ to the reader and writing in the third person can be seen as pretentious.
5 Multimedia: presentations, videos, links, PDFs and photos all help
They say a picture can tell a thousand words so imagine what a slideshow, video or presentation can do.
When used correctly, not only is the content valuable to the audience but you are demonstrating your knowledge and positioning yourself as a go-to person or problem solver.
Because LinkedIn owns Slideshare, users can see presentations or videos directly on the site with no need to navigate elsewhere.
The stats show that infographics posted on LinkedIn get particularly high click-through rates so move with the times and spice that profile up!
OK well we hope those five tips helps but we’re only at the half-way stage. We’ll post the second part of this blog next week so take a deep breath and we’ll see you then. Good luck!