Ten Tips to Help you Create the Perfect LinkedIn Profile
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.
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!
Looking to write the perfect LinkedIn profile? That’s easier said than done but if you stick to this guide you won’t go far wrong. Last week we gave you five nuggets of information to start you on your way. Now we’ve wet your whistle, here’s the final five so when you’ve worked your way through these you’ll be ready to unleash the brand new you on the world, for better or for worse.
6 Join the right groups and help out – it’s nice to be nice
There are various benefits to be had from joining the right groups.
Firstly, they show up in your profile and demonstrate your interests. Secondly, they are an ideal way to meet relevant people and strike up a conversation.
You might get help if you need it.
And, just as importantly, if you help people with their problems they will remember you, which often pays off many times over.
One obvious tactic is to join the same groups your colleagues join. That’s easy but it’s only a start.
We’d recommend you also identify groups your future clients or managers are members of, join them and try to add value – a great way to make a name for yourself!
Following companies you’d like to work for will also be an easy way to see blog posts, Twitter feeds or their latest news like jobs – choose the updates that suit you best.
7 Don’t just get connections and recommendations – review others
Having large numbers of connections can obviously look impressive but we’d recommend only connecting with people you know, who are relevant to your industry or you are likely to work with going forward.
Ultimately it makes sense to accept a connection if they are your friend or there’s a decent chance it will pay off at some stage.
Recommending other people is also a great shout.
When used well, it’s a chance to get your name and job title on the profile of someone well respected and well connected – and people might even recommend you back.
The more specific plugs your products and services get the better – not only does it look good, it will help you move up LinkedIn’s own search rankings.
However if you really want an insight into what makes someone tick, have a look at the recommendations they’ve handed out.
Knowing how to push someone’s buttons could be gold dust if they are a potential future client or employer so make this your default position if you are about to be interviewed for a job for example.
8 Your skills and expertise could get you hired. So don’t be shy
LinkedIn claim users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities than those without – and the skills section is often neglected.
You get the chance to add up to 50 skills to your profile so pick ones that have the most relevance to your target audience, as long as they are true of course.
And we aren’t just talking about skills in the workplace. The skills section is an opportunity to present yourself as a rounded person so they don’t all have to be work related – as long as you have a life outside work, which rules us out!
If various people are endorsing your skills it will obviously add to your credibility across your professional network.
Giving others endorsements is also another way to spark up a conversation and might lead to you getting a few endorsements yourself.
According to official LinkedIn figures the five skills that got people hired most in 2013 were: Social Media Marketing, Mobile Development, Cloud and Distributed Computing, Perl / Python / Ruby and Statistical Analysis / Data Mining.
So now you know.
9 Include contact information and relevant calls to action
One of the best ways to forge genuine and meaningful connections on LinkedIn is to position yourself as a problem solver and encourage people to get in touch.
Which means calls to action are a massive help.
As discussed in part one of this blog, adding “If you need help with XYZ, talk to me” often works well – as long as you provide various options for how people can get in touch.
We’d recommend something like that in your summary but you can leave a call to action pretty much anywhere on LinkedIn, just don’t go overboard.
And there are various types of calls to action you might want to use, from the downright obvious “download XXX document” or “watch XYZ video” to the also exceedingly obvious “go to my website” or “request a quote”.
10 Last but not least, pick the right pic: smart but friendly please
Apologies for stating more of the bleeding obvious but your photo is pretty much the first thing people will look at so it’s crucial you get it right.
You don’t need to hire a pro to take it as long as you’ve got a friend who is half decent with a camera and willing to take a few shots – but if you do go down that route set aside some time to do it properly.
Smile in a warm, approachable way and pick a head shot – your photo will only be small when uploaded so there won’t be room for much more.
We’d recommend a white or neutral background with nothing else in shot. Dress professionally and avoid sunglasses, over-the-top hairstyles, make-up or jewellery. George Michael – you have been told.
Strapless tops are also a no-no – it might give the impression you are naked and I’m guessing that’s not the image you are going for!
Summing up – these guidelines should help but do it your own way
OK that’s your lot. There aren’t too many hard-and-fast rules about how your LinkedIn profile should look but we hope these guidelines help.
Across the two parts of this blog we’ve outlined ten major ways you can make your LinkedIn profile work harder for you.
It goes without saying it’s up to you if – and how – you put them into practice.
Whatever you do, remember to avoid waffle and include plenty of relevant facts and achievements throughout, just like you would on your CV.
Proving how valuable you can be is still the name of the game but your LinkedIn profile also gives you the opportunity to outline your goals and tell the odd story where appropriate.
It’s your chance to speak to a new audience so don’t be afraid to add your own personal stamp on it.
Be yourself – just not too much George.