How to Craft the Perfect LinkedIn Profile
With 706+ Million Users in 200 + countries, LinkedIn is the most used social media platform designed specifically for business. In a brief survey I conducted of 100 people in the electrical distribution industry who DO NOT have a LinkedIn profile, 84% visit the website to search the name and background of both new and existing contacts! In this article, I’ll give you step by step instructions to help you stand out amongst your competition. I’ve personally curated a network of 30,000 first level contacts in the industry (the maximum that LinkedIn will allow) and have found that each person I reach out to checks my profile before responding and in recent years, 50% of my new business comes from a company searching for my particular expertise on the site.
Let’s make sure that you are putting your best, professional foot forward when they do. Following the steps outlined below, you harness the power of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a place for you to build your professional brand, showcase your achievements and skills, share content with other professionals, and connect with colleagues, business partners, and potential employees or employers.
People come across your profile in a variety of ways. They might be searching for employees at your company or in your industry, remember you from a conference and remind themselves about your work, or simply want to know who called them before they respond. No matter how or why they end up on your LinkedIn page, there’s a shared and simple goal: Your LinkedIn profile needs to capture — and keep — their attention.
What is the perfect LinkedIn profile? Ideally, it’s one that gets you noticed for all the right reasons and helps you achieve your goals – whether this means expanding your reach, finding new contacts, or getting a job offer. And while true perfection isn’t possible, there are steps you can take to help your profile stand out.
Upload a great profile picture
First up? Upload a great profile picture. Profile pictures should be recent, look like you and your face should take up around 60 percent of the total space. The goal here is to look like you normally look at work, in turn making it easier for prospective contacts who may have only met you virtually to recognize you from your profile picture. In the age of video meetings taking the place of being face to face, it’s even more important that you have a recent photo online. Pictures of a big fish you caught, your spouse or children aren’t appropriate for LinkedIn, better to be used on more personal social media site.
Set a background photo
Along with your profile photo, you can also set a wider background photo that showcases a bit more about you. Here, it’s not as important you’re your face is in the shot, but you want to make it something that’s memorable and tells visitors more about you as a person.
Create a great headline
Your headline can also help boost your profile impact. While this short description is often used for job titles, you can take it a step further by adding a bit more detail about your current role, what it means to you or what you’ve accomplished. Be sure to include your title prior to your headline as to not confuse the person reading your profile. For example, Regional Sales Manager “Two-time President’s Award Winning Industrial Sales Professional”.
Tell your story
You’ve got a story to tell, and your LinkedIn summary lets you tell it however you want. And while some professionals simply use it as a way to list their recent job titles or most valuable skills, it’s got potential as a way to connect with prospective employers and colleagues by providing more information about who you are.
Sync your profile
It’s also worth syncing your profile with your email address book — though make sure you’ve got company permission if you’re using your assigned work email address. Equipped with this email data, LinkedIn can recommend connections that might share similar interests or offer endorsements for your skills, and since you get to vet all connections, you’re always in control of who gets contacted.
Highlight Your Skills
One of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile is your skill list. The platform makes it easy to search and select skills that match your experience and expertise, but this comes with a word of caution: The sheer number of skills available on LinkedIn makes it easy to go overboard and inundate your profile with talents that are only tangentially related to current or prospective work. While highlighting your skills is critical, make sure they’re relevant.
Share relevant content
Speaking of relevancy, profiles don’t exist in a vacuum. As a result, it’s worth sharing relevant content, such as thought leadership posts you’ve created yourself or those from industry influencers as part of your profile page. If potential connections find and click through on great content from your profile, they’re more likely to come back.
It’s also a good idea to stay connected once your profile is up and running. Stop by for at least 15 minutes a week to see what you’ve missed, make comments on relevant stories and answer any messages. You can also have your LinkedIn alerts sent to your chosen email address or by downloading their app directly to your cell phone.
Post new content
Put simply? While a solid LinkedIn profile is a great start, it requires regular maintenance to perform over time. Although LinkedIn is distinctly different from social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, it still relies on content updates to keep things fresh and interesting. As a result, it’s worth posting new content — either material you’ve created on your own for public consumption or the work of other leaders in your industry that you find interesting, and you can add 1 or 2 sentences that summarize what you liked about their article.
If you want connections to find you and potential customers track you down, you need to make your profile public. It’s an easy process: Head to your LinkedIn page and click on the “Me” button under your profile picture at the top of the page, then select “View Profile”. Now, you’ll see an option for Edit Public Profile and URL — select this option and you can toggle your public profile status on and off, and control who can see your profile picture.
Create a custom URL
While you’re on the Edit Profile and URL page, it’s worth customizing your URL to make finding your profile easier. When you join LinkedIn, you’ll typically be assigned a URL that contains parts of your first and last name along with a random string of numbers. Where possible, remove the numbers and make your URL your full first and last name. If this is taken, try adding a middle initial or the industry you work in.
Although skill endorsements are great to highlight your areas of expertise, recommendations take things to the next level with a personalized testimonial about time spent working together, projects completed, or skills developed. Consider reaching out to close contacts for recommendations that are relevant to your current role.
Spotlight your services
Maybe you have specialized certifications or training that sets you apart from the crowd. Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to highlight these services and let people know that you’re more than just your job — you’re a talented, interesting, and knowledgeable individual that brings significant value to your customers.
Curate your network
Big networks are great. Networks that are too big, however, can take focus away from the primary purpose of your profile: Connecting with like-minded and skilled individuals to expand your industry impact and potentially advance your career. The result? Make sure to occasionally curate your network so your profile remains aligned with your goals.
Make regular improvements
Last but not least? Don’t let your profile sit idle for too long. In addition to regularly interacting with the site to make new posts and engage with new connections, it’s a good idea to regularly update your profile with new information about your current job, new skills you’ve obtained, or projects you’ve completed. Not only does this demonstrate consistency, but it also shows that you’re continuing to grow and learn — something prospective customers are always looking for.
Feel free to visit my profile for inspiration!