An effective LinkedIn profile is an essential thing to have if you want to be successful. If you are looking for a job there is simply no argument. Not that it can make you successful in its own right but a failure to be found on LinkedIn could lead to someone questioning your credentials. It could be the difference between getting an interview and not getting an interview. In the latter stages who you are connected to and what they say about you could be the only reason you miss out to someone else.
Creating an effective profile on LinkedIn is thankfully however a pretty simple task. I’ve worked with hundreds of people to plan their LinkedIn strategy and optimise their profile. In this blog post we are going to cover the essentials for setting up and optimising your profile. For the detailed information you can watch Jonnie Jensen’s LinkedIn Profile Essentials video.
12 Steps To An Effective LinkedIn Profile
1. Your Summary - before getting in to the detail of the profile you should prepare your summary. Make it about 140 words long and break it into three or four paragraphs. Make it punchy and upbeat. Share why you love what you do and how it makes a difference to clients and others. Be sure to include some personal aspects about yourself. This point is vital to gain the interest of anyone reading your profile – 9 times out of 10 times it is the personal details that people will remember.
2. Keywords - in order to appear prominently in LinkedIn’s (and indeed Google’s) search results you need have they keywords that you want people to find you for present in your profile. Be as specific as you can with these keywords; Account Manager for example could be the job title of someone in a sales role or someone in an clients services role at an Agency. Go back through your summary and highlight the important keywords. Then make sure they appear frequently – at least 20 plus times – in your profile.
3. Your Name - quite simply put the name by which you are known or wish to be known at work. For women who have a married name sometimes you will see their name followed by nee MaidenName e.g. Mandy Jones nee Smith. Whatever you put try and keep it the same across all your social channels.
4. Your Profile Picture - a clear headshot that someone could recognise you from at an event is what you want. It can be quite informal but don’t choose one where you have obviously cropped out someone else. A photo from a wedding is always a good option – just make it from the early part of the day!
5. Your Headline - say something that describes what you do, that catches people’s attention and includes keywords you want to be found for. You can change this headline regularly.
6. Your Jobs - don’t be restricted by what it says on your business card. Make sure you include keywords in your title and summary that will help explain what you do for people. Do this for your previous jobs also. You don’t want to lie but equally your old boss won’t come knocking. Be brief in your details about what you do or did and focus more on the value you provide.
7. Your Education - it’s a no brainer to include them if only because it gives you access to more connections on LinkedIn. Besides, you have no idea what position some of your old class could now be in.
8. Connections - having lots of connections gives you more access to people on LinkedIn because it is possible to connect with your contacts contacts. Some LinkedIn ‘experts’ will tell you only connect with people you have actually met. I believe that will stop some people from achieving their objectives of using LinkedIn. I am more inclined to say connect with people who will help you achieve your goals. This gives you a reason to reach out to people and you actually say why you have done so. We will cover more about Connection Strategies in a future blog.
9. Recommendations - it is my opinion that you should seek recommendations. If anyone wants to see how trusted or valued you then some recommendations will carry more value than none. You only have to consider the service Klout, which measures online influence, to appreciate this is a factor that some people do consider important. As a job seeker or someone in business development this could be a make or break a decision in your favour.
10. Websites - the default option for this will show a link to your website that reads Your Company. This really is of little value. Instead choose the ‘other’ option and take the opportunity to create a relevant text link to your website. Think about including one of your keywords or a call to action.
11. Twitter - if you use Twitter click the edit link and follow the instructions to add your Twitter profile. Quick tip: don’t post all your Twitter updates to LinkedIn.
12. Your Personal URL - and finally, if you have not created a personal URL do it. Get your name if you can. If its not available add your location or a keyword related to what you do. Avoid numbers and characters and unless it’s your business avoid brand references.
So there you have it. Not only will your profile now read better but it is also now optimised to place you high in the search results both on LinkedIn and other search engines. If you have optimised your profile share it in the comments below so everyone can see what the final result should look like.