Want a killer LinkedIn Profile?
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Building a Great LinkedIn Profile
Don’t be like the majority of people who wait until they need LinkedIn. Build your brand, content, and connections now. It takes months, if not years, to effectively build a brand and vast network, so why wait until you need it? Part of being proactive with your career is taking the steps you need to develop relationships within your industry now while you are happy with your current role. If you’re reading this book because you are on a job hunt, don’t despair; there are things you can do to build your network faster. As the ancient Chinese proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Plant your LinkedIn tree today and reap the fruit of your labor when you need them.
Image Matters – Get a Professional Headshot
Your image is the first place to start as you begin to leverage LinkedIn as the powerful business networking tool it is. Having a professional photo is a must. Not having a photo is a huge miss. Images humanize you; they help people connect with you through a media that risks being cold.
Worse than not having a photo is having a bad one. My list of bad photos includes overly produced images and ones with statements or cheesy marketing captions. Vacation/travel photos don’t seem that professional either, and images of you and your spouse, dog, cat, or car make it look like you are unprofessional. LinkedIn photos are similar to the advice I give on interview attire. If you want to be a top business exec, start acting like one.
Write a Great Headline
The headline is right under your name when you edit your profile. It shows up right under your photo everywhere on LinkedIn. When people see you in their search, when folks consider connecting with you, and when you reach out to connect with them, your headline is always there. It is also heavily weighted in Google and LinkedIn search results, so it’s very important. Do not use this area to tell people you are unemployed; it’s a huge turn off. Imagine if LinkedIn was a personal ad and you were dating. What would you want to see? A picture of an attractive person with the headline “looking for some action” or smart, educated, active, and professional. People are on LinkedIn to find people with professional skills, so highlight those; don’t highlight your desperation. Take it from me—the good recruiters and business professionals are less likely to connect with you if you appear desperate. The only thing worse than an annoying recruiter is a desperate unemployed stalker candidate. Don’t send off these signals; you will only turn people off. Your headline should include your current role along with something unique or beneficial about you. Some examples of good headlines include:
You will need to be creative to fit your content in the small space provided, but balance keyword content with adding a benefit. Take a look at the headlines of others in your space, and you will start to see what’s good and what is not. Just remember this is the second most critical thing people see, so invest your energy accordingly.
Create Effective Content
Creating content on your LinkedIn page helps you build your professional network on LinkedIn faster and with people who are more aligned with your skills and career goals. Poor content slows things down by creating less search results with your profile and makes your experience more annoying, as you are more likely to be contacted by the wrong people. Some people think it’s better to have a very basic profile so that they are not contacted by recruiters. This is the exact opposite. By not having specific and detailed content, you are more likely to be contacted by people who are not relevant to you.
Content on LinkedIn does quite a few things for you. First, the more detailed and specific your content is, the more likely your profile is to be viewed by the right people. Your content should be keyword rich and describe the types of things you do. Did you ever stop and wonder why google searches often yield LinkedIn results? LinkedIn is one of the most heavily indexed sites for google, so better LinkedIn content not only lets you be found by the right people on LinkedIn, it also makes you easier to find on Google.
Fill out your profile completely. Use this free and very valuable space to market your accomplishments and experience. Include all the industry buzz words for your space and special skills. As stated previously, a high-quality photo is the number one thing people see when they interact with you and your profile.
In terms of developing your content, you can start with the content of your resume and expand from there. As I mentioned previously, all of the content on LinkedIn is heavily Google indexed by the LinkedIn search algorithm, so more good stuff is better. Also LinkedIn rewards completeness of content, so fill out all the sections. Post an example of non-confidential work, write a post, and add your skills. The LinkedIn site has great tutorials and will suggest areas to complete. Take the time to utilize these free resources; you want your profile to be filled out so you are rated as an “all-star.” By the way, if you are thinking you can get your profile to 100% completeness, this is also reportedly not possible. Apparently LinkedIn does not allow this; they always want the infographic that rates how complete your profile is to be under 100% to drive you into spending more time improving content.
It is Free