Creating a LinkedIn profile that works for you
LinkedIn is a great resource in business. It’s useful for sharing ideas, maintaining professional relationships, making contacts and finding jobs.
If you want to get the most out of LinkedIn, the first step is to create a profile you’re proud of – a portrait which reflects you personally and professionally.
Here are my tips to creating an awesome LinkedIn profile.
1. Do your research
Before you do anything to your LinkedIn profile, spend some time poking around other peoples. Look at the profiles of other people in the same field as you, the same company as you, maybe just people who present themselves in a way you admire.
The LinkedIn search facility works really well for helping you find things you didn’t even know you were looking for. Enter your search term and you’ll find yourself looking at other peoples resumes, particular job roles, or maybe opportunities which provide a picture of what companies are looking for.
Browsing other people’s pages will give you a chance to identify those things you like and those things you don’t. Those things you need to say, and those things you can leave out. Obviously, you won’t be copying someone else’s text word for word, but using a good profile to guide you can be a real help.
2. Who are you talking to?
Consider who your profile is aimed at.
- If you’re looking for a job, you’ll be wanting the attention of recruiters in your industry.
- If you’re running a small business, it’s your ideal client whose awareness you need to attract.
Think about what your audience is looking for, and let them see it in your profile.
3. And smile…
Ok, obviously I’m most interested in the words but – don’t forget the picture. Profiles without pictures are much less likely to engage interest.
The image should reflect you and look professional, but it needn’t be boring. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject.
The headline appears directly below your name, both on your profile page and also when search results are returned. It needs to grab attention by telling people clearly what you do and how you can help them.
With a focus on the people you hope to attract to your profile, your aim is to encourage them to select your profile to view.
To help you craft your headline, consider these points:
- First, identify your role using terms which will be used in searches.
- Then, show your ideal reader that you know what they’re looking for, and how – with you – they’ve found it.
With only 120 characters to use this may seem impossible.
Here are some examples:
> Business Coaching – to Help You and Your Business Grow
> Service that’s Effective, Reliable and Honest – with FCH Heating Engineers You’ve Found It
> Copywriter : Communicator : Word Finder at Writer for You
5. Now sum it all up
In just 2000 characters, you will show your reader what’s special about you.
You don’t need to tell them everything you’ve ever done, or everything you might be able to do for them now. What you need to do, is tell your audience enough to get them to connect.
You’re showing your reader, the recruiter or ideal client, you understand exactly what they’re looking for – and how you can give them what they need.
To do this, you need to be clear who it is you want to connect with, and how they communicate – your research at the beginning should help with this.
6. Are you experienced?
And how much experience is relevant?
When CV’s came on paper there were limits to what you would include because there were limits to what you could expect an employer to read. LinkedIn removes those limits.
Although you may not see the relevance of the school you went to, the volunteering you did at college, or the job you had 30 years ago, these things may create a link you couldn’t foresee. Perhaps your potential employer attended the same university or has a contact from your previous workplace, such a link may put you on the shortlist with no other reason.
The information you include in previous experience records does not need to be detailed but should highlight skills used in that position.
7. Embrace your skills
Don’t’ neglect the section of your profile which allows you to identify your strengths and skills.
Getting endorsements in those areas which are positive for future work will obviously do you good so select carefully ensuring you’ve thought about what recruiters, or clients, are looking for.
8. Never forget the final check
Whatever else I tell you, I’m a copywriter so you won’t be surprised to know that my main concern is with what you have written.
Maybe you’ve already seen my piece about the importance of proofreading (Simple checks to give you confidence in your writing). Consider the purpose of this profile page – it’s to show people that you are a professional who they should connect with because you know what you’re doing. How convincing will you be if you’ve made a mistake?
9. Keep it updated
Your LinkedIn profile isn’t like the old paper CV you only updated when you were looking for a new job. This needs to reflect you continually.
Maybe you’ve updated your skills, changed your location, want to focus on a new area – all these things should be current on your profile page.
And more than that, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to create an ongoing picture of your development and business using articles, updates and comments. These all build on the picture you’ve created and need to reflect the person you are.
I hope this has helped give you confidence in building your profile for LinkedIn. These steps could also be useful when creating profiles for other social media platforms, trade listings or directories.
How do you feel about creating your LinkedIn profile?
Let us know if you have any tips of your own to share.
And don’t forget, if you still feel that your profile isn’t doing you justice, a copywriter may be able to help.