Business professionals who use LinkedIn get a lot of benefits if they know how to harness the platform’s power. If you’re a professional who’s either ignoring LinkedIn altogether or blindly stumbling forward, there’s good news. You can learn to use the networking powerhouse to your advantage.
Here are proven tips to help you get more out of your LinkedIn profile.
1. Ramp It Up
LinkedIn is not only the largest professional networking channel, but it’s growing every day. Used by 87 percent of job recruiters to research and discover talent, LinkedIn lists approximately 3 million jobs at any given time. LinkedIn is also a wonderful tool if you want to advance your brand, solidify your professional standing, find partners, investors or hire talent, as well as increase awareness about yourself, your expertise and your company.
You probably already have a LinkedIn profile. But have you looked at it lately? Does it look more like this detailed, completed profile? Or like one of those listed on this bad profiles page? If it looks more like the latter, you have some work to do.
2. Your Picture Says What?
What does your profile picture say about you? Does it fit your profession or is it a vacation photo from three years ago? A profile picture is important – you get 14 times more views if you have one. But a professional photo of your head and shoulders dressed in professional attire is better.
3. Go Beyond The Basic Headline
How about your headline? The headline is the text that appears under your name. Does it say something vague like “Smart and experienced business pro?” Not good. A headline like that says absolutely nothing about your skills, your expertise or even your industry. To work for you, your headline has to use keywords that describe your skills and outlines benefits to the viewer. You may be wondering if you can do that in 120 characters or less. Yes, you can.
Here’s a great example from Joan Stewart: “Top Publicity Expert & PR Mentor shows authors, speakers, experts & small-business owners how to be their own publicist.” There is no doubt about what Ms. Stewart does or who benefits from her services. The headline is also memorable and stands out from the crowd.
Here’s a tip: Ask yourself who you help and how you help them. Come up with a concise and creative answer and use it for your headline. To separate phrases, use commas or vertical bars for easier readability.
4. When Is A Summary More Than A Summary?
Beefing up your photo and headline are the first and most important steps toward improving your LinkedIn profile, but you shouldn’t stop there. Your summary probably needs an overhaul as well. Does it use keywords that describe what you do? Is it written in the first person? Is your contact information listed and accurate? It should be and do all of those things.
Additional tip: At the end of your summary, add a “Key Skills and Experience” list. A skills list is a great way to include your expertise without making your copy sound over the top. Examine your current and past job descriptions. Update if necessary. Elaborate on what you did for each company, citing achievements reached, accomplishments and awards. Prove that you’re a “doer.”
Last minute tips: LinkedIn is not a resume site. Yes, your skills, jobs, experience, education and training are included. But unlike a resume site, where your goal is self promotion, LinkedIn is a networking platform. To use LinkedIn successfully, you share, reach out, learn and become part of a wider community. And that means getting out there and engaging with other LinkedIn members. That’s the path to success.