Creating Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is a professional landing page for you to manage your own, personal brand. It's a great way for you to tell people who you are and what you do by displaying a general history of your professional experiences and achievements.
Create an Eye-Catching Headline
Your headline is the first bit of text that shows up right below your name on your LinkedIn profile. The default settings will fill this in with your current position and that's okay for starters — but it can be whatever you want. You have 120 characters to work with, so why not add on a little? Think of it as a small billboard advertisement for you and what you do. Instead of just listing your job title, mention your specialty and how you benefit your company or customers. For example: Advertising Sales Rep helping clients create winning branding strategies. Over 300 successful clients.
Get a Custom URL
On the Edit Profile screen, at the bottom of the gray window that shows your basic information, you’ll see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL, and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL.
Choose a Professional Head shot as Your Photo
Choose a clear, friendly, and appropriately professional image. A photo can go a long way to convey passion, energy, charisma, empathy, and other soft skills that are hard to write about.”
Don’t Waste the Summary Space
“The summary section is your primo opportunity to showcase the good stuff about you, with your target audience in mind. Give ’em a little chance to get to know you. So what do you think the first impression is going to be if you craft your summary like some long, pompous speech?“Ideally, your summary should be around 3–5 short paragraphs long, preferably with a bulleted section in the middle. It should walk the reader through your work passions, key skills, unique qualifications, and a list of the various industries you’ve had exposure to over the years.”
Treat Your Profile Like Your Resume
Your resume isn’t just a list of job duties (or, at least, it shouldn’t be)—it’s a place to highlight your best accomplishments. Same goes for your LinkedIn profile: Make sure your experience section is fleshed out with bullet points that describe what you did, how well you did it, and who it impacted.
Show Your Achievements
Recruiters spend countless hours scouring LinkedIn in search of the high performers. And when they find them, they contact said high performers. Knowing this, you’ll serve yourself well to market yourself as a high performer in your summary and experience section (think action words, accomplishments, talking about times you’ve been promoted or hand-picked for projects).
Include a Current Job Entry, Even When Unemployed
“If you've only listed the past positions you’ve held in the experience section but show nothing current, you’ll probably get missed in most searches. Why? Because most recruiting professionals exclusively use the current title box to search for candidates; otherwise they’d have to sort through thousands of candidates who held a certain role (for example, graphic designer) as far back as 20 or more years ago. The simple workaround, if you’re unemployed, is to create a dummy job listing in the current section that includes the job title(s) you're targeting—‘Full-Time Student/Financial Analyst in Training’—followed by a phrase like ‘In Transition’ or ‘Seeking New Opportunity’ in the Company Name box."
Add Multimedia to Your Summary
“A picture truly is worth a 1,000 words, especially when it comes to showcasing your work. LinkedIn lets you add photos, videos, and slideshow presentations to your profile summary. So instead of just talking about your work, you can show examples. Or show yourself in action. Or share a presentation. Click ‘Edit profile,’ scroll down to your summary, then click on the box symbol, then ‘add file.’”
And Your Work Experiences
You can do the same thing for each of your work experiences. So, use this to your advantage: Add your company websites, projects you’ve worked on, articles you’ve drafted, or anything else that can provide a more multimedia look at your work.
Add Projects, Volunteer Experiences, or Languages
Do you speak Mandarin? Have a project management certification? Volunteer for Dress for Success every weekend? Adding these “additional” profile features (listed on the left when you’re editing your profile) is a great way to showcase your unique skills and experiences and stand out from the crowd.
Manage Your Endorsements
Endorsements can be a great way to show off your skills—as long as your profile isn’t overloaded with too many to really send the right message. The secret to making them work for you is keeping your skills updated: As you transition between careers, develop new skills, or take on new responsibilities, drop outdated skills from your profile and add the ones you really want to be known for. Now, when connections land on your page, they’ll only see the most relevant skills.
Become an Author Or Add Your Blog
All users can write and publish their work on the platform. Share your perspective about what’s going on in your field, weigh in on a recent industry development, or show off your skills as a writer. It’s a great way to get noticed. If you have a WordPress blog, consider using a plugin such as Social Media Auto Publish or WP LinkedIn Auto Publish to automatically publish your new posts to LinkedIn.
Have at Least 50 Connections (Try to Aim for 500)
Having 50 or fewer connections on LinkedIn tells recruiters one of three things: 1) You are a recluse who knows very few people, 2) You’re paranoid about connecting with others, or 3) Technology and social media are scary to you. None of these are good. We’re certainly not suggesting you need to be one of those weirdos who wears your “abnormally large number of connections” like a badge of honor, but you really should have at least 50-100 people with whom you’re connected as a starting point.
Don’t Go Overboard
With all the bells and whistles LinkedIn has to offer, and without being limited by the 8.5x11" confines of your resume, it can be tempting to, well, go nuts. And while details are good, there’s certainly a thing as too much. Step back, take a look at your profile, and see how it looks to an outside person. Is it enticing—or overwhelming? Edit accordingly.
Make Sure People Can Find You
Don’t forget to add your email address (or blog, or Twitter handle, or anywhere else you’d like to be found) to the contact information section of your resume. You’d be surprised how many people leave this off!
Keep Your Page Active
LinkedIn is more than an online resume — it's a networking social media site. That means to get the most out of it, you need to remain active. Check out what other people are posting, engage them with thoughtful comments, and like and share posts that strike you as helpful.
Check Your LinkedIn Profile Strength
If you look at your current profile, there is a gauge on the right-hand side that gives you a “Profile Strength” measurement. Essentially, this is telling you how completely you've filled out your profile. Keep adding more and using the site's tips until that gauge rates you “All-Star.” It's simple, but it can help you see if you've overlooked something.
Spotlight the Services You Offer
Services is a new LinkedIn feature that helps consultants, freelancers and those working for smaller businesses to showcase the range of services that they offer. Filling out the Services section of your profile can boost your visibility in search results.
Publish Long-Form Content – and Use It to Start Conversations
The more you share and comment on content, the more you establish your expertise and thought-leadership credentials on LinkedIn. Publishing long-form posts is the natural next step to take. A great starting point is to monitor the response that you get to your comments and shares. Are there particular subjects and points of view that seem to resonate with your network? Are there comments that you have shared which you feel you could expand on in a post? Evolving your thought-leadership in this way keeps it real – and keeps you plugged into the issues your connections are talking about. Be ready for your long-form posts to start new conversations too. Keep an eye on the comments and be ready to respond.
Follow Relevant Influencers for Your Industry
Following relevant influencers on LinkedIn helps to put a range of interesting content in your feed, which you can then share with others when you think it adds value. It also helps to give context to your LinkedIn profile, demonstrating your passion for what you do.
Sharing is great – but it’s just the starting point. When you add comments to your shares, you give yourself greater prominence within the feed and start to express why you think a particular piece of content matters. Well-expressed comments also enable you to share a broader range of content. It might be that you don’t agree with a point of view but still find it interesting, for example. A comment that can express that viewpoint starts to establish your opinion and thought-leadership. It’s also more likely to draw additional comments, which then raise your profile across LinkedIn. Bear this mind when you’re writing your comment – and make sure you’re saying something you’re happy for people to associate with you.
Share Relevant Content from Your LinkedIn Feed
It’s one thing to have a network of connections on LinkedIn – it’s far better to have an active role in that network, appearing in your connections’ LinkedIn feeds in a way that adds value for them. Sharing relevant content with your network is one of the most accessible ways of doing this. You can make a start by keeping a close eye on your LinkedIn feed, and sharing content that you find genuinely interesting – and that aligns with your point of view.