LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with professionals. Since there are so many social platforms these days, people get lazy with creating new profiles. We created this post to give you a basic guideline to optimize your LinkedIn profile for success. As you go through this post you will notice two themes that standout: Target Audience and Keyword optimized. With that in mind it is important to think about who your target audience is upfront and which keywords they’ll use to find somebody with your skills.
Stand out With A Great LinkedIn Profile Summary Card
This is the section with your profile picture, professional headline, and a snapshot of your work experience. For many these are the basics, but we see many LinkedIn profiles that aren’t making the most of their “LinkedIn Profile Summary Card” to standout and create a great first impression.
There are four main sections that, if used correctly, can make your profile pop. We’ll go into detail below:
- Professional Picture – If you still don’t have a picture on your LinkedIn profile, it is time to get one up! Before you put up that picture of you in a group photo, let’s remember that this is a professional network. Get a professional head shot done and preferably one with you smiling.
- Create A Unique Headline – Using job titles as a profile headline is rampant on LinkedIn. Does that mean that is the best way to use your headline? The headline allows for a maximum of 120 characters. Use your headline to be unique and make a great first impression. Every part of your profile should be optimized for keywords and your headline is no exception. Take some time to really think how you can best create an intriguing headline that is keyword dense.
Here are two ways to go about creating a unique LinkedIn headline:
- Think about networking in general. When somebody asks you, “What do you do?”; What do you say? Hopefully you aren’t telling them your job title because that quickly ends the conversation. When you answer this question, it should be a conversation starter and your LinkedIn headline should be the same!
- Think about your target audience. How can you tell what you do in a compelling way? Are you a Web Developer at X Company or are you “Creating Websites that Attract Customers, Close Sales, and is Accessible on Any Device”?
If you want to get even fancier, you can add bullets, check marks, stars and more to your profile here!
- Contact Info – Add all relevant contact information. Make it easy for your connections to get in touch with you. At a minimum add your email and personalize your LinkedIn URL. If you have a personal website, add it to your profile! Don’t like the preset options? Choose “Other:” and it allows you to customize the visible text for you website.
Add Personality To Your Summary
Many people skip the summary and just list their work experience. The summary section allows for you to use 2000 characters to answer the questions “Why you?” Of course you don’t have to use the whole 2000 characters, but the point is that you have a lot of space to work with to give a compelling reason why you are different and why you are better qualified for a position than other candidates.
Going with the overall theme of this post, think about your target audience and make your summary keyword rich. Don’t just think about your target audience, but write as if you were speaking to them. What would they want to know about you? What minimum requirements will they be looking for? These are just some of the questions that should be answered.
Should you profile be written in first or third person? Many people recommend writing in the first person and that makes sense because LinkedIn is still a social networking site. Social networking is about connecting people. However, we aren’t partial to whether a profile is written in the first or third person. The important thing is that you stay consistent. Don’t switch from third person, to first person, and back again. Be consistent!
Our last recommendation for your summary is to include your contact info. While this may seem redundant, people who aren’t connected to you cannot see your contact info in the “LinkedIn Profile Card” section. Including your main contact information on you profiles gives people who aren’t in your network an opportunity to reach out to you. Obviously if you don’t want your contact info available to people who aren’t connected to you, than don’t do this last step!
Add Color To Your Profile With Multi-Media
LinkedIn allows you to add all kinds of content that can really add color to your LinkedIn profile. You can add presentations, videos, projects, and your Slide Share posts! Most people recommend adding a video to their profile to help them stand out. Knowing that most people won’t heed this advice, we recommend adding projects and presentations to your profile. Adding projects gives more context than simply listing what you did at your last job. Add Projects and Images to showcase your work portfolio. If you have done a presentation that is visually appealing you should add it to your profile as well.
Be Found With A Keyword Optimized Experience Section
Let’s start with some technical specifications:
- Title – 100 characters
- Body – 2000 characters
You already know what’s coming. Before we write anything, we need to think about our target audience and which keywords we want to focus on. What skills did we use at our last job and what was the result? 2000 skills is a lot of space to elaborate on what we did, but let’s keep in mind our target audience. Do hiring manager/ recruiters have the time to read every single detail on your profile? Definitely, not. These are the same people who scan through a resume in 6 seconds. What this should tell you is to make your profile as scan-able as possible. Use different characters to create hierarchy, but don’t get too crazy with it.
Increase Profile Views By Being An Active LinkedIn User
You can’t just create a profile and expect to be found. You should actively use your LinkedIn profile. You should try to share 1-2 updates per day, but restrict yourself to no more than four posts per day. Share industry trends, evergreen topics like leadership/ productivity, and content that is beneficial to others in your industry.
LinkedIn allows you to join 50 groups and you should take advantage of that. LinkedIn says that group participants receive 4x the number of profile views! Some people will tell you to join 50 groups, but it doesn’t seem reasonable to participate in 50 groups. Pick 2-3 groups you will be very active in, 10 groups you will be somewhat active in, and a couple that you might check on occasion. There are a lot of groups on LinkedIn so feel free to test groups out and leave if it doesn’t fit you needs. Try to finds groups that are more heavily moderated because they work to reduce spam which makes it easier to have a more meaningful conversation.
For most people, you will be asking people to connect with you more than people will be asking you to connect. So, here are a few tips when reaching out to connect with people on LinkedIn. Don’t use the default connection request. If you met them recently mention 1) how you met, 2) why you want to connect, and 3) obviously the request to connect. If you have never met them in person mention 1) how you heard about them and follow steps 2 and 3 from the previous option.
We have provided all of the basics to creating a great LinkedIn profile that is optimized for success. Now you have to put in the effort to make your profile great. If you are struggling on your job search we would love to help you! You can contact one of our staff here.