What do potential customers and clients see when they go to your LinkedIn page? You know they’re looking there, right? If people are Googling your name, the first results they usually see are your LinkedIn profile.
Professionals who actively use LinkedIn use it to brand themselves, to successfully differentiate themselves from others with similar abilities and work histories. By creating a powerful LinkedIn profile, you will not only create a stronger brand for yourself, but you also help strengthen the brand of your organization.
What do you need in order to have a top notch profile?
You absolutely MUST have a head shot. Profiles without an image are rarely taken seriously. You should use a well-lit, head and shoulders shot of you looking responsible and professional. Don’t cheap out here and take a selfie. Find a professional photographer and get it done right.
Use your “business” name – what do your professional contacts know you by? If you are a married woman who goes by her maiden name, use it. If you are known by a nickname (Bill as opposed to William) use the nickname. Make it easy for people to find you.
Your headline usually defaults to your most recent job description. This is the section where you can actively brand yourself. Feel free to be more creative here. This will help when people are searching for you or your skills.
Own your profile name – LinkedIn gives you a generic web address for your profile. You can change it to be more specific. Try not to have numbers in your address, which will be a bit of a challenge if you have a common name.
Make sure your contact information is visible and complete. You can add the company website, your specific bio page on the company website, your Twitter feed, multiple phone numbers and email addresses.
The Summary may be the most important part of your profile. This is where you tell the world who you are and what you can do. In the sales word, this is called your “elevator pitch”. You have about 150-200 words to sell yourself. Make it interesting.
Your first sentence of your summary should state who you are and what you do in about 80 characters. That’s all that will show up when people see your summary on their cell phones. They will have to tap on your summary to see the whole thing.
Unless you are royalty or a multiple personality, do not write in the third person.
If you have an official bio on your website, DO NOT COPY AND PASTE IT INTO LINKEDIN! Google ranks unique content higher than repetitive content. If you simply copy and paste your bio from your website, both pages lose rank.
You can also add links and file uploads to your summary, so if you are particularly proud of an article you wrote or a presentation you made you can add it here.
The Experience section is pretty much your electronic resume. Where did you work and when, and what amazing things did you do there. Again, be descriptive. Don’t just say what you did, talk about how it made your organization better.
There is a Publication section where you can list your most recent articles. It’s recommended you don’t go overboard here – just list the latest four or five.
You can use the Projects sections to highlight workshops you’ve run, panels you’ve spoken on, presentations you’ve given, etc. You can add any of your contacts who worked on the project with you.
The Featured Skills & Endorsements section is important because you can pretty much list an endless number of skills and abilities here. Think search keywords – if someone was searching for an excellent corporate insurance lawyer, what words would they search on?
The Education section is pretty self-explanatory. If you graduated less than 5 years ago, feel free to add as much information as you want here (awards, clubs, grades, etc…). More than 5 years ago, let it go… no one cares. Also, unless you went to a high-end, nationally ranked prep school you may want to leave off your high school… again, no one cares.
Other profile sections – here you can add what awards you’ve won, what other languages you speak, what organizations you belong to, patents you’ve been awarded, volunteer work, etc… All of this sort of information rounds you out and makes you more relatable to potential clients.
These are just basic tips to get your LinkedIn profile started. Smith Douglass Associates can help you customize your profile to best suit your personal brand and your circumstances.
Job hunting? – we can customize your profile to better stand out to recruiters.
Are you a lawyer? – we can help you navigate your state’s bar rules on advertising.
Starting a new company? – we can help you not only get your personal profile up to speed, but we can also put together your LinkedIn Corporate Page.
Let us help tell your story to the world.