Looking for a job? Want to expand your network of professional contacts? You need a LinkedIn profile for that! If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one immediately. With the right approach and content, you can use this social network as a powerful tool to help you achieve your professional goals. Here, we consider how to make your LinkedIn profile as effective as possible.
Creating Your Best Profile
People find each other on LinkedIn in different ways. Some people sort professionals by industry, skills, companies, certificates, etc. Sometimes people meet you at a conference, or they study at your university. Whatever draws a person to your page, the goal of your profile is to highlight your achievements, experience, skills, and knowledge.
A LinkedIn profile should present you in a favorable light. Ideally, your page will help you achieve your goals: quickly find a job, effectively expand your network, and connect with the right people.
From uploading an appropriate photo to writing a compelling biography, this article includes everything you need to know. Let’s get started!
13 Steps to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile
Step 1. Upload the Right Photo for Your Profile
What makes a good profile picture? Remember that LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, which means you should look professional. Many photos you might post on Facebook or Instagram are not appropriate here. Your photo should be of only you (no other people, animals, or distracting objects), and it should be well-lit. You should look professional and friendly (dressed in work-appropriate clothes and smiling), and your face should occupy at least 50% of the total area. Do not use a photo of yourself at a club, bar, or anywhere you would be drinking. In addition to presenting you as a professional, this photo helps people identify you if they met you at a conference or happy hour but don’t remember your name.
It is also important to set an appropriate background image. Since this picture is eye-catching, it is ideal for self-promotion. Consider posting an image that indicates your professional skills, such as a photo of your work if you’re a designer or a work-appropriate photo in the gym if you’re a fitness trainer.
Step 2. Think of a Strong Headline
After your photos, the title of your profile is the most eye-catching. Think carefully about the message you want to send. This area is often used for job titles, but there are other ways you can use this space. For example, you can highlight details about your work or achievements, such as: “Quick, experienced, and inexpensive — the best copywriter you can find.”
Step 3. Tell Your Story
Each person has a unique story. You have something to say, and with LinkedIn, you control the narrative. Many people use the “about” section to list their previous jobs and valuable professional skills. But there are other places on the platform for that. Here, it is better to share some of what you are like as a person. Describe who you are, how you came to this position, what you appreciate, and how you see your future development. When writing this section, avoid jargon and buzzwords — they don’t look professional. Instead, clearly and specifically describe your professional achievements.
Step 4. Focus on Your Skills
Any visitor that comes to your page looks at your skills, making this section one of the most effective parts of your profile. LinkedIn’s built-in tools allow anyone to easily sort professionals and search for the right person by skills and experience. But it is important not to overdo it. You might have 125 different skills, but which ones are you really good at? What sets you apart from similar professionals? If you only vaguely understand a specific technology, it’s best not to list it. Mention only the skills that you regularly use with confidence.
While hard skills certainly indicate your professional value, many people forget to mention their soft skills. And they are no less important for effective work in any position. The ability to plan, basic communication skills, self-organization, and the ability to analyze and think critically are just as important to your success as knowledge of some particular technology. Therefore, remember to add some of your soft skills to your profile.
Step 5. Share Content — Your Profile Should Be Active
Don’t just create your profile and forget about it! For your profile to be visible, you must be an active user, so share your thoughts in the form of posts and articles. No doubt you are a first-class specialist in your industry and have something to share about your experience, life hacks, interesting and unusual cases, or vision of future development. If something is interesting to you, it will probably interest your colleagues as well.
LinkedIn is not Twitter or Instagram, but the visibility of your profile directly depends on how active and interesting it is for members of your community. You can post new content you created or the work of industry leaders that you find interesting. Just be sure to post regularly, especially while building your network or job-hunting.
Step 6. Keep Your Data Up to Date
As we have already said, you can’t just make a LinkedIn profile, fill it in once, and expect it to bring results without any additional effort on your part. Your profile should be as alive as you are. Update your profile when you change jobs, complete courses, obtain certificates, or transition from a junior to a middle or senior position. Just like your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account, your LinkedIn profile must be updated regularly to keep it relevant. Visit your profile at least once a week for 20 to 30 minutes to review your notifications — perhaps a potential employer, new partner, client, or old acquaintance wants to contact you. Leave comments on the posts of other people in your network, and answer questions or requests from other community members.
Also, remember to update your contact information if you change your phone number, move, or change your email address. People need to know where you are located and how to contact you. When HR teams want candidates for a new position, location is an important search parameter. Contacts that are not updated can mean lost opportunities, while relevant contacts increase your chances of success.
Step 7. Expand Your Network
It’s good practice to sync your LinkedIn contacts with the contact list from your work email. If you use this option, LinkedIn will suggest colleagues that you can connect with on LinkedIn. The larger your network, and the more relevant it is to your professional area, the more visible you will be on LinkedIn. You will also be visible to the right people, like potential employers, clients, and partners. If you have a large network of contacts, it improves your chances of getting noticed by the right people. Don’t ignore this opportunity!
Step 8. Ask Your Friends and Colleagues for Recommendations
After you list skills on your profile, ask for proof of these skills from other users — mostly your colleagues. Such recommendations will take your profile to the next level and make your page more personalized. Ask your colleagues to write about your work together on a completed project or about your skills. Be prepared to leave them a recommendation in return!
Step 9. Show Interest in Others
Subscribe to people and companies that interest you, even if they are not directly related to your professional activities. Regularly review articles and posts, and leave comments. In general, LinkedIn is much more willing to promote active profiles.
Step 10. Tell Everyone About Your Services
If you’re a freelancer, regardless of industry, be sure to share the services you offer, how you stand out from your competitors, and interesting certificates or projects. LinkedIn is a network of professionals, which makes it a great place for self-promotion. Your potential customers should understand that you’re an interesting, experienced, and talented specialist who can bring many benefits if they order the right service from you.
Step 11. Use a Friendly Tone
Write simply and clearly — the most appropriate tone is as you speak to your colleague. Avoid too many official messages, be clear and precise, demonstrate your competence, and keep it positive. Your goal is to show others that you’re professional, interested in your work, have something to say, and are ready to share. Hitting the right tone makes you sound legitimate and open to new contacts.
Step 12. Connect Other Professional Accounts
Do you have your own website, pages on other social networks, or profiles on other professional platforms or freelance exchanges? On LinkedIn, you can easily connect your other accounts to your profile. Just write a short description, and attach the link to your personal website, company website, portfolio, or RSS feed.
Step 13. Use Keywords
Like with search engines, keywords matter for ranking results on LinkedIn. You should use profession-specific keywords to increase the recognition of your profile. For instance, if you’re in marketing, your profile should feature the keyword “marketing” and related terms such as “B2B marketer,” “creation of corporate brands,” etc. As a professional, you probably know what interests your customers and what they might type in the search box. However, if you have a hard time thinking of words, you can use the keyword search service Google Adwords.
Using more terms on your page, and using each term several times, increases the chances that recruiters will find your profile while searching. Well-chosen keywords can bring you new career opportunities.
While everything we described will be useful, feel free to choose what works best for you. Feel free to be a little creative as long as you keep it professional. Since actively promoting yourself will achieve the best result, find ways to engage that will keep you interested in the platform.
If you don’t have your own website, and many professionals don’t, a LinkedIn page can be the foundation of your personal brand. The tips in this article will help you build a flattering LinkedIn profile for free, which can open limitless possibilities for career growth and lead to substantial salary gains.
According to official statistics, a little over half of LinkedIn users have 100% completed their profiles, which means that a little time and effort can give you an advantage over at least half of your competitors. While there is no such thing as a perfect LinkedIn account, using this platform correctly can make it a powerful tool for achieving your goals.