By now, it is safe to assume that you know what LinkedIn is, but the question remains if you are using it correctly. When was the last time you updated your profile or sent a personalized message to a connection? Are you actively using your profile to highlight how you can add value to your network? Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn gurus tend to dress nicely and instead of posting photos of their pets, engage in conversations relevant to their profession. Whether you’ve been on the site for a while, or you’re just starting out, here are several ways you can ensure to leave a positive impression and improve your profile now.
1. Include a professional photo
First impressions are everything. According to LinkedIn research, 35% of individuals aged 18-34 say they make an initial impression based on someone’s profile picture. Be sure to select a photo that is high quality and up-to-date. Yes, that means your college headshot from eight years ago doesn’t exactly make the cut. Blurred images, selfies, and vacation photos should be left to Facebook. Remember, this is a professional platform, so your photo is not something to skimp on. It’s worth the extra effort to make your pretty mug look good, even if that means getting it done professionally.
2. Invest time in completing your profile
Your profile set-up is not a process to rush through. Take the time to provide well-written, detailed content in each section, including your summary, work history, education, volunteer experience, and contact info. Don’t forfeit an opportunity because someone cannot find your e-mail address! Remember, your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to showcase your expertise, so don’t leave out any important information.
Challenge yourself to get creative with this writing process. Be authentic and engage your connections by providing value-driven responses in each section. Don’t simply explain what you did/do, but explain how you specifically added value to the organization through your various responsibilities. Anywhere you can add quantifiable facts is great! Demonstrate why people should want to work with you. Talk about your passion for the industry you work in and how you solved specific and measurable problems. You could even share a story of how you helped a client in need of your services. (Remember, this is not a place for you to write your life story… share the Cliff Notes version.)
Completing your profile has SEO benefits as well. Similar to a website, the more quality keywords you include on your profile page, the easier it is for someone to find you.
Having trouble finding the right words? If you’re feeling stuck, try to remember the 4 important elements of writing quality content.
3. Publish original content
Do you have a blog or a video series? Share this with your LinkedIn community by publishing your work to your page! Sharing this content will benefit you in several ways:
- Showcase your work
- Drive traffic to your website
- Start discussions with other professionals
I encourage you to seek feedback from others on your published work. Not only does it generate discussion, but it shows your connections that you value their opinion. This isn’t necessarily ground to critique your work, but more or less an opportunity to further discuss the topic at hand. For example, when I publish this blog to my personal LinkedIn page, I may ask my followers, “Is there anything I missed? What major dos and don’ts would YOU include?”
This is also an area where I would encourage you to be consistent. Don’t publish work every once in a blue moon, but aim to publish content weekly. Establish yourself as a dependable source for your followers. They will appreciate this consistency and begin to look forward to your next publication.
4. Get involved
LinkedIn is one site where you can’t afford to be stagnant. Join groups with similar industry interests, interact with others by commenting on and liking their posts, endorse skills, and write reviews. Making the effort to engage with others encourages them to engage with you. While it’s important to give without the expectation of receiving, don’t be surprised if your extra effort earns you an endorsement or two.
A few final mistakes to avoid
- Spelling and grammar are extremely important on this site. Don’t be lazy, edit everything you publish to your profile.
- Don’t use company descriptions in your profile. This is supposed to be about you, not the companies you have worked for.
- Don’t add anybody and everybody to your network. You should know your connections.
- Personalize the connection invites you send. Explain why you are looking to connect or remind them of how you met.
- Don’t be selfish with your recommendations – provide other people with valuable recommendations and don’t be afraid to ask for the favor in return. If you make the first move, many people will return the favor!
- Don’t miss out on growing your network. When you meet someone at a networking event, be sure to follow up on LinkedIn! Be prompt and make the connection within a few days of meeting.
So what are your thoughts? Were there any major points that we neglected to include? Leave your suggestions in the comments below or get in touch with us!