• Karen

The do’s and don’ts of pimping your LinkedIn profile to all-star status

Soon, you’ll be enjoying the quiet of the summer slump. Yet while your industry will be taking it slow and colleagues are off island-hopping, you should be using your time to get your LinkedIn profile in ship shape.

Why? Because the days when LinkedIn was just an online version of your resume, are long gone.

The days when LinkedIn was just an online version of your resume, are long gone.

Today, the platform is the go-to source for any business contact, meaning you should make sure it tells the right story and puts all your skills out there, smack in the middle of the spotlight. At a glance, anyone looking at your profile should know who you are, how you can help them and where they can reach you.

If you’re anything like me, you automatically copy-paste names of new contacts and prospects into your LinkedIn search field. You’re not the only one. Here are some numbers for you.

If you’re a go-getter, why should you aim for anything less than an all-star status?

That’s what LinkedIn rewards you with if you take the time and effort to polish up your profile and fill in ALL the blanks.

And it pays off, too.

According to LinkedIn, “users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.”

Worth your time then, wouldn’t you agree?

First, find out whether your profile needs brushing up. Your social selling dashboard will tell you exactly where you’re acing and where you’re failing, comparing your social selling score (SSI) to your industry average.

See some room for improvement?

Good, then let’s get cracking. Follow the do’s and don’ts below, and you should see your score improve in a heartbeat.

Definitely do's:

Fill in the blanks

First up: fill out as much as you can on your profile page. Skills, previous jobs, even volunteer positions. Anything that helps paint a more layered picture of who you are. LinkedIn is all about connections, which is why it’s relevant to tell others which school you’ve attended, for instance.

The education section especially is a must: not filling out this part will cost you your all-star status. Plus, you won’t be found by people looking for fellow students who graduated at their university — which LinkedIn prompts members to search. You never know what (or whom) you might have in common with potential clients. Details like this make for perfect conversation starters.

“At a glance, anyone looking at your profile should know who you are, how you can help them and where they can reach you.”

Think of a great headline

When I google your name, your headline is the first thing I’ll read!

This means it needs to tell me what it is you do in 120 characters. Make them count.

Don’t just be an ‘entrepreneur’ or a ‘business strategist’, there are a million of those already. Instead, tell me what you can do for me and change ‘sales analyst’ into ‘I analyse your customer’s data to tell you exactly what it is they are looking to buy’. (But make sure to read the last point in this ‘don’t’ section, too.)

Get your phone number out there

‘Even my personal phone number?’ Yes. Phoners are faster, so make sure it’s super easy for anyone to find your details. Rest assured, though: the only people in your network who can see your contact details, are the first-degree ones. Which means you don’t have to worry about being spammed. Those who call are people who actually need you, or might offer something that’s of interest to you.

Get decent pictures

If your profile picture is a selfie taken on some mountain top, I’m very glad to see you’re in well enough shape to climb up there, yet it won’t make me want to work with you.

LinkedIn is pro environment, thus your avatar should be no less than professional. No need for fancy photo shoots — just ask your nephew with the fancy cam equipment to make you a straight-up portrait in business attire. Don’t forget to smile, though.

Best (Worst?) LinkedIn Profile Pictures Ever

As for the background picture, you should definitely be able to find some eye-candy here or here if your own photo album comes up short.

Make it about you

LinkedIn is about people, not products. So instead of trying to be an ad for the revolutionary hair curlers you sell, let your profile be an ad for yourself.

It should be about your experience (both past and current), your skills and your talent. As always, though: keep it professional and steer clear of cat videos. Plenty of that around already.

Go beyond the required fields

You’ve filled out all required fields? That’s great, but don’t expect applause just yet.

What makes the difference on LinkedIn — and, on a more philosophical note, in life — is that you show some love by sharing content.

Don’t worry about not having anything to say: where there’s passion, there’s always a story. Get out there and click that ‘write an article’ button to get into the details: wirte about your insights in your share of the market, share your expertise as well as your experience. In a word: make your knowledge available to others.

It is called ‘sharing is caring’ for a reason. This is the way to showcase your expertise and convince others of your being invested.

Write a summary and don’t summarise it

Okay, a ‘summary’ sounds like it could be a bunch of bullet points saying

  • Expert knowledge in <pick a field>

  • Trustworthy

  • Client-friendly

Sure. But then those are obvious points and lacking those, you might want to reconsider getting into business at all.

What people want to read is a succinct story, a few preferably well-written lines that capture the essence of you in a professional way. Anything that sets you apart.

Write down what it is you love about your job, what you believe in.

Without boasting, tell potential clients how you’re different from your competitors. But the most important is for you to show you understand your audience. Make it abundantly clear you are aware of their issues, and even more clear that you know just how to solve them. ‘What’s in it for them?’ is the question you want to be answering.

Definitely Don’ts:

Consider your work here is ‘done’

The internet is a volatile place, as is business. All the tips mentioned above and below might land you some nice contacts today, but may be out of date when the algorithm changes or some new policy upends the whole web. Which means you need to keep at it, posting when you have interesting news to share (and only then).

Likewise, your resume is not a dead thing. It’s up to you to keep it alive with new cases, jobs and experiences until your retirement has you sipping Mai Thai’s under a palm tree.

Talk about yourself in the third person

Really. It’s weird and impersonal. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished and don’t be afraid of selling yourself. After all, that’s what LinkedIn is for.

Be boring

Last but not least: never be dull. Yes, LinkedIn is a professional network and it’s all suits and ties. But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to be witty. If you want to stand out, don’t be afraid to use your sense of humour like these three. Brutal honesty also has a way of breaking through the daily avalanche of business updates, especially if it’s caught on video. Whatever you do, though, don’t go around publishing updates that are nothing but jargon gibberish. Put your heart and back into it.

Still stuck in the mud about how to up your ante on LinkedIn? Ask away, or let's talk about the workshops I host for teams wanting to get the most out of their profile so that they can use it to attract more prospects

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