Do you have an über professional LinkedIn profile or does your profile lack credibility?
LinkedIn is one of the most important social networking tools for business professionals. It is also a great way to get hired, find new talent and connect with like-minded souls in your industry.
LinkedIn was first launched back in 2002 and now has over 396 million users that access the platform from all around the world. These users access the platform in order to promote professional services, find jobs, network and establish themselves as an authority in their field.
The main demographic of those using the LinkedIn platform include:
- 56% using the platform are male
- 27 percent of users are aged 30-49 years
- 24 percent of users are aged 50-64 years
- LinkedIn has 100 million users over the age of 50
- 60% of LinkedIn users make over $75,000 per year
- 50% of those using LinkedIn are college graduates
- 20% of users are actively searching for services and jobs
- 41% of B2B marketers believe LinkedIn is the most important social network for their business
- 65% of B2B businesses have acquired a customer through LinkedIn
- Traffic from LinkedIn has the highest visitor to lead conversion rate
As you can see, establishing a presence on LinkedIn is a great way to grow your business to business (B2B) company, establish brand authority and build up your reputation as a working professional.
Not all LinkedIn profiles are created equal however, and there are some tips and tricks of the trade that can help your LinkedIn profile to stand out and be noticed by the right kind of people.
In fact, if you really want your LinkedIn profile to attract attention and paint the right image for your brand and services, then you have to ensure that your profile is optimised for success and is über professional.
The good news is that we are going to take you through the process step by step. Ready? Let’s go….
Your Profile Name
It should be impossible to mess this one up, but alas there are some profiles out there with names like “Sales Rockstar” and “Growth Wiz”. Skip the clever play on your job title and instead go for the plain and simple.
In this category you should include your full name (no nicknames) and surname. You may also want to include your middle name or middle initial if you feel it to be appropriate or if you have a common name.
Remember, the idea with this is that it sounds and looks professional.
This is a space for 120 characters about you and what you do. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional networking tool so avoid taking about your pet cat Fuzzies, and try to stick to key terms that make it easy for people to define who you are professionally.
Try to also include some attention grabbing buzz words such as, award-winning, expert, top, million/billion or even a big brand name. Be sure you also include your specific role in your industry and what you are known for.
“Award Winning Plastic Surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital who specialises in burn injuries”
“Growth Hacking Expert who has worked for top brands including Coca-Cola”
“Head of Marketing and Development for Rapidly Growing Startup, Chez Apps”
These examples stand out because they use key words like “expert” or “award winning” and help to instantly convey the role they play within their industry.
Just be cautious not to get too crazy with using buzz words as this can have the reverse effect and can make your profile look tacky.
LinkedIn offers users an auto-generated URL, however if you really want your profile to look professional it is important to customise your URL.
We recommend customising your URL to be your full name. This not only looks cleaner, but it also makes it easier for individuals or companies to find you.
Furthermore, it also helps to boost the SEO of your profile page and can be a cleaner look when adding your URL to business cards or resumes.
To change your URL, simply locate your unique URL in the light grey box below your name. Click on the edit button and then input your preferred text. We suggest you avoid dashes.
Your Profile Photo
Your profile photo is like your first impression and we all know how important first impressions are in the world of business.
When it comes to choosing the perfect profile picture, take a moment to think about who you are trying to appeal to and what the purpose of your LinkedIn profile will be. From there you can then determine whether your profile image should appeal to potential customers, future employers, peers or all of the above.
You may also want to consider hiring a professional photographer to take your headshot, especially if you are aiming to target prospective customers, employers or build the reputation of your brand. Even though this may seem like a costly option, it may be a worthwhile investment.
Here are some further notes for choosing your LinkedIn profile image:
- Look Personable: while you want the image to be professional, you also want to convey that you are warm and inviting.
- Use most of the frame: avoid having images that are far away and are not centered in the frame. A traditional headshot should include your head to your shoulders and have some space at the top of the image.
- Make Sure it Looks Like You: avoid wearing lots of make-up or accessories that you normally don’t wear. Make sure the image stays true to who you are and that you look recognisable in your image.
- Keep the Background neutral: backgrounds can be distracting, therefore it is important to keep it plain and simple.
- High resolution: always choose high resolution images in order to convey professionalism.
- No Group Photos: it may go without saying but LinkedIn is not the place to use a profile photo of you and your partner or you and your dog Fido. Keep the image strictly to your headshot.
For your reference, your profile image should be 400 x 40o and a maximum file size of 10MB. LinkedIn only accepts .jpg, .png and .gif files.
For the personal background image, users can upload a 1400x 425 size image that is under 4MB and is in the format of .jpg, .gif or .png.
Adding a professional photo on LinkedIn can result in 14 times more profile views, so take the time to ensure that your image reflects your business and who you truly are.
Your Background Summary
The summary section allows you to write a clear and to-the-point description about your professional history, your achievements and what you do. This section is limited to 200 characters, so it may be beneficial to identify 2-3 top points and then flesh them out from there.
This is not really the place to use buzz words or to get too creative. Instead you should really use this space to talk about your skills and talents and to back it up with examples that prove it.
For example, rather than stating “I am the best, most awesome salesperson of all time”, consider mentioning what makes you the best by highlighting achievements, company statistics, past metrics and more.
You may also want to include contact information in your summary such as your email address, business phone number or Twitter handle in order to make it easier for people to connect with you.
Adding media such as images or videos that support the claims made in your summary may also be beneficial. Screenshots, slideshares and articles you have been quoted in are also good additions.
Remember, the longer viewers interact with your profile the more likely they are to reach out and try to make a connection, so aim to keep your readers engaged.
Your Background Experience
In the same ‘Background’ section, LinkedIn asks for your experience and current position in a resume style format.
The platform gives you 100 characters for the heading and 200 characters for the description so try to keep your information scannable and straight to the point.
You may also want to add complimentary screenshots, articles or videos to support your resume and showcase your talents. This also includes adding any company logos to your resume so viewers can instantly identify your work experience.
List your current position first and then your previous positions underneath. Be precise when it comes to listing your job duties and titles, even if they were in the past.
Remember, 68 percent of LinkedIn members use the platform to reconnect with past business associates, so don’t be afraid to list all of your professional jobs, even if they do not seem relevant to what you do today.
Your Background Projects
This is where you can showcase the projects that you have worked on in order to demonstrate your skills and talents. Think of this section like your portfolio where you share your best and most successful projects.
Consider including past and current projects, as well as the results of those projects or how you overcame obstacles or challenges. It may also be beneficial to reinforce statements that you have made throughout your profile so far in order to further establish your credibility.
It may be worthwhile to note that 66 percent of companies will hire based on experience, so by really fleshing out your knowledge you can be sure to make a lasting impression.
You may also want to add links, videos images and screenshots in order to back up what you have written and to show credibility.
In this section you must include information about any degrees or qualifications you have obtained, even if they don’t necessarily relate to what you do today.
The reason for this is that by listing your education and your educational institute, it helps to provide more opportunities to connect, especially if those looking into your profile are alumni or have studied the same topics or subjects as you.
Education also generally looks impressive, especially if you have graduated from a top school, received your Masters or PhD or achieved high honours.
This section is more important for entry level job seekers but it is also important to fill out if you want to join certain networking groups on the LinkedIn platform such as Alumni Association groups.
Your Skills and Endorsements
Skills are a great way for users to quickly and easily get an understanding of what you do and what you are good at. They also help to define your professional role and where your true skill set really lies.
When it comes to choosing your skills, select the appropriate options that fit not only what you do, but also your personality and where you want to head professionally.
LinkedIn members that include skills on their profile receive an average of 13 times more views, so definitely do not leave this part out when completing your profile.
Your skills also help to attract those who can validate your skills and can give you endorsements or recommendations.
Endorsements are achieved when your connections can verify a particular skill. They are less specific than a recommendation, however they do signal advocacy and merit in regards to your listed skill.
Endorsements also help to rank your page higher in LinkedIn’s search results and help to build a successful interactions between your connections.
In order for your profile to appear über professional, you want to make at least 300 connections, however at the same time you want to keep this number under 3,000 or so. This is in order to establish your credibility and to make it seem like you are selective over who you wish to connect with.
Be strategic in making your connections, especially if you already have a few thousand connections and aim to reach out to coworkers, peers, past and present clients and customers. Avoid blindly reaching out to people who are not relevant to your job or industry, as this may come across as unprofessional.
You may also want to avoid connecting with VIP’s or executives that you don’t share a common connection with as this can also decrease your credibility.
If you are struggling to get connections, joining groups, connecting with others and messaging like-minded individuals on the platform can be a good way to start.
Recommendations add a lot of credibility to your profile as they support your work history and your experience. They also help to rank your profile at the top of the search results in LinkedIn.
Recommendations are written by other members that have worked with you or understand what your skills, talents and achievements are.
Recommendations are seen as a high quality, trust signal to your profile viewers and therefore they should be written with high standards in mind and preferably from influencers or those higher up in ranking than yourself.
Your recommendation should also highlight your skills and talents rather than just being a general positive review. For example-
“Julie was a pleasure to work with. Her smile made the office a much friendlier place to be.”
Even though this review is nice, it doesn’t really help to highlight any key skills or talents. Compare this recommendation with:
“Julie consistently performed and improved many developed and new process within the company and was an excellent team player.”
This review highlights more of Julie’s skills and talents and succinctly highlights exactly what he is getting “recommended” for.
In order to build up your recommendations, make a list of your most important or influential colleagues and connections and ask them to leave a recommendation. You can also do a trade with them if you feel it would be appropriate and beneficial to your profile.
Aim to collect around 5-10 recommendations as this looks the most professional and shows that you have a good number of people who can support and verify your skills. It may also be beneficial to get at least two specific recommendations for your top skills or job title.
Remember, LinkedIn will only display the two most recent recommendations received, so you may want to keep this in mind when approving your recommendations.
Sneaky Tip to getting more recommendations:
- Go to Privacy and Settings in the drop down menu or your profile and select “Manage”
- Under the Settings header on your profile tab select “Manage Your Recommendations”
- Then select “Ask for Recommendations”
- Select the past or present position that you want to be recommended for. Then select around 2 or 3 people to send your recommendation request to.
- Create your own recommendation request versus using the one supplied by LinkedIn as this will increase your response rate.
Joining groups is definitely recommended on LinkedIn as it helps to increase your networking potential and shows that you are an active member of the community.
Start by joining groups that are similar to your industry or field, but then don’t be shy to branch out into other groups that suit your personality or future career endeavours.
The more groups you join the more potential you have to connect with other LinkedIn members, however in order to establish professionalism, limit the number of groups you join to around ten or fifteen.
Remember, your profile is 5 times more likely to be viewed if you join groups and are an active member in them.
Your profile is now complete!
Even though it may seem like a tedious process, users with a completely finished profile are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn as compared to those who only have a half or even quarter finished profile.
Despite this statistic however, only 51 percent of LinkedIn users have a complete profile so definitely use this as an opportunity to finish yours and stand out from all the rest.
If you are still not convinced, LinkedIn’s search algorithm gives complete priority to profiles that are 100 percent complete followed by connections in common. This means that those with complete profiles will achieve the most visibility out of any other factor.
This should be reason alone to complete your LinkedIn profile, especially if you are serious about making connections and establishing your reputation within your industry.
LinkedIn Features That Can Enhance Your Profile
Now that your profile is 100 percent complete you can work on enhancing your profile by doing the following:
- Message someone you are not connected with in order to develop more connections (hint: the best way to reach out to people is through your groups)
- Download a list of your connections along with their company name, title and email in order to effectively manage your connections and to create a list of those who could potentially assist you in growing or further developing your business.
- Maintain LinkedIn relationship notes so you can always keep track of who you have met, birthdays and other networking information. This ensures that you will never get caught out or in a sticky situation.
- Create a showcase page: showcases are niche pages that branch off your main company page. They allow you to promote specific products or to market to a specific buyer. Include relevant web links, images and industry information on your showcase page. LinkedIn allows up to 10 free showcase pages.
- Promote your LinkedIn page on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter and even with your email list
- Use Publisher to feature or post articles directly to your LinkedIn account. This also helps your name to show up in the newsfeed of your followers.
- The best times to post on LinkedIn are Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7am and 9am in your local timezone.
- Endorse people you respect, you never know they may return the favour.
- Keep your LinkedIn profile secure by updating your privacy settings and ensuring that the wrong people are not seeing your broadcast, profile or search history.
LinkedIn is a fantastic professional networking and social media tool that can really pay off for your and your business.
Once you have established a profile on the site and have started to engage with others users, it really can help you to give your brand and business that professional boost you have been looking for.