1. Must Do: Keep Your Profile Basics Updated!
Many people forget to keep their LinkedIn profiles updated. Whether you’re a total newbie, just starting a new job, or starting to explore new opportunities, there’s no excuse to have outdated information on LinkedIn. It will reflect badly on you.
Here are two quick and easy areas you must check are up to date:
- Professional Headline: The job of any headline is to entice people to click. At minimum, you can use your headline to highlight your current position and company (e.g., “Director of Inbound Marketing at ABCXYZ Corporation”), but you can and should go further. Highlight your expertise (e.g., “Content Marketing Strategist and Copywriter”) or awards, or showcase skills you want to turn up in searches (e.g., “Speaker, Trainer, Author, Consultant, Evangelist”). Tell everyone on LinkedIn who you are, what you do, and why you’re someone they need to connect with.
- Location and Industry: Are your location and industry still accurate? If not, fix them now!
Doing these two simple things will help more people find you and help you find more relevant potential contacts.
2. Only Use Professional Photos
LinkedIn profiles that have a picture are 11 times more likely to be viewed. So if you’re still showing a silhouette, it’s time to make a change and reveal yourself.
Your LinkedIn photo shouldn’t be from 20 years ago. It shouldn’t look like it belongs on a dating site, stock photo site, or social network (e.g., Facebook or Instagram). And don’t feature your pet or significant other. Just. No.
LinkedIn is for professionals. Be one.
3. Brand Your Profile With a Background Photo
Does your LinkedIn profile look boring and average?
Give your profile page a bit more personality, or branding, with a visually appealing background image.
LinkedIn advises users to use an image (PNG, JPG, or GIF) with a resolution of 1400×425.
4. Write a Ridiculously Good Summary
This is where you really sell yourself to potential connections. Your summary should expand on what appears in your headline, highlighting your specialties, career experience, noteworthy accolades, and thought leadership.
There has been much discussion about whether it’s best to write in first-person versus third-person narrative here. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter either way — just stay consistent with whichever you choose. Don’t go back and forth between first person and third person as it’s confusing and signals a lack of attention to detail.
In summary of LinkedIn summaries: keep your ego in check, focus on the most relevant details about your career, avoid meaningless jargon, and ensure it’s easy to read.
5. Terminate Those Typos
Poor grammar, typos, and misspellings are a no-no.
Avoid typos at all costs.
6. Use Keywords With Intent
Words are so incredibly important, especially when search is a big part of the equation. Using the right keywords in your profile is the difference between being found and being invisible.
Identify the words you want to be found for when people use LinkedIn search and use those keywords in your headline, summary, and profile. Using the right keywords will expose you to more potential connections and opportunities.
7. Neat Trick: Pick the “Other” Website Option
Under your Contact Info, LinkedIn gives you the option to link to a website or blog. But by default, the text that shows in your profile is the extremely dull “Blog” or “Website.” Anyone visiting your profile has no clue where they’ll end up if they click on that.
Want to use your actual brand or business name? You can! Here’s a simple little trick.
When editing the Websites area of your profile, select the “Other” option. Now you can add your own website title and URL.
8. Personalize Your LinkedIn Profile URL
When you created your LinkedIn profile, it had some ugly combination of letters, numbers, and backslashes that had no value for your personal branding. You don’t still have this, right?
If you do, it’s time to customize your public profile URL. For example, my customized URL is https://www.linkedin.com/in/larrykim. LinkedIn makes it simple to keep your profile consistent with your other social profiles.
9. Own Your Media
Visual content is only growing in importance.
Help your LinkedIn profile pop by adding documents, photos, videos, and presentations.
10. Add Shiny New Sections to Your Profile
LinkedIn lets you add several sections to give your profile more visual appeal and depth. You can add sections for posts, volunteering, languages, honors and awards, patents, causes you care about, and many more.
All of these sections open you up to more opportunities to make new connections.
11. Tidy Up Your Endorsements
People are going to endorse you for all sorts of skills — sometimes even skills you don’t actually have. But just because you’ve been endorsed for Fire Eating, Chewing Gum, or Showers (yes, these are all real “areas of expertise,” according to LinkedIn) doesn’t mean you have to show other LinkedIn users — unless, of course, fire eating plays a critical role in your professional life.
LinkedIn lets you remove any irrelevant skills and endorsements. You should avoid “lying” about your skill set, even if it is by omission.
12. Connect With People You Don’t Yet Know
One of the biggest mistakes people make on LinkedIn is failing to reach out to connect with people you want to know but don’t yet. That’s the whole point of networking — getting to know new people, not just established connections.
Building out your LinkedIn network has many benefits. You get in front of influencers. You get more endorsements. More people see your best content, share that content, and visit your website. And it’s great for personal branding.
Have you considered using LinkedIn more like Twitter? You should!
13. Personalize Invitations to Connect
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
The default message LinkedIn provides is so dreadfully boring and impersonal.
When you invite someone to connect, make it more personal — mention where you met or a topic you discussed in a LinkedIn group, over email, or during a phone interview. This personal touch will increase the odds they’ll accept your request.
Bonus Tip: Export Your LinkedIn Connections
One last helpful tip: Remember to occasionally download your connections. After you’ve gone to all the trouble of building an amazing network, you don’t want to risk losing their contact info!
To do this, click on Connections, then Settings (the gear icon), and on the next page, under Advanced Settings, you’ll see a link to export your LinkedIn connections as a .CSV file.
Now you have a file containing your contacts’ first and last names, email addresses, job titles, and companies.