Why do you need a LinkedIn profile anyway?
So, you build a sweet website to show off your business and then you need create a cool LinkedIn profile to show off YOU, the Business Owner - the person who started that little gem and now works their butt off for it.
Network - LinkedIn has millions of people waiting to do business. These are people who would hire you, collaborate with you, recommend you and share their knowledge with you. And vice versa.
About you - you can write loads more on your profile than you ever could on your CV, so you get to prove how good you are. You can include: projects, test results, courses, case studies, presentations, videos, documentation, spreadsheets, images, patents, testimonials and endorsements. I know, right??
Marketing Media - pop your profile link in your email signature and on your website. You can even download and save it as a PDF to send to potential clients.
Business - find your ideal client (if this is where they lurk) or join groups for businesses within your industry, where you can collaborate and share information, knowledge, advice and give support.
Get Found - LinkedIn's SEO is spot on, so when people Google your name, your profile appears at the top of the list (and when you own your own business, people will Google you).
Wow. I mean .. why wouldn't you have one? So, now let's walk through your profile, step by step ...
WHAT DOES A GREAT PROFILE LOOK LIKE?
Well, firstly ..
Turn off your updates
Before you even start to create or improve your profile, change your Settings, otherwise your connections will get a notification every time you press save on an update - here’s where you can turn it off.
Make it relevant
Write as if you are talking to your ideal client and tell them who you are, what you do and that you're good at it. Also, let them know how you will add value to their business needs, by referring to similar clients and successes.
Complete ALL of your profile
Empty sections say you can't be bothered. Remember this a professional network, so put the initial effort in to make a great impression. You can hide your profile in the Settings until you’ve completed it in full.
PROFILE PIC – make sure you don’t look like an idiot
If you don't have a current / professional head shot of yourself, get one! The aim is to get a head and shoulder shot that makes you look approachable. Selfies are perfectly acceptable and cheaper / easier than a photographer.
How to take a good head shot at home (by yourself):
Use a plain background (preferably light in colour)
Natural and neutral lighting (not too dark or bright to reduce shadows and glare)
Make yourself presentable and give a friendly smile
And you're done.
TIP: no groups shots, bog shots, cropped shots, filters, 'on a night out', one from 10 years ago or distance shots.
HEADLINE – write a catchy headline
Change your headline to something interesting because (apart from your friendly photo) it gives your profile a bit of personality. This appears next to your name, so it should sum up what you do . You can mix it up as often as you like and there are a few ways to write it, for example, mine could be:
Keywords - Social Media Guru | Funky Web Designer | Customer Service Expert | Organised Headcase
Tagline - An expert in Admin and time-saver to small businesses
Description - providing admin support to small businesses, saving them time and making them money
CONTACT INFO - up to date and relevant
Make sure people know how to get in touch with you: give your email, contact number and business address, if applicable. And if someone clicks on your website or social links, do they work and go to the relevant account?
TIP: don't include social media accounts or blog links that you haven't used in ages, it wont do you any favours.
BACKGROUND IMAGE – look slick and market your business
Upload a background image advertising your company - you can create one in the free graphic design tool, Canva
About you – chuck some personality at your profile
This is probably the hardest part of your profile to write but so important to have because it's personal to you. The good news is LinkedIn offers great advice on the subject (and I can't really top LinkedIn's advice on how to write your profile!), so, here goes:
"We get it. Writing your LinkedIn profile summary isn’t at the top of your to-do list. You’re not sure what to write. It’s not worth your time. Your profile is complete enough. [Insert your own excuse here.] Your summary is the one place you define yourself in your own words, free of start dates and titles. Whether you use it to put career choices in context, highlight your biggest achievements, or show off your personality, the summary is your chance to put your best self out there. It strengthens your first impression in a way no other profile section can. People want to know the person who they are working with. They can look at your stats and timeline of experience but this is the bit where you engage with the reader as if you were in the room."
Here are 10 LinkedIn Profile Summaries that LinkedIn themselves love.
Feature - your best work on display
This is a new area on LinkedIn, where you can showcase your best work samples as evidence of your skills and experience - so good, I know! Maximise your profile by adding any of the following:
Posts and Articles - your favourite posts and articles that you have published on LinkedIn
Links - show links to your best blog posts and websites or website content you have written
Media - everything else! Upload photos, documents, spreadsheets, case studies, presentations, videos ..
If you're anything like me, once you get going you'll want to put everything on here. Learn how to use the Featured Section on Your Profile.
Experience – give details
It's time to make your previous jobs work for you. Write the specifics of what you actually did for these businesses and highlight your achievements.
How to complete each job role:
1. Fill in the Title, Company and Dates (easy! Next .. )
2. Fill in the Description keeping these categories in mind:
Company: Give a brief intro to the company and what they do
My role: list all of the tasks you carried out within that role,
My skills: list all of the key skills needed for you to do the job
Achievements: list any promotions, extra responsibilities or projects, etc, that you did for the company
Referral: and if you have a shining reference from them, pop this at the bottom
Skills - make them relevant
Select relevant skills you want to be known for now by clicking 'Add new skill'. Delete any random ones. You can even highlight your top 3 skills by clicking on the little pencil icon and 'pin' your 3 faves.
Endorsements - gain credibility
People that you are connected to can 'endorse' the skills you have listed. This gives you credibility because it demonstrates that other people also know you are good a what you do.
Recommendations - be trustworthy
Ask your connections to give a recommendation (testimonial), showing other people's opinion of you, in their own words.
TIP: it’s better for a testimonial to refer to your skills (efficient, reliable, cost-effective, etc) rather than saying you were friendly or nice to work with. So, perhaps mention this to your connection, when you ask for one.
Spread the Love - be a team player
Don't forget to write recommendations for those you know and endorse their skills too. LinkedIn is a relationship builder, so take a genuine interest in your connections and support them too.
Your accomplishments - as if your profile couldn't get any better!
Now you can list everything else that you've achieved in your career / life:
Publications - list your published work you've written
Patents you own - showcase your innovation and expertise
Courses you've taken - add courses taken to show your skills
Projects and case studies - add compelling projects to demonstrate experience
Honors & Awards you've received - feature the recognition you have received
Test scores to impress - list exams you have excelled in
Languages you know - show you can work internationally
Organisations you belong too - show your involvement with communities
MORE USEFUL TIPS
Hide your competition
When someone views your profile, other people with the same job description as you (your competition!) will appear in the side bar. You don't want that because you want people to contact you, not someone else. Here's how you change it:
Go to Settings & Privacy within your profile
Click ‘How others see your profile and network information’
Click on the ‘Viewers of this profile also viewed’
Change it to 'No'
Build your network and find connections. These categories will give you a good starting point:
Old work colleagues / employers
Friends and family (why not??)
Suppliers and distributors
People you know from a networking *group (online or actual meet ups)
TIP: Personalise connection requests - only takes a second and is more professional.
Check out other people's profiles - preferably people within your industry. See what they write and how they write it, who are they engaging with and what are they writing.
Staring at a blank or unfinished LinkedIn profile - this is daunting to look at but start from the top (the easy bits) and get your momentum going. Remember, it's a work in progress, just like your career.
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