Let’s face it. It’s likely you haven’t touched your LinkedIn profile in a while. After all, with all the time you’re putting into your other social media pages, perhaps the only occasion you’ve given your Linkedin page any thought is when you’re out job hunting.
That may have been the case at some point. Today, however, LinkedIn is an extremely valuable tool for anyone who wishes to market themselves.
Throughout the years LinkedIn has established itself as the social network of choice for professionals, and as a powerful yet easy-to-use tool for networking, lead generation, and building relationships with others within your space or industry.
Without a doubt, you will want your LinkedIn page to not just be visually appealing, but also current and updated so those checking you out online can have a better idea of what you’re all about.
That said, here are eight items you can work on right now to get the LinkedIn profile you truly deserve:
1. Pick Out an Awesome Headshot
Ditch that pic of you partying around in the Bahamas for now. It might be loads of fun, for sure, but on LinkedIn, you’ll want a photo of yourself that says you mean business.
Corporate professional headshots are always a good way to go. You can be just a little bit creative to showcase your personality, but remember that ultimately, it’s all about making the right first impression. This is especially the case if you’re trying to get the attention of employers, clients, and other folks within your space.
2. Write Up a Killer Headline
There’s a little bit of real estate that’s somehow underutilized, and that’s your headline. The headline is the first line of text that shows up right below your name on your LinkedIn profile.
By default, this space is filled with your current position. But you have 120 characters to play around with, so feel free to use this space to showcase your specializations or relevant accomplishments, sort of like a little ad for what you’re great at.
3. Put Together an Awesome Summary
In the same manner that your headline is used to promote yourself, your summary allows you to expand on that thought a little further. This time, you have 2000 characters to work with; good for several sentences or a couple of paragraphs.
Sprinkle in those keywords so that your profile appears when prospective employers run a search for someone with your skill sets. You don’t have to talk about your work experience as much, but rather, talk about what you bring to the table should someone ask you to a be part of their team.
You don’t have to use up all 2000 characters; as long as you paint a picture of who you are as a professional, then you’ve accomplished your mission.
4. Highlight your Accomplishments
One of the biggest missed opportunities when it comes to a LinkedIn profile is that many users choose to just cut and paste whatever’s on their resume onto their page.
As you line up your previous jobs and keep things current, use bullet points to highlight key accomplishments in each position. Remember, it’s not about what kind of work you’ve done, it’s about what sort of results you delivered while you were there.
The idea here is to use your work experience as a way to back up your claims. To prove that you actually have the background and skills that have led to the kind of professional you are today.
5. Change Your Cover Photo
While we’re at it, let’s go add a cover photo for your LinkedIn page. Twitter has it, Facebook has it, so use this space for your LinkedIn profile to add a little more personality.
The recommended size for a LinkedIn cover photo (in 2019) is 1584 x 396 pixels. This ensures your photo doesn’t get needlessly cropped or stretched.
6. Claim Your URL
By default, your LinkedIn URL will have your name and a string of numbers following it. Go right ahead and come up with something memorable or more useful.
Towards the right side of your profile, you’ll find the option to edit your public URL. This way, you can have a URL that’s not only more concise and a lot cleaner, but also a lot more search-friendly if someone’s looking for you online.
7. Make Those Connections
LinkedIn considers connections as a big deal. It not only shows that you’re a real person, but it also helps establish your space, your industry, and the communities (both real-world and online) that you’re a part of.
It’s always best to connect with people you’ve had first-hand interactions with: colleagues, old classmates, clients, as well as other folks you might have worked with or met in a professional capacity.
Remember that you’ll need to keep growing your connections as well. The more connections you have, the more visible your profile is to others.
8. Ask For Recommendations
Another big deal for LinkedIn: recommendations. Recommendations are key to making your LinkedIn profile stand out. Consider it as a form of professional validation. After all, employers and clients would want to know that others have approved of your work.
Again, think of those you’ve had a good working relationship with, or maybe folks you’ve helped recently.
Head on over to your profile, and scroll down to the Recommendations section. Click the link that says “Ask for Recommendations”, then choose a skill you’d like to be recommended for and choose a list of people from your connections. Send that request out and wait for those recommendations to come rolling in.
Remember, when your connections ask you for recommendations, be nice and help them out!
Bonus: An Active LinkedIn Page Really Helps You Stand Out
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is a social network. Which means you need to be active (well within reason) to really help you stand out.
Have a look at what others are posting and engage them with comments that add value to the conversation. Share stories and videos you’ve found online that you believe to be inspiring, helpful, or otherwise relevant to you and your industry. Lastly, keep things current by sharing your latest projects or worthy accomplishments.
Go ahead and join other professional groups already out there, and feel free to share your experiences or your expertise. It’s a great way to connect with other professionals within your space, and even learn something new.
A Final Word About Building Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is more than just a tool for finding new gainful employment, it’s a marketing tool that can be used to build a brand. And that brand is you.
Go ahead and use LinkedIn to showcase a portfolio of your recent projects and accomplishments, or as a platform to share your expertise on a particular subject matter. Genuinely helpful and relevant pieces– especially those that you’ve written or otherwise created yourself– are of tremendous value to other professionals within your industry.
Remember that as far as LinkedIn goes, it values connections and recommendations. So from time to time, make sure you do some reaching out to slowly (but steadily) build your own professional network. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from your connections, and remember to help them out as well when they ask you for one.
Lastly, take the time to be a bit more active on LinkedIn. Especially as you now have an updated LinkedIn page, it’s the best time to start getting noticed by potential employers or new clients.