How to make the most of your LinkedIn profile

Contributor - Luan Wise

A man in a shirt and tie holds a piece of paper with '?' on in front of his face

LinkedIn is the business-to-business social media platform for professionals. Luan Wise explains how to make sure your LinkedIn profile shows you in the best possible light

With more than 500 million users worldwide (and 20 million+ in the UK) it couldn't be more important to have a LinkedIn profile, and to ensure that profile works hard for you and your business.

LinkedIn is more than an online CV. It's about so much more than helping you to get your next job. It's a living document, there to help you do business - by making connections and keeping you in front of your network. A good profile supports credibility, and sharing good content can help you on your way to being a thought leader.

But it takes time to create a good profile. It can't just be a cut-and-paste from a CV. It needs crafting; and before you can craft you need to know what you're looking to achieve and who your profile needs to speak to. Set your objectives and that's the hardest bit done.

1. A good profile photo

It sounds obvious, but looking around LinkedIn you would be surprised at the number of people using a party picture, holiday picture, selfie or worse. LinkedIn is a professional platform, so get a professional photo. Eyes to camera (it's more engaging) and head and shoulders only. A profile photo can appear small, particularly on mobile, so make sure people can see who you are.

2. A strong headline

My number one action is for people to take a look at their headline and change it from the default job title/company name. Here's the opportunity to use 120 characters to get found and stand out. Use keywords and be descriptive; tell people what your organisation does; let people know how you can help them. I promise, this will help you get results from LinkedIn.

3. Tell your career story

Writing about yourself isn't easy, but the summary section is the best place to tell your career story and highlight your achievements. Don't just rely on a summary - you are missing the biggest trick.

Make it relevant to your objectives and of interest to your target audience, and don't forget to include a call to action to make it easy for people to contact you to find out more. About 200-300 words in easy-to-read paragraphs works well in the summary section.

Don't forget the desktop profile layout only displays the first two lines, so these need to work the hardest.

4. Describe your experiences

To get found, you need to use keywords throughout your profile - which means adding explanations to your job roles in the experience section. I recommend a standard format of two paragraphs for each role - the first explaining your roles and responsibilities, the second briefly describing your organisation.

5. Skills, endorsements and recommendations

In my opinion, skills are only on your profile as keywords to help people find you. People search for skills, so use this part of your profile for that specific purpose. Include 50 skills if you can.

I'm not a fan of the endorsements feature (I've actually switched it off on my profile), but I do ensure that I have 50 skills that are relevant to the services I offer.

Recommendations are far more powerful and add to your professional story. Speak to clients, colleagues, peers and partners and seek out some high quality recommendations for your profile.

6. Use projects

Many people miss out the opportunity to include additional information - from volunteering experience, honours and awards to publications and projects. These sections provide a great way to highlight specific areas of your work and to show which people you collaborate with.

Written by Luan Wise.

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