It’s no secret that LinkedIn is the number one networking site for professionals. With over 500 million profiles, it’s the perfect place to expand your network, find a new job, source talent and seek new clients and customers.
I’ve spent a lot of time helping my clients build a strong LinkedIn Profile which aligns with their business, values and personal brand. A stand-out profile encapsulates who you are as a person, a professional and what skills you offer. It’s what’s going to keep you affront of others minds and encourage other professionals to connect with you.
Whether you own a business, freelancing, an employee or CEO, your LinkedIn profile is one of the first places other professionals will go to learn more about you.
Want to know how to create a stand-out LinkedIn profile… read on.
1. Create a strong headline
Your headline appears under your name and is 120 characters long.
There are two ways you can write your headline. The first is to include a list of keywords (separated by commas) relating to your job title or expertise, or a captivating tagline that speaks to your target audience and showcases what you do. Either one can work.
At the moment, I have my headline as the below:
This seems to work well as I still have the main keywords in my tagline but I know other professionals which prefer to include multiple keywords in their own headline.
Your headline plays an important role and will help the reader determine whether they want to read on or not. It’s always worth adding a little more than your job title to help you stand out from others with similar titles.
If you don’t include a headline, LinkedIn will automatically generate one for you — though it won’t be nearly as exciting.
2. Include a professional headshot
The saying “never judge a book by its cover” may ring true in certain cases, however when it comes to your professional image it isn’t entirely plausible. Reality is first impressions last and the first thing people are going to see when they scroll through their newsfeed or visit your profile is your photo.
What makes a good headshot?
A good LinkedIn headshot is…
- Not a selfie.
- Taken from the chest up. Ensure your face occupies 60% of the photo.
- Shows you looking directly at the camera. A smile is inviting and welcoming.
- Showcases your personality. Your headshot should make people want to get to know you.
- Up-to-date. Make sure your photo was taken in the last few years.
- Has good lighting.
- 400 x 400 pixels
If you’re unable to hire a professional, all you’ll need is a good friend, white wall or simple backdrop, smartphone or camera, tripod and 2 free hours.
Having a professional headshot is what’s going to help you stand out from the rest and demonstrates that you take your image and work seriously. When you portray a professional image, job prospects, clients, collaborators and investors who don’t know you personally will be more likely to connect with you.
3. Use a branded or captivating background image
One of the most overlooked features on LinkedIn is the background image behind your headshot. As well as your profile picture, this is one of the first images people will see when visiting your profile.
Whether you want to include a photo of you trekking Mt Kilimanjaro to showcase your resilient and adventurous personality, a quote which sums up your philosophy on life or a branded image which displays your business logo, your background image is a prime piece of real estate which should be utilised.
Note: If you don’t upload your own image, LinkedIn will automatically use it’s blue generic background graphic. The recommended resolution is 1400 x 425 pixels.
4. Write a great profile summary
Want to make an even better first impression on LinkedIn… write a killer summary.
Your summary is a text box found on top of your LinkedIn profile, just underneath your photo, and includes up to 2,000 characters. Along with your headshot and background image, it’s one of the first things people see when visiting your profile without having to scroll down any further.
Your summary provides a holistic overview of who you are, what makes you unique, professional goals and aspirations and is your chance to say “hello”. It should be authentic and be able to connect with whoever is reading it. It can also improve your search ranking on Google and LinkedIn by including keywords that highlight your top skills.
Whether you use it to describe your professional achievements or show off your personality, a great summary has substance, style and inspires action.
If you’re wondering how to write your LinkedIn summary here are a few tips:
- Showcase your passions or share a hobby
- Highlight your successes
- Add keywords which relate to your skills and talents
- Be authentic (no jargon words)
- Describe your WHY. Why do you do what you do?
- Tell a story
- Add a call-to-action
- Add an image, article or video
If done right, your LinkedIn summary could leave a lasting first impression to your visitors — leading to new job prospects, collaborations and connections.
5. Create an All-Star profile
Creating a stand-out All-Star profile is what’s going to help you become more discoverable on LinkedIn and build up your professional network — attracting new business and job opportunities.
LinkedIn profiles with an All-Star rating are more likely to be found in searches and have around three times more profile traffic. So if you’re not optimising your LinkedIn profile, you could be missing out!
There are 5 different levels of strengths you can achieve on your LinkedIn profile:
Once you have reached a level of profile strength, it can be found on the right side of your profile’s dashboard and looks like this…
To get to an All-Star status, you’ll need to have connected with at least 50 people, add your headshot, background image, headline and summary and complete the following sections on your profile.
- Experience. You’ll need at least one current position and one past.
- Education. This can be any qualifications you have received over the years.
- Skills. Choose at least three top skills.
- Accomplishments. This could be certificates, awards and any projects you’ve completed.
- Interests. This is the section which is generated by LinkedIn. As you start to follow groups, people and companies, they will show up in this section.
- Endorsements and recommendations. This can be given by colleagues, clients and business connections. Recommendations are a great way to show credibility.
The more content you include in your profile, the more likely you’ll be discovered through LinkedIn. Your ultimate goal should be to reach the All-Star status. Though this may take a little longer to set up, it will be worth it once you see your professional network growing.
Your LinkedIn profile plays an integral part in showcasing your expertise, personality and personal brand. The best and most engaging LinkedIn profiles are transparent, real and compelling. As more people turn to LinkedIn to look for new talent, prospects, influencers and partnerships, having a well-optimised, stand-out and professionally written LinkedIn profile is even more important when it comes to achieving professional success.
Still stuck? LinkedIn profile writing is my jam! I offer LinkedIn Profile Writing services which can help you create a stand-out All-Star profile that will set you apart from the rest.