In my last post, I talked about what NOT to put in your LinkedIn profile. You want to be taken seriously and give yourself the best chance to succeed. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you my best tips to create a great LinkedIn profile that reflects well not only on you as a professional, but also on your company. No matter your industry or expertise level, these tips will grow your connections and set you on the right track to success in the professional world.
Practical ways to improve your LinkedIn profile:
- DO update your summary regularly. Every time you update it, it shows up as newly published, and pushes it into your connections’ feeds. Your summary should give more details about what you do and manage day to day, with a splash of color and insight into your personal life. Include your favorite hobbies, some details about your favorite pet, reference your love for your family or that you stand on a community board. These details will add originality to an otherwise standard description of your work. Here’s mine for the sake of example:
“What’s your story? Mine starts with a passion and love for reading, writing and grammar starting in middle school. I bring that passion into the business world through content marketing, the umbrella under which I write, edit and manage blogs, social media accounts, web content, SEO copy and more. I love reading, learning, analyzing, problem solving, organizing and identifying trends and patterns. During the workweek I wear many hats including social media manager, marketing coordinator, writer, editor, project manager, analytics junkie, content librarian and digital marketing strategist. Bringing individuals and companies together in lasting relationships based on honesty and trust through the art of good storytelling brings me joy. I solve problems for companies and for customers by putting the right story in front of consumers in the right place at the right time. When all the hats are put away, and I let my hair down, I am a proud nerd, yoga instructor, professional cat cuddler, self taught seamstress and movie enthusiast.”
- DO endorse people that you know! You can even endorse some people you don’t know. If you endorse people you don’t know, I recommend you do it for simple things like “Microsoft Office” or things that most people know how to do, but they end up on the skills list anyways.
- DO connect with others in your industry. You don’t have to know them personally. If they ask why, just say you wanted to connect with other like minded professionals in your field. They’ll probably add you.
- DO offer reviews for people and companies you can personally vouch for.
- DO keep it brief and lighthearted.
- Unless your profession is in the church, DO keep religion to a minimum. You don’t want to open yourself up to discrimination. I’m not condoning discrimination based on religion, but as I said, if it seems like there’s no originality and you’re just a machine that recites religious sayings, no one will want to interact with you on LinkedIn. Besides, this is a professional network, and your faith or lack thereof is something personal.
- DO understand that some people use LinkedIn very liberally, and others very conservatively, and be respectful of that. What I mean is that some people add everyone they can and even max out their connection limit. Others won’t add anyone they don’t personally know. I recommend you strike a balance between the two, but always be aware and respectful of the fact that people use it differently.
- DO respond to most (if not all) messages. You don’t need to respond to sales pitches or copy-paste messages, but if someone took the time to address you specifically and write you a personalized message, you can at least respond. On the flip side, don’t harass your connections with sales pitches or copy-paste messages. It’s annoying. They may unfriend you because of it.
- DO show off your work! Link to your blogs, projects, case studies and more to claim the work you’ve done. Be thorough, but concise. I know it’s difficult, but that’s the goal here.
- DO engage with your connections (like, comment, etc.) enough to stay on their radar, but not enough so they get annoyed with you.
- DON’T get into rants or arguments. They show up in your feed and reflect back on you and your company. Your political opinions, your thoughts on that picture of the bikini model, etc are not needed or wanted. I’ve seen CEO’s make lewd comments on professional images of models, causing the images and their gag-inducing comments to show up in my feed. I immediately deleted the connection and have no respect for the company.
- DO write a post. Share. It’s okay to pick a position on issues within your own posts, but know that people will disagree and prepare yourself for the comments. Above all, try to be respectful. LinkedIn is a place of business. Your posts should be relevant and helpful for your audience to a degree.
The best approach to dealing with people on LinkedIn is to be humble and do your research. Make a note of their industry and area of expertise and speak to them as a superior even if you may be on equal terms. Just don’t go overboard buttering them up! I usually say that I’m expanding my network so that I can learn from experts in the industry that are succeeding. That makes them feel important without resorting to false flattery. Read their articles on LinkedIn when you have time. And most importantly of all, keep refreshing your profile. Anything updated will show up as “new” in the feed and bring you to their attention.
Having a polished LinkedIn profile benefits you and your company so much. Whether you’re a C-level executive or an intern, you want to put your best face forward in the professional world and represent yourself and your company well.
Charlotte Stapp Price – Social Media Strategist, Marketing Coordinator