8 things that characterize the great LinkedIn profile
Whether you’re completely new to LinkedIn, applying for a specific job, or trying to find the next lead for your pipeline, having an updated profile is a must. But which parts of the profile are most important to fill out and how should you approach it?
The basic characteristics of the great profile
First of all, an empty profile just reflects badly on you, so the great profile is up to date. It shows the visitor what you have done in the past (education and experience), what you are working with now, and the value that you can create in the future.
A keyword here is “value”, as we aim to provide visitors with some kind of value from reading our profile.
Think about your target audience: Are you looking for new opportunities? Write with a recruitment profile in mind. Are you looking for new business? Think about what you can do for your potential customer.
With this important premise in mind, we can dive into the 8 things that characterize the great LinkedIn profile.
1. A professional profile- and background picture
Did you know that we make an impression about other people in less than 2,5 seconds?
On LinkedIn, this means that a professional profile picture goes a long way in establishing a good first impression. It also benefits your profile views, as profiles with a picture are 11 times more likely to be viewed.
However, not all profile pictures were created equal.
The picture you chose should be a high-quality headshot of you - and you only - on a neutral background. Resolution 400x400 pixels is recommended.
Wear something that you would normally wear in a work-related environment, smile and look welcoming. Your profile picture shouldn’t be more than 5 years old, as it otherwise hurts the topicality. Although it can be tempting, an old photo will just surprise people too much.
When selecting the right picture, remember that more than 50% of your visitors view your profile via their phone, so close-ups are preferred.
If you want to add even more personality (or branding) to your profile, you can include a unique background image. Select something visually appealing that shows you in a work-related situation or just reflects your personality, and choose it in the advised resolution of 1584x396 pixels in PNG or JPG format.
2. An impactful headline
The purpose of any good headline on social media is to catch people’s attention and make them click. Who are you and what can you do? It could state the value that you can create for your target audience, but could also be your title or competencies.
For instance, my current headline is just the position as"Strategy Developer and Content Manager at Advance" (ie title and company), but it could easily be more specific in terms of my expertise: “Helping your brand stand out with insights-driven marketing” or focus on my competencies: Strategic Planning, Digital Marketing, etc.
In terms of length, the headline can consist of up to 45 characters.
Pro tip: If you want more words, edit the headline on your mobile - for some odd reason it will give you a total of 200 characters.
3. A summary that provides value
Again: How can you provide value to the visitor of your profile? You should look at the summary as an extension of your headline: This is where you can really unfold and sell yourself to potential connections.
The summary should include the most relevant details of your career, for instance, key believes, specific competencies, industry experience, or accomplishments.
My target audience is marketers who need help from an advertising agency, so I have created my summary based on this structure:
Who am I? (Introduction)
What do I believe and what value can I create? (Beliefs made in my work as a Planner)
How do I approach work? (Individually and in a team)
What is my experience? (Education and jobs)
Call-to-action (My blog)
4. Keyword-optimized text
In supplementation of the work with headline and summary, you must remember to make both of these keyword-optimized. Search is a big part of LinkedIn and keywords can be the factor that determines if you get found or not. Using the right keywords will get you exposed to more potential opportunities.
As you can tell, some of mine are digital marketing strategy, branding, self-driven, etc., and I have supplemented with a few hashtags, as this too improves the ranking when people do searches.
5. Easy-to-read descriptions
Obviously, your experience and education sections should be filled out. However, this section of your profile is something that most people quickly scan through.
Therefore, I won’t recommend writing long and detailed descriptions of your role and responsibilities. Instead, make it short and sweet with three main aspects:
What type of organization/team were you a part of?
What were your main responsibilities in that position?
What is a selected result from the time there?
6. A personalized URL
When we create our profiles on LinkedIn, it automatically gives us a combination of letters and numbers for our URL. This is neither good for our personal brand nor our ability to get found by others, so it makes sense to personalize it. For instance, mine is https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-hallander/.
To edit your URL, go to the top right corner and select the "Edit public profile & URL" tab - it will take you directly to the section, where you can create your own personalized URL.
7. Other profile sections and relevant media
LinkedIn allows you to add several other sections to give your profile more debt and appeal. So if you have done any volunteer work, speak different languages, have specific certifications or similar, make sure to add it too. Just select the "Add to profile section" at the top of your profile, and you can edit directly.
The media section is particularly good at giving your viewer an idea of who you are and what you have done. E.g. you can add work-related results, articles or a website/blog (like I have done).
8. Endorsed skills
As it is in the field of marketing, a great endorsement from another person can help you to influence your target audience. Starting off, you must add the skills that make sense for your professional life with a fine balance between industry - , interpersonal - and tools-related skills.
When you are satisfied with the competencies, you need people to endorse them. You can start by asking former and current colleagues to endorse your skillset (and make sure to return the favor), but in the long run, you might run out of colleagues. Here’s how I have approached this process on a day-to-day basis: When I visit a profile of someone in my network that I have worked with, I often endorse a few competencies while I am at it.
Getting endorsed for your competencies is an exercise of giving without expecting something in return. It comes down to the people you have worked with, so be patient and consistent in endorsing others, and the endorsements from your network will come.
I hope you found these tips useful. You are very welcome to let me know what you think and send me a connection request on LinkedIn.