7 Keys to a Standout LinkedIn Profile

You should market yourself and your business on LinkedIn, but you might be doing it all wrong.

I often see professionals and business leaders try and fail on the world’s largest professional network, where almost 600 million monthly users are potential prospects. But you can capture their interest with an optimized profile.

Here’s the good news: improving your LinkedIn presence isn’t rocket science. With a a few keys to a standout LinkedIn profile and some profile tweaks, you can make your presence enticing to your network and future connections. And with some planning, you can even optimize your LinkedIn profile to be found more easily on the internal search function.

1) Make Your LinkedIn Profile Public

If your profile isn’t publicly available to the professional community, why are you spending time on the platform? If you’re trying to improve your personal brand or business, you must start with a public LinkedIn profile for all to see.

It doesn’t matter how active you are or who you’re connected with. It doesn’t even matter why you’re really using LinkedIn. Making your profile public should be your first step in optimizing your presence. From here, you’ll be searchable, make connections more easily and expand your presence.

But remember, a public profile is useless without details. We’ll dip into best practices for this, but for now just start off with basic information. Don’t have a picture? Upload one (and create a headline and summary) ASAP.

2) Help Others Connect with You

Lightning round: Why are people on LinkedIn? They probably want to connect with industry professionals and build mutually-beneficial relationships. How are they supposed to do that if they can’t connect with you?

One of the keys to a standout LinkedIn profile is that the platform thrives on connections. But you have to help that along. If you don’t help others connect with you, they probably won’t. Extend the olive branch, and your chances increase.

Sure, you have InMail, but don’t assume that folks want to DM you. Besides, you may miss messages if you don’t log in enough or life gets busy. Instead, make it easy for connections to get in touch outside LinkedIn. Just add your phone number and professional email address. The easier you make it to get in touch, the more likely you are to actually build good relationships.

3) Focus on Your Headline

After your picture and name, your headline is the next thing people see when they search for you or see your posts. They don’t have to visit your profile to read it, so you need to pay attention and make your headline relevant.

Here’s what others don’t care about in a headline:

  • Your official job title
  • Your place of employment
  • Silly jokes
  • An abstract tagline that ‘sums you up’

They can get the first two from your profile, the third is just out of place and the fourth doesn’t add value. Instead, use this space to showcase your value to the game.

If you say what you bring to the table and how you can help people, your chances of making new connections jump. Summarize the essence of what makes up your professional self in 10 words or less, and how that makes you unique. It’s not easy, but crucial to success on LinkedIn.

4) Use a Professional Headshot

It’s generally obvious you shouldn’t use party pictures on a professional network. So what about the next best thing—like a pic of you in a suit at your cousin’s wedding? Would a little bit of Photoshop on that fit the bill? No. LinkedIn is a business platform, so use a photo that makes sense in a business context.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun with it. But that fun should add some value. Use your photo as a communication tool to show professionalism. Showing that you understand the platform makes your more credible.

5) Optimize Your Summary

With the essentials out of the way, you can focus on your summary. This is another one of those keys to a standout LinkedIn profile, because visitors will use your summary to learn about you. If they don’t like what they see or aren’t engaged, they might keep scrolling and just move on.

Your summary section should tell me what you do, how you do it, who you work with and how I can best work with you. And that last part is more important than you’d think. Whether you’re trying to attract prospects or employers, this is your chance to say why you’re a good fit for the type of person and/or business they’re looking for.

Don’t use your summary to spit out career objectives or business mission statements. Avoid copying and pasting bits from your resume, too. Instead, add substance and value that doesn’t even exist on your resume. Now’s your chance to tell your story, in (preferably under) 2,000 characters.

6) Take Advantage of Multimedia

LinkedIn is more than just text. It’s a social media platform like any other, and your profile better get the most out of it.

Think back to your summary. Did you know you can add links, videos, sales materials, case studies and more? Take advantage of that. If you have media to prove your experience, insert it into your presentation about yourself.

The same is true for all of your profile sections. From past job opportunities to professional memberships, leverage links, videos and case studies to add evidence to your work and stand out.

And don’t forget to take advantage of LinkedIn articles. These long-form updates work like blog posts, ranging between 500 and 2,000 words long. Tag them right, and they begin to show up for relevant professionals as well as on your profile. It’s just another opportunity to show your audiences what you know.

7) Go Beyond the Resume

Finally, dig deeper into your LinkedIn profile. Sure, you can list your jobs, skills, experience and memberships. But you can’t just list employers and a few examples. LinkedIn demands more.

Your overall profile is an expanded version of your summary. You made a few claims, now you can go into depth. The last of the keys to a standout LinkedIn profile is to show me more—what you did, how you did it, who you worked with and how you helped. Explain projects and your involvement in them.

Do you have something to offer your audience, and should they contact you? Your profile is your opportunity to make that case, too. Tell your story, what you did in the past and how that translates into present skills and experience to provide value to any professional relationship. And don’t forget to supplement that with multimedia proof. That’s how you can gain new connections and unearth business opportunities.

Are You Ready to Fully Leverage LinkedIn?

Creating a profile and crossing your fingers isn’t enough. Far from it. Entrepreneurs and business professionals who succeed on LinkedIn approach it strategically, carefully placing every word, link and visual in somewhere that adds to their story and makes them attractive as a connection.

That sounds complex, and sometimes it is. Don’t let that scare you. Instead, take things one step at a time. You’ll be surprised by the results.

Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is a science. Focus on these keys to a standout LinkedIn profile and your chances of making new connections WILL increase. It’s your first step in leveraging all the opportunities LinkedIn has to offer.

From here, you can post regular content, participate in groups and seek new connections. With these seven steps, you can create a standout LinkedIn profile poised to raise your visibility and credibility. Want more digital marketing tips, articles and software reviews? Stop by my blog.

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