Strategically Building Your LinkedIn Profile
When it comes to creating your LinkedIn strategy, where do you start?
Well, it would seem that a smart place would be… at the beginning. And what is the first thing you need to do when signing up to LinkedIn? Create a profile!
There are two types of profile you can create on LinkedIn though in fact. The first is your own professional profile which will be a profile for you specifically. The second is the profile you will create for your business which is where you will promote your brand instead of yourself.
To begin with, let’s start with your personal LinkedIn profile which is probably the first thing you will create when signing up and which will act as a springboard for most of your other activities. Here, the idea is to sell yourself and to make yourself look professional and accomplished while doing so. LinkedIn gives you a number of tools and areas through which to accomplish these objectives. We’ll look at each of them in order.
The first field you’ll likely enter in the creation of your LinkedIn profile is the description about yourself called your ‘headline’. This is a short line that will list your job role and possibly your interests or your experience.
Say you worked as an internet marketer then, your headline could read as any of the following:
Internet Marketer, Digital Entrepreneur and Business Consultant
elping businesses to connect with customers and clients through digital marketing
Digital marketing expert and head of DMSolutions
Whatever you put here, try to make sure that it is short and succinct while at the same time professional, impressive and descriptive. The idea is to make yourself sound like someone that people would want to work with if they are in your field. At the same time though, you should also aim to put across a bit of personality to help make yourself feel somewhat approachable. This doesn’t mean that you should try to be ‘funny’ or ‘quirky’ in your headline – this can come across as desperate and may actually undermine your ability to appear professional.
Think about it this way: you’re trying to sum up your professional persona in a single line. That means you want to encompass what you do for a living, your mission statement, your goals and your history as much as possible but in a bite-sized form.
Note: Specifically you have 120 words to play with here.
Don’t spend too much time trying to cram everything into your summary though, as that’s what your profile ‘Summary’ is for. This is the next field that you can use to enter your details into and that you can use to attract potential business partners and clients.
This is where you will go into a little more detail explaining what it is you do for a living and what the key elements of your business are and your major achievements.
The best way to think about this section of your profile, is to imagine that you’re at a professional party or event and someone then comes up to you and asks you ‘what do you do’? Your job is to answer that question in about a paragraph, while at the same time selling yourself. Unlike a party though, you don’t need to worry too much about boring the other person when you’re writing your LinkedIn profile!
Let’s take the example of the digital marketing expert again then. Here, you might say something like the following:
I am the founder and owner of DMSolutions, a small business providing digital marketing solutions. I help companies and individuals to increase their visibility on the web through search engine optimization, branding, content marketing, influencer marketing and social media marketing. I have worked with a number of large clients in the past including ILoveMincedPies and LanyardsRUs, both of which saw a significant increase in traffic, turnover and profits thanks to the efforts of myself and my team.
I also have several other professional interests including web design, programming and more. I am the developer of a very successful app and have an extensive background and qualifications in business management, marketing and graphic design. I am currently open to working with any and all new clients, so please get in touch if you require my services in any capacity.
Notice that this summary performs three main roles: it outlines the specifics of what DMSolutions does, it shows how this helps businesses (and demonstrates the clear potential ROI) and it gives a little background. What’s more, it also invites readers to get in touch which right away opens the lines of communication. Don’t be afraid to outright ask for the kinds of connections you want to make. Are you looking for sponsors on your YouTube channel? Great – then ask for them. Are you looking to get into fitness modelling? Again, mention this and invite agencies to get in touch.
While writing any aspect of your LinkedIn profile, try to keep in mind the following objectives:
- Content should be grammatically correct with no errors in spelling or punctuation
- The tone should be professional but human as you might see on a CV (but with a little more personality)
- You should try to keep it brief and aim to give the most information with the fewest words
Tip #1: Your summary and your headline do not need to be static fields. You can update and freshen up the information you provide about yourself regularly – for instance, what was your biggest accomplishment this year? As we age, so we gather experiences, accomplishments and knowledge; so you need to keep updating your profile to ensure that it conveys everything you have to offer.
Tip #2: Ditch the buzzwords! Remember how you’re always told to say things like ‘teamwork’ and ‘synergy’ and ‘initiative’ in your CV? That’s old advice and it’s become something of a cliché. Try to avoid making the age-old mistake of using big and impressive-sounding words to say… nothing much at all. Instead, focus on being honest, genuine and likeable. Likeability is a big factor actually – no one wants to work with someone who comes across as unpleasant.
Tip #3: Not confident in your writing skills? Write it yourself and then have a proofreader look over it. Many online consultants offer this service cheaply, or you can alternatively ask a friend or relative with good writing skills to do it for you.
In the next lesson, you’ll learn how to strategically input your Experience, Projects, Skills and Endorsements sections of your LinkedIn profile.