N E W S & B L O G
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By Tyler Killette
LinkedIn. Over 645 million people around the world are on it. Most of them (probably) have incomplete profiles that do little to catch the attention of potential clients, employers and meaningful business connections. While it may seem daunting and perhaps a little confusing to fill out the many different sections that make a profile complete, the benefits are worth it.
If you’re involved in the business world in any way, people are searching for your name on the internet -- and your Linkedin profile is likely one of the first things that will pop in a Google search. You want to make sure people are finding relevant, up-to-date information that draws them in.
Here are a few easy steps to improving your profile:
Step 1: Choose a descriptive headline.
Your LinkedIn headline appears at the top of your profile, as well as next to your name in searches. Use this section to tell the world what you do. Anyone can scroll down to your work experience and see that you hold X title at Y company. But more often than not, our job titles are not completely reflective of what we actually do.
Say, for example, you’re a Senior Director at ABC Real Estate Company. If you make that job title your headline, one can gather that you work in the real estate industry, but they’ll be left guessing whether you specialize in leasing, sales or development, or what property type you focus on. Instead, consider a more detailed headline, like “Experienced Tenant Advisor Helping Occupiers Make Smart Real Estate Decisions.”
If you feel that’s too flashy for your style, take a more understated approach with something like “Senior Director, Tenant Advisory Services at ABC Real Estate Company.” A couple of extra words that describe your work can go a long way.
Step 2: Add a background image.
It should be obvious that you need a high-quality headshot to use as your profile photo, but an eye-catching background image is also important. Many people skip this, which means it’s a great way to make your profile stand out.
Add an image that is relevant to your business. Maybe it’s a cool shot of your office. Maybe it’s a clearly branded product you sell. Or maybe it’s a pretty skyline image of the city you work in. As long as it’s appropriately cropped and high-resolution, a background image will make your profile look more polished and complete.
Personally, when I go to someone’s LinkedIn profile and they haven’t replaced LinkedIn’s generic blue header with their own custom image, I think one of two things: either they didn’t put much effort into their profile or they must not be tech-savvy enough to know how to change the image. Sure, I may be more attuned to these things than most, but adding a background image is a quick and easy way to significantly improve the look of your profile and it shouldn’t be skipped.
Step 3: Write a clear, effective bio.
One of the most common mistakes I see on LinkedIn is a bio so full of professional buzzwords and industry-specific jargon that it doesn’t actually say anything. I cringe at terms like “proven track record” and “demonstrated history.” Your bio is not a cover letter, and those terms are meaningless anyway without stats to support them.
A good bio should use 75 -150 words to tell us who you are, what you do and how/why you do it better than your competitors. Cite some brief examples of your accomplishments and wrap it up with a call to action or pitch like “Contact me at [your email address] to learn more about how I can help your company grow.” Avoid being overly “sales-y” here -- the point is to seem approachable.
On that same note, remember this is social media. Although we should all be using a more professional tone on LinkedIn than, say, the Instagram account we created for our cats, it’s more than OK to show some personality here. Write in first-person and keep it on the casual side. Whenever I see someone’s bio written in third-person, I think “they totally wrote that themselves.” It’s distracting. LinkedIn should feel personal, and referring to yourself as Mr. or Ms. so and so does not accomplish that.
Step 4: Double check your contact info.
Full disclosure: this one’s personal. When I took some time to update my own profile a few months ago, I clicked on my contact info section and was horrified to find that it not only listed an old email from a previous job but my PERSONAL BLOG FROM COLLEGE! (Why my college sophomore self added that in first place, we’ll never know).
I was too scared to click the link, but can only hope the Wordpress gods disabled my account and no potential employers were subjected to my stream-of-consciousness ramblings about hoping to find a job in journalism (yes, my goals have since changed.)
Let my embarrassment be your lesson. Please double check your contact info.
Help Improving Your LinkedIn Profile
If you’ve read through this article and are feeling inspired to spend some time updating your profile yourself, that’s great!
For most of us, however, the reason our Linkedin profiles aren’t in perfect shape is not because we don’t know how to improve them -- it’s because we don’t have the time (or maybe the will) to focus on it. This is where Killette Communications can help.
I’ve developed a step-by-step analysis that identifies opportunities to improve your profile and recommends changes based on best practices. Each analysis is tailored to your personal needs and business goals to make sure you get the most out of the process. Reach out to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org or slide into my messages on Linkedin.