We all know the common saying: “If you build it, they will come.”
Well, unfortunately that’s not the case, especially not on the Internet.
You can create profiles and websites all over the place, but if they’re not optimized or providing value to visitors, you’re wasting time and probably money.
Constructing your LinkedIn profile correctly in order to build a strong, wide network is a necessary condition to achieving that goal.
It’s more important than ever, considering recent research on recruiting methods used.
Think of yourself as a brand and consider your LinkedIn profile a service product of that brand. Then, apply the concept of tangibility discussed in our post about the ROI of social media.
Make your profile tangible. Make people understand who you are and why they should care about anything you have to offer.
Much like a paper resume, you only get maybe 30 seconds to a minute to accomplish that.
Let’s break down a LinkedIn profile section-by-section and take a deeper look…
In terms of grabbing peoples’ attention and building credibility, your headline may very well be the most important aspect of your profile. Besides your picture, the headline will be the first thing people see.
The main goal here is to hit major keywords related to the questions below:
- In what industry are you employed?
- What positions do you hold?
- In what areas do you have a wealth of knowledge and expertise?
Keep in mind that tons of people look for connections using LinkedIn’s search function. By hitting the right keywords, you’re more likely to rank higher in LinkedIn search results and, therefore, more likely to get new visitors to your profile.
I apologize in advance, but this is obligatory: The summary is the Egg McMuffin of LinkedIn profile sections (if you don’t get this, you probably read books instead of watch TV…so good job).
Think of the summary as the “About Us” on a website, arguably the most important page on any website.
This is where you make or break your chances of building quality new leads. This is where you build confidence and trust with your visitors.
Everybody on LinkedIn has work experience, but no single person shares your background, experiences, and thoughts…these are unique to you as an individual. It is this uniqueness that you need to verbalize and capitalize upon in the summary.
Building off this uniqueness, you should be able to “tangibilize” yourself and make your profile come to life. Be a real person while explaining how you’ve become the person you are and what you can bring to the table.
What are you passionate about? Why are you on LinkedIn? Why should anybody care to hire you or connect with you?
I revise my summary frequently, so it’s in no way flawless, but to serve as an example:
Why I’m Here:
“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”
— Charles Bukowski (Factotum)
I don’t recall a time when I lacked the goal of being an entrepreneur. I’m looking for the lifestyle that suits me…and that’s not sitting in an office for 8 hours a day making lots of money for somebody else.
What I Do:
I am the founder/co-owner of My Social Game Plan, a social media marketing company aimed at helping local small businesses, startups, and independent contractors in Louisville, KY build their online presence using social media. We take on the task of generating brand awareness and loyalty, building consumer confidence and customer retention, and generating new leads to increase your bottom line.
I’m also currently employed as the Social Media Director at a local security company, NOVUS Security, where I apply my Internet marketing experience to push a social media strategy with the goals of generating brand awareness, brand loyalty, and new customer leads.
I’ll cut it off there. You can finish reading at my LinkedIn profile if you’re interested.
As you can see, I give a short explanation of who I am as an individual and what I’m passionate about. Right there, I connect with anyone who shares the “primal competitiveness” that often characterizes the entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve immediately built a bridge with a few simple words — I’ve made my profile tangible.
I follow that up with a quick summary of my experiences and what unique services I can offer others, answering the question of why anyone in business should care to connect with me.
Like I said, everybody on LinkedIn has work experience. However, just like a paper resume, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about describing your work history and responsibilities.
I don’t want to get too deep into this, because it’s concerned with solid resume writing rather than something unique to LinkedIn. Of course, the general rules of resume writing also apply to LinkedIn:
- Don’t lie. Don’t lie. Also, don’t lie.
- Describe your achievements, not your responsibilities. Nobody cares what you were expected to do, they want to know if you met those expectations and how.
- Use action verbs to describe your roles and achievements.
- You don’t have to list past employers if they have zero relevance to a job you’re seeking. Be able to explain any gaps you might have in work history.
- Keep it as short and to the point as possible
You know the drill. If you need help with resumes, check out Resume Edge.
Making the Most of the Websites Section
Business owners almost always include their company website in this section. That’s a no-brainer after all. But I rarely see people go beyond adding their main website.
You have the ability to link three websites from your profile — take advantage of that!
Do you have a Facebook page? Google+ page? LinkedIn company page? YouTube channel? If you’re trying to find a career, even a link to a PDF of your resume (for printing purposes) would be a great addition.
The takeaway from this is to maximize the real estate LinkedIn offers. There’s no reason to add less than three websites.
If you don’t have three websites to share, maybe it’s time to reconsider if you’re doing everything you can to get your name and business out on the market (hint: you may be ignoring the best online marketing mediums).
Bringing It Together
A lot of ground was covered in this post, so let’s summarize a little bit. Here are the major takeaways and points of action you should take immediately after reading.
- Think long about your headline, as that will be the first thing people see when you pop up in search results. Let people know your industry and expertise.
- Make your profile tangible. Summarize your personality, give a transparent view of your outlook on life and business, and share your experience in a way that connects emotionally.
- Sell yourself, not your job history. Nobody is hiring your job history, they’re hiring you.
- Use the real estate LinkedIn offers to the fullest. If you’re given the ability to link three websites and your Twitter account, be sure you do it. If you’re given the option to connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile or upload a presentation through SlideShare, be sure you do it.
What tips or suggestions would you offer for optimizing a LinkedIn profile? If you’d like to share your profile in the comments, I’ll give suggestions on how you might improve.