Design a LinkedIn profile that sets you up for successful conversations, launches relationships, and brings you opportunities through your personal brand.
by Stephanie Bickel
1. Choose a professional headshot as your profile picture
A picture that shows you in business casual attire and a smile is best. Your picture should be warm, inviting, and polished, showcasing your personal brand. It is the first thing someone sees as they click on your page. In addition, your background/header picture should also be relevant to your work. It should not be a random sunset photo you took on your last vacation. This is another visual opportunity to showcase your expertise and knowledge.
2. Aim for 3 paragraphs for your ‘About’ section
Focus your first paragraph on your current role, location, and focus. Highlight how many years you’ve been in your current role and at your current company. Add the number of years of experience you’ve had in that field. For your second paragraph, include things that make you stand out and your accomplishments. Also, add other interesting details or facts related to the work you do. Lastly, in your third paragraph, build your brand further by mentioning other related work you’ve done that has influenced you to be where you’re at now. You can also include interests and memberships outside of work that are professional. Utilizing your leadership communication skills to craft your 'about' section is incredibly important to set the right tone.
3. Make your current employment detailed
Show off how much you love your current job. Write it as though you are the voice of your organization. Represent the company culture in the best light possible. People can tell if you are writing to lure in recruiters or seeking to grow your current business, so it's important to use your best leadership communication skills. Compare your description of your current position to previous positions. Make sure your current one is longer and more impressive. Your current role is what people are most interested in learning about. If you are in transition, include the progression of roles within your organization here. Add your responsibilities and accomplishments each year. If you are using LinkedIn for business development, write the description you would share with a customer or client (not an internal description).
4. Keep your previous employment simple
Do not add a lot of details. Focus mostly on your current role and the responsibilities there. Projects should be in parallel form.
Brenda Meller of Meller Marketing: She is a LinkedIn coach and provides rich descriptions of former positions. She uses images and photography. This is a great LinkedIn example for solopreneurs, independent consultants, and people in transition.
Liz Hilton Segel of McKinsey & Co: Great use of photography! Her LinkedIn profile matches her brand. She role models the ideal 3 paragraph biography well. This is also very unstated, elegant, and sophisticated - just like Liz.
Seth Godin of Akimbo: Great example of how to look popular. He has over 100,000 followers and only 7 connections. His background photography is missing, which makes it obvious LinkedIn is not important to him. Look at the Activity section. You say a lot about yourself by what you react to on LinkedIn.
5. Update your interests
This allows for those connecting with you to see what pages you follow and what interests you. Add influencers, companies, groups, and schools you keep up with. This helps develop your personal brand and build your brand further. These interests make for great talking points - whether it’s small talk during an initial message or a similarity that gets brought up at another time.
Dave DeWalt, Founder of NightDragon, Former CEO - FireEye, McAfee & Documentum: Great example of how to show a wide variety of positions with simplicity. Scroll to the bottom to see who he follows. He makes himself even more interesting by who he chooses to follow.
Your clients, customers, and partners are looking at your LinkedIn profile, which is a reflection on both your professional and personal brand. Get a friend or coach to give you tough, honest feedback on your profile.
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