How to write a professional LinkedIn profile in 5 easy steps
LinkedIn is a bit of a minefield isn't it? As professionals, we know that we need to have it but many of us don't really know what to do with it.
If you're a prominent figure in your business (especially if it's a B2B business) then as an absolute minimum you should have a nicely filled out LinkedIn profile.
Why? Because people are looking at your LinkedIn profile before they do business with you. In fact, research by Hootsuite found that 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions.
So you can see why LinkedIn is a platform worth putting a bit of time into. In this post I'm going to talk you through 5 easy steps to writing a professional LinkedIn profile. So let's get going...
1. Upload a picture (and make sure it's not a holiday shot!)
Firstly, make sure you have a professional looking picture. Don't be tempted just to pull something off Facebook though. LinkedIn is a platform for professionals so you need to make sure you're looking smart. Professionally shot pictures are nice if you have them, if you don't just make sure it's on a plain background and cropped to show your face clearly.
Having a picture on your profile makes it 14 times more likely to be viewed by others so it's definitely worth doing. I've shared mine below to give you an example.
2. Write a headline that stands out
Your headline is the one-line description that sits below your name. As you can see from the picture above, mine says 'Freelance Copywriter and Content Marketer for Hire'.
Most people just list their job title here but I urge you to do something a bit different. It needs to contain a few target keywords (words people might be searching to find you) and it needs to be kept short and catchy.
You'll get better results if you tailor your headline to what you want to achieve from LinkedIn. I'm currently trying to grow my client list, so I've made it really clear that I'm here to hire.
Other people might want to drive sales in a particular sector. If I wanted to get more IT clients on board for example, I might tailor my headline to say 'Freelance Writer and Content Marketer for IT Service Providers'. That would make it really clear who I was targeting and from the clients perspective, IT service providers might be more likely to choose me over a generic freelance writer.
If you want more tips on writing your LinkedIn headline, this post from Hub Spot has some great advice.
3. Get your summary right
Your summary is the area below your image that encapsulates your professional history, qualifications and personality. This isn't a place to list all the jobs you've ever had, it's a place to give an overview of your accomplishments and the way you like to do business.
Here are a few questions to consider answering in your summary:
- How much experience do you have in your industry?
- Think of some words that describe how you like to work. Are you driven, passionate, enthusiastic, professional. Think of 2-3 that summarise your style the most.
- How do you solve your customers' problems? Do you services help reduce their business' running costs? Do your products help managers develop their people? Make sure you provide your readers with the answer to the question: why should I care?
- How can you prove it? List some of your accomplishments to validate the point above.
- What drives you to get out of bed in the morning? List both work and non-work related things here. Is it building relationships? Reducing complexity? Forming an engaged workforce? Volunteering? Running?
- Have a think about what you do better than anyone else. Is it making the complex simple to understand? Running effective team meetings? Analysing data to spot trends? Write it down in your summary
Once you have this list, you can get your pen to paper. It's up to you if you want to write your summary in the first person or the third person. I prefer the first as I think it sounds more personal.
4. Your experience
This section is basically a shorter version of your CV. List all your previous jobs out in chronological order and write a description under each.
It's worth listing your accomplishments here as well as your day-to-day responsibilities. This is basically the space for you to add a bit more context to all the great things you listed in your summary. So if you said something about providing services to some of the UK's best-known brands, for example, the experience area is where you tell your readers who the brands are.
Try not to put too much information here, I like the below format:
- Overview of the company and what it does
- Overview of your position at the company
- 5-6 of your key responsibilities
- 2-3 examples of how you produced results
5. Everything else
Completing all the steps above will ensure you have a good profile. To make it perfect, you'll want to make use of some of LinkedIn's other features:
Adding skills to your profile is great for two reasons; it's really simple to do and it adds keywords to your profile that help you to come up higher in search results. All you need to do is type in a skill area and LinkedIn will suggest related terms that you can add. These are visible to your network so people you know can endorse you.
Do you have any relevant qualifications such as a degree or on-the-job training? Add it to the education section.
You want some recommendations on your page. These act as testimonials from people you've done business with and show that everything you've said on your profile is genuine. Don't be scared to ask people to write one for you, this is quite common and if they've enjoyed working with you, people are usually more than happy to do it.
Whenever you like, share or comment on something on LinkedIn it shows in the activity section of your profile. This shows how valuable you are to be connected to. If you regularly share share relevant and engaging content with your readers, you're a good person to connect with.
This section sits just under your summary and is a place to share any links that are relevant to your career. I've shared some of my published blog posts on my profile, but you could share anything from company press releases to articles that you've been interviewed for.
So that's it, everything you need to know to write a professional LinkedIn page in five easy steps.