Your LinkedIn profile forms a big part of your professional, digital 'shop window' so we've pulled together a three-part series of LinkedIn tips that are available to download as Brandable & Co. Free Guides. These guides have been created as part of our social mission to provide #humanbrand direction to everyone, regardless of circumstances - a place where people can access free, valuable information that will help them to craft a personal brand that opens the door to possibility... and when we say free, we mean free - no catches, no email sign up and no sales funnels. This article will walk you through the first 10 tips, and part two and three can be downloaded on the Guides page.
In our 'Google Yourself' guide we talked about that metaphorical shopping destination called Google. The one that's open 24/7 and where people are browsing what's on offer, telling their friends and sharing what they find. Personal brand can be a notoriously difficult thing to wrap your head around, so in the Brandable & Co. masterclasses, we often get people to visualise their personal brand as a shop on a crowded street, with tens of thousands of people walking past every day. Take a moment to picture your personal brand as the shop... shop YOU and then think about your shop window and what you're displaying in it - that's your 'first impression'.
Your LinkedIn profile forms a significant portion of your online 'shop window', especially when it comes to jobs, businesses & careers - and although you can change someone's first impression of you as they get to know you better, you simply won't get the chance with others, so it's important to create the best one you can first time round. Time seems to be the main block to getting things done so with that in mind, each tip that we give you can be done in 5 minutes or less. We can all find 5 minutes in a day and if you do one thing per day, at the end of 30 days, 30 small small steps will have turned into a big difference!
We've been on webinars, read articles, tried things out and like many of us, our founder Sallee Poinsette-Nash has been using LinkedIn for years - ranking in the top 2% of her industry. Let's start with the basics to ensure that you've got those where they need to be before we move into the more advanced ways in which you can strengthen your LinkedIn profile.
Preferably not a selfie and one that was taken in the past 12 months. Why? You want to create a first impression that people can connect with and according to LinkedIn, members with a photo get:
- 9x more connection requests
- 21x more profile views
- 36x more messages
HOW? Go to your profile, click on edit (the pencil icon), click on the pencil icon to the right of your photo and change image.
This is a great way to stand out, think of it as free advertising and show people what you do. Having a strong cover photo will turn all those searches that you appear in each week, into more profile visits.
- You can either use a photo you already have or create an image at Canva.com
HOW? Go to "view profile", click the pencil icon underneath your cover image then click the same icon on top of the banner and select an image from your computer. Select "open" then click "save"
This will allow you to see where you rank in your industry (something we'll get to later!) and according to LinkedIn, members with industry information will:
- receive up to 9x more profile views
- reach a bigger audience, as more than 300k people search by industry on LinkedIn every week
HOW? From "view profile" tap the edit icon (pencil) and select an option from the Industry dropdown, then hit "save"
Are you still using the default URL that LinkedIn assigned your profile when you created it? Improve your search results with a custom LinkedIn URL that looks like this: linkedin.com/in/your-name
- LinkedIn recommend using a variation of your name and/or your professional brand because you'll share this URL with people, so that they can find you on LinkedIn. Some job applications may also ask you for your LinkedIn profile URL
- If your name isn't available, add a middle initial or try a combination of your name + your industry/the thing you want to be known for
You can change your URL up to five times within six months. Once you've changed your URL for the fifth time, you won't be able to change it again for another six months.
HOW? Click the "me" icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, then "view profile". Click edit public profile & you'll see the URL on the right hand side. You will be redirected to the public profile settings page where you’ll see “edit your custom URL”. Click the edit icon (pencil!) by the public profile URL. It will show an address that looks like: linkedin.com/in/r4nd0m53L3ction0fnumb3rs4ndl3tt3r5 and this is where you can type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box (this should be your name if available). Finish by clicking save.
Your profile headline is a fast track to showing up higher in LinkedIn search results, attracting more profile views, and showcasing your personal brand but LinkedIn automatically lists your current job title & employer as the default. You can change this, and you should! HOW? Go to the "me" icon at top of your LinkedIn homepage, click “view profile” and then on the pencil edit icon to make your changes in the “headline” text box.
You can also add / change / edit your current position and responsibilities – it is the first thing people look at and according to LinkedIn, members with up-to-date positions receive up to:
- 6x more connection requests
- 8x more profile views
- 10x more messages
HOW? Click “view profile", scroll down to the experience section and click the edit icon next to the position you'd like to edit. Make your changes in the fields provided and then click save.
6 - Add education and join an alumni
Add an education section as it plays an important role. This information is visible at the top of your profile, within your search result listing and it helps your profile achieve an All-Star ranking. LinkedIn allows you to reorder sections on your profile so we'd suggest moving your education section nearer the bottom, as although it plays an important role, it’s certainly not the most important part of your profile for the person viewing it.
HOW? Click the “me” icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage and then “view profile”. Click the “add new profile section” on the right hand side and from the background dropdown, click the “add” (+) icon next to Education. Type your education information into each applicable field and then click save.
It is also worth joining your school or university's alumni network as you never know when an opportunity might crop up! Virtually every college and university in the world has one or more, as do many schools as well.
HOW? Go to “Work” on the top bar, then select “groups” and search for the name of any educational institutions you attended. You will find that some schools have multiple groups, so join as many as appeal to you.
LinkedIn groups are an excellent way to get connected with like-minded individuals, prospects, potential partners, and colleagues. You can be a member of up to 50 groups and it's worth noting that you can leave a group at any time, so experiment with it and if a group isn’t yielding the results you wanted, leave and try a different one!. To determine which ones you should be a part of, and to build influence within an industry or niche, here are a few questions to consider when choosing your groups: What is the niche or industry I want to be more visible in? What groups are the current influencers in my industry participating in? What groups are my colleagues and connections already members of?
HOW? Go to “Work” on the top bar, then select “groups” and search for shared interest groups.
Did you know that you can reorder your skills section to show the three most important ones on your profile page? And that you can have up to 50 skills on your profile? It is worth doing because according to LinkedIn, members who add 5 or more skills receive up to 17x more profile views.
HOW? Go to the skills & endorsements section on your profile page and click the edit icon (the pencil!), then using the three lines icon, on the right, you can move the skills around, pinning the three you most want to be known for to the top.
One of the easiest and yet most relevant ways to grow your LinkedIn network is to sync your profile with your email address book as well as to follow up any meetings and conversations with LinkedIn connection requests – it’s a great way of keeping your network vibrant and up to date.
HOW? Click the “my network” icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage and click “contacts” under manage my network on the left side (You can also import a contacts / csv file here). Click “manage synced contacts” near the top right corner of the page, then click “sync” next to any source under the contacts section to sync your address book.
Highlight your work and favourite posts on LinkedIn to help demonstrate your expertise and strengthen your profile. You can leverage the featured section to showcase the best examples of your work, and as evidence of your skills and experience.
HOW? Go to the “featured” section on your profile, just below the “About” section. Click on “add featured” and select the type of content. To select a LinkedIn post or article, select the star icon just beneath the content you wish to feature.
When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn bio? The about section is your elevator pitch so you should focus on career accomplishments and aspirations but include something personal too. Yes, LinkedIn is a professional platform but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be yourself! Think of it more like a cover letter than a CV (or resume depending which side of the pond you’re on!) and make it original, personable, and interesting.
Stay away from wording your bio in third-person, it sounds weird, and always write in first-person (we know you don’t have an assistant writing it for you, and even if you do… third person doesn’t have a very human or approachable feel to it!) There are lots of great examples out there so if you're struggling, why not look at how people you admire have written theirs, or google suggestions on how to write a great bio.
Top Tip: include a Call-to-Action (CTA) at the end of your "about" summary - this is where you tell people to follow you, reach out via email, visit your website, or whatever it is you want them to do after viewing your profile.
HOW? Click the "me" icon at top of your LinkedIn homepage, then click "view profile". Go to "edit" (the pencil again!) in the top right of the "about" section. A pop-up window will appear and this is where you'll fill out your information (in the summary field) and click save.
We hope you've found this useful. Please follow our company page on LinkedIn for daily personal brand know-how and share our tips and guides with anyone who may need a helping hand when it comes to improving their LinkedIn profile.