Best-selling author, Chris Brogan, calls LinkedIn a ‘reputation engine.’ How effectively does your LinkedIn profile communicate YOUR personal brand? Nab these tips on how LinkedIn aficionados rock their profiles.
1. THEY HAVE AN APPROPRIATE & CURRENT PHOTO: Your user profile is 7 times more likely to be clicked on if you have a photo. But not just any photo. Because LinkedIn is predominantly a business site, your profile picture should be a clear photograph of YOU in a business context (no bevvies in hand, and no pets, kids, logos, group shots or distracting backgrounds). Dress in appropriate attire for your industry, and be genuine. People respond to authenticity.
Successful LinkedIn users also have the habit of keeping their photo current. That doesn’t mean monthly updates. But ensure your picture looks like you now – not you 10 years ago.
Click here to see a recent heat map study on Business Insider outlining what people view when they look at LinkedIn profiles. Hint: your picture is key.
2. THEY HAVE A ROCKING HEADLINE: Pete Leibman, author and founder of Dream Job Academy, has a 4-step plan to create a headline that gets noticed (“what-who-how-proof”):
- Say WHAT you are
Say WHO you help
Say HOW you make people’s life or work better
Give PROOF that you are credible
Leibman gives these examples:
Executive Recruiter who helps Fortune 500 companies find top tech talent. Clients include Google and IBM
Personal Trainer who helps youth get healthier, stronger and faster. Former head trainer for the NY Jets
(And Leibman’s headline): Speaker/Author/Coach who helps job-seekers get their dream jobs. Featured on Fox/CBS/CNN
3. THEY HAVE OPTIMISED KEYWORDS: Asia Bird, author of The LinkedIn Essentials, says 4 billion people searches were conducted in 2011. That’s great news if people can actually find you.
I recently had a LinkedIn coaching session with Emily Miller, LinkedIn tutor at Marshall Walker. Miller says ‘if the right keywords are not in your profile, you won’t be found by people looking for your skills and expertise.’
Miller suggests thinking about what phrases or words people would use to search for someone with your skill base. Then ensure you’ve added those key words to your:
past positions (if appropriate)
4. THEY HAVE A COMPLETED PROFILE: Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple and best-selling author, says ‘if you only enter basic information, such as your current employer and educational background, you’re not using LinkedIn to its fullest potential.’
He’s right. Users with completed profiles are 40 times more likely to get opportunities via LinkedIn.
Not sure how to complete your profile? Donna Serdula, author of LinkedIn Makeover: Professional Secrets to a Powerful LinkedIn Profile, has done an excellent blog post and podcast that can help.
5. THEY MAINTAIN THEIR PROFILE: LinkedIn aficionados don’t wait to be job-hunting to dust off their profiles. They keep up to date with what people in their network are up to, and they stay in touch. They also add connections and update their own LinkedIn profiles regularly. I have a coaching client who inputs all the people she has met that week every Friday afternoon – great habit!
LinkedIn-istas also get professional help in learning how to maintain, optimise and grow their profiles. Find tutors and workshops near you. In London, try Jorgen Sundberg’s workshops at Link Humans, or for private sessions, Emily Miller at Marshall Walker.
6. THEY HAVE (& GIVE) RECOMMENDATIONS: ‘LinkedIn is a living network of relationships, and it is a reputation engine. It’s an opportunity to connect with people and build business relationships,’ says best-selling author, Chris Brogan. Ask for recommendations from people you’ve worked with who can keep your reputation engine stoked. And offer recommendations to others who’ve impressed you.
Why? Recommendations allow others to blow your horn for you (brilliant), rather than having to do it yourself (risky and potentially off-putting). They also give you the chance to help others build their reputations.
7. THEY PERSONALISE THEIR REQUESTS TO CONNECT: If a key purpose of LinkedIn is to build strong relationships and to convey your personal brand, why, oh why, do so many people connect with the bog-standard, pre-fab text: ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn’?
An invitation to connect is a perfect opportunity to remind someone who you are – say you met at a conference, where the person may have met hundreds of people. It’s also an opportunity to be yourself, and to be genuine, which is what connection is all about.
What are your LinkedIn aficionado tips? Sharing is caring.
Like this? Next time, learn tips from senior managers (and interviewers) on what they notice about your personal brand.