A successful LinkedIn profile can result in a regular influx of leads. To make this possible, complete your entire profile, aligning it with your audience’s search behavior and interests. Then, make sure it is professionally laid out—including appropriate images, headshots, and graphics. For more guidance, read the 17 LinkedIn tips we collected below.
Here are 17 LinkedIn tips from the pros:
Post Content Daily
Allison Dunn, Owner & Executive Coach, Deliberate Directions
Having a profile doesn’t mean anything unless you use it to make connections. Share your expertise and knowledge through blogging and daily posts. I blog every week and post at least once a day, usually three or four times per day. In your daily posts, you can share business tips, educational information, videos, event notices, and inspirational quotes. A great way to reaffirm your connections on LinkedIn is to comment on the best posts you see and share your favorites with your connections.
2. Let Others Tell Your Story
Marilyn Maslin, Chief Talent Officer & Job Search Strategist, Resume Footprint
Even though it is located at the bottom of the page, your Recommendations section is extremely important. Recruiters and possible connections will scroll there to see what others have said about you. An empty section can give the impression that you don’t have a strong list of references. Ask your past and present colleagues to write a recommendation. This third-party validation can speak louder than any other section on your profile because the information is coming from other people.
3. Be Honest
Tom Buchok, Founder, Mailcharts
One thing that I always consider when creating a LinkedIn profile is that this is my window into the business world, so I have to provide an accurate description of my experience and activities. Many people find it way too easy to click a button and turn a bachelor’s degree into a master’s, but being dishonest about anything will create distrust from the very beginning. We live in a world where it is extremely simple to check facts. So, don’t lose out on potential opportunities by sensationalizing anything—ever.
4. Be Authentic—Even Vulnerable
Ryan Sprance, Founder & Chief Strategist, Kaihatsu Media
The most important thing to remember when it comes to LinkedIn is to be authentic. Far too many people use old style corporate headshots when that does not reflect their true personality. LinkedIn has changed over the last few years from a place that was great to upload your resume and connect with people you already knew, to a content marketing platform best used to showcase your skill set and upload valuable content to (shared with) other professionals in your industry. Authenticity, vulnerability, and creativity are the three most essential things to remember when trying to build a supportive following.
Jeff Steen, Marketing & Sales Managing Editor, Fit Small Business
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6. Create a Company Page & Add a Logo
Carol Kaemmerer, Executive Branding Expert & Author, CarolKaemmerer
If you are a small business owner, you need a LinkedIn company page—but perhaps not for the reason you might think. Once you have a LinkedIn company page, your business logo can appear on your personal profile and the profile of any of your employees. This is so important because without a logo, it looks like you have a hobby rather than a business.
7. Add a Professional Headshot & Cover Image
Ryan Underwood, Digital Marketing Executive, YourParkingSpace
When optimizing your LinkedIn profile, it is easy to stuff it full of experience and completely neglect the visual statement of your profile picture and cover photo. Your headshot must be clear and professional (preferably smiling as opposed to pulling a silly face). And you should choose a cover photo that is eye-catching and that also means something to you. This is a chance to show off your personality and make recruiters and employers notice.
8. Add Search Terms to Your Skills Section
Ricardo Velez, Content Associate, fundera
Add the keywords you want to appear in searches for in the Skills section of your profile. You can add up to 50, but I would avoid using all of them. Stick to keywords relevant to the industry you’re interested in.
9. Add Keywords to Your About Section
Michael Lewis, Creative Strategist, Active Web Group
Not only will your “About” section represent your profile, it will also serve as a beacon for people to find your profile on LinkedIn’s search feature. Be sure to add relevant keywords pertaining to your job and industry for better visibility. Also remember your LinkedIn profile is not your resume, so add a little personality to stand out!
10. Use Automation To Keep Your Contacts Engaged
Mark Miller, Marketing Director, Jordan Law
One tip that I use that garners a great deal of attention for my LinkedIn profile is in using automation to publish articles that are relevant to my area of expertise. For my profile, I use Buffer and IFTTT (If This Then That) to feed blog articles and relevant news stories from sources I read into my profile’s news feed. These services also automatically add relevant hashtags as well to ensure articles I share are more likely to show up in search. By utilizing these services, I have grown my reach and my network on LinkedIn.
11. Thoroughly Fill Out Your Profile
Kim Eastin, Fortune 500 Social Media Specialist, Upward Social Media
It’s a well-known fact that first impressions are everything and a LinkedIn profile is no exception. When you apply for a job or make a new contact, providing your LinkedIn profile gives the other person a snapshot of your work history, skills, strengths, and passions. Having all of the sections of your profile filled out completely is imperative! Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and let the world see what you are capable of.
12. Incorporate Keywords Into Your LinkedIn Headline
Diana Nino, Partnership Development Specialist, Fit Small Business
Emphasize keywords in your headline that would appeal to recruiters looking to fill your dream role. LinkedIn’s help center mentions this specifically and offers a suggestion on how to do this effectively when fitting it in with the rest of your profile’s keyword strategy. They write, “We suggest that you use multiple keywords instead of repeatedly using the same words or phrases.” LinkedIn will crawl your profile to suggest a headline based off your past experiences, though there’s flexibility to add much more detail than what is proposed. Make your headline your 120-character elevator pitch!
13. Know Your Audience
Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer, BeenVerified.com
What is your goal for creating a LinkedIn profile? For instance, are you attempting to draw HR managers to see your profile? Are you hoping to attract potential customers? Once you understand who your audience is, this will be an important tool for tailoring your profile to your target audience.
14. Focus on Your Professional Brand Within Your Industry
William Ratliff, Career Services Manager, Employment BOOST
When creating a profile, it is important to ensure that all your content reflects back on your professional brand. If you’re a startup business owner, a recent graduate, or even an industry professional returning to work for the first time in years, reduce your content down to make it relevant to your industry. Don’t include all your work experience, college positions, and volunteer work if it doesn’t enhance your desired brand. That bartending position from 2007 doesn’t help recruiters understand your ability to analyze financial data, and that 5K you ran to raise money for your sorority doesn’t show your interest in entering the fashion industry. Keep it clean, tight, and focused, and your profile (will be) ready.
15. Join Industry Groups
Andrei Vasilescu, CEO & Digital Marketing Specialist, DontPayFull
If you are a member of a LinkedIn business group or community, it is displayed in your LinkedIn business profile. Viewers and potential clients will likely be impressed to see you as a member of an authentic business group. This impression can drive clients to make new business deals with your small business.
16. Describe Unexpectedly-Gained Experience to Job Descriptions
Andrea Loubier, CEO, Mailbird
We all step into roles and learn things that we never expected would fall under our job description. Yet, those very things could make you very appealing to a potential employer or a mutual collaborator. Be sure to include them and don’t be afraid to elaborate on your experiences.
17. Avoid Jargon in Job Titles & Descriptions
Gertrude Nonterah Ph.D., Health Content Writer, GeeNonterah.com
Instead of calling yourself a fancy name that includes “strategist” or “expert,” tell people exactly what you have to offer them in your profile headline and in the About section. For instance, I have “Health Content Writer” in my profile headline and several related key phrases in my About section. I get picked up by recruiters searching for terms like “writer,” “medical writer,” and “Ph.D. writer” all the time.
Bonus Tip: Customize Your LinkedIn URL With Search Terms
G. Scott Graham, Career Coach, Business Coach, and Author, True Azimuth
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not creating a solid, search engine-optimized LinkedIn URL. They either don’t change it from the default created by LinkedIn when they initially signed up, or worse, they do change it and replace it with their name. Unless you have enough notoriety to warrant a Wikipedia entry, no one is searching for your name! Your LinkedIn profile URL should be composed of a geographic location plus a one or two-word phrase that people might type into a search engine if they were looking for someone who does what you do.
Bottom Line – LinkedIn Profile Tips
According to the pros, the best LinkedIn profiles are thoroughly filled out with valuable information presented in a personable way, optimized around industry search terms, have visual appeal, continually offer valuable information your audience can use to solve their problems, and focus on customer search behavior.
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