Your LinkedIn profile is the equivalent of attending a networking meeting.  It’s your first ‘meeting’ with potential contacts so you want to make a good impression.

1: Make sure your ‘name badge’ just has your name on it – you don’t need your job title, the letters after your name or even a title like ‘Dr’ or ‘Sir’, unless you want someone to address you by your title.  If you met someone at a live networking event, how would you introduce yourself?  Dr Phillip Groves or Phil Groves?

2: Ensure your headshot is just a headshot, so people will recognise you even when you appear as a tiny avatar.  Look right into the camera and smile.  Aim for friendly and approachable – you want people to talk to you, don’t you?  Don’t frighten them off with a forbidding stare.

3: Take the time to write a summary – and it should be written in the first person.  This is your personal profile, not a biography.  Third person sounds rather pompous!  So I and me, not he and him or she and her

Your summary is an opportunity to engage your visitor.  Think about what they will be attracted by.  Clearly this depends on what you want your summary to do.  If you’re a business owner it might promote your business, if you’re a job-hunter it might be more about your experience and projects you’ve worked on.

TIP:  You have 2000 characters to play with to write your summary.  That’s quite a bit of text so always put line spaces between the paragraphs to make it easier for people to read. 

Also add headlines to re-engage people who have read some of the first paragraph and not connected with it.  Another headline after a paragraph or two may pull their eye back to the text and maybe they’ll find something more interesting to them further down.  A new headline every 2-3 (short) paragraphs is a good practice.

4: Complete your experience.  If you’re job-hunting then key skills and experience should appear here.  If you’re a business owner it’s an opportunity to give an overview of what the business offers as well as your role in its development.

5: Add value:  You can add projects, education, volunteer experience, publications and more.  The more you have on your profile, the more potential employers or clients will engage with you.

Don’t forget to add articles and updates too.  Articles don’t have to be long – but should be relevant to your professional situation – LinkedIn is business-focused.  This doesn’t mean you can’t write in a conversational style, just that you should consider what you share carefully.

If you need help making LinkedIn work for you – drop me a note.