The Ultimate Guide to Building a LinkedIn Profile — tips + examples
Forget about Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, LinkedIn is where the money is. LinkedIn is the biggest business to business social network in the world.
So if you want to be successful on LinkedIn than it’s important that you have a great LinkedIn profile.
In order to have a good profile we need to review 3 key factors.
First thing is your profile picture.
The importance of a profile picture cannot be overstated. This is the first thing people see when they view your profile, so it’s important to have one that represents you well and makes you stand out from the crowd.
On the basis of your profile picture people will want to connect to you or offer you business proposals or maybe offer you a job.
Now, if you don’t have a profile picture or if it’s outdated than you really have to work on that.
What do you need to have a good profile picture?
Well, first thing is that is has to be close up. Look into the camera, smile, have a neutral background and dress appropriately, wearing minimal jewellery and accessories and usually no headwear (unless culturally appropriate for you) and generally no sunglasses.
These are things to avoid in your profile picture.
Shades. This picture could work on Instagram but it’s not really suitable for LinkedIn. Sunglasses are not a good thing for your profile picture because they make you look less serious about what you’re doing and don’t present a great professional first impression of you.
Alcohol is absolutely not appropriate for this social networking site. No explanation needed I think.
This picture is fantastic for some social networks and makes the subject look fun and engaging, but it’s not right for LinkedIn.
These are actual existing profile pictures that can be found on Linkedin.
Now these pictures could work on Instagram but they are not really suitable for Linkedin because you need a professional look on Linkedin.
So how do you know that your profile picture is good?
You could ask colleagues or maybe friends but there’s another thing that you can do and that’s to use Photofeeler.com.
Photofeeler is a free online app. What it does is that professionals like you and me review your picture on the basis of three criteria: likability, influence and competence.
Now let me give you an example:
I logged in my existing LinkedIn profile and you can see people rate my picture as very competent and influential but as you can see I’m not considered very likeable.
So I uploaded another picture with a more genuine, authentic smile. I was sure it would improve things, and likability improved but not dramatically but my apparent competence and influence dropped.
I decided to stick to my original picture because to me on LinkedIn having an image of being competent and influential is far more important that being likable.
So, make sure to use Photofeeler.com and get the perfect profile picture!
Next is to also update your background picture on LinkedIn
Surprisingly few people use this for their own personal branding! More standard, by default you have like this blueish background image which is a little bit boring, or a corporate background from their current employer.
Your background is really easy to update and it really helps you to get an even more professional look on LinkedIn.
For instance here’s an example of Ann Handley, who has done a really great job with this.
She’s a digital marketing and content expert, plus best selling author and she communicates that perfectly! This is a great custom background picture for her.
The next thing you want to do is to have a look at your headline.
Your headline is the piece of text that comes below your name and you should start to consider your headline as an advert, the text of your own personal advert.
Your headline has to draw people in to your profile and make them want to read more about you.
By default LinkedIn uses your job title there (see the previous photos for examples). There’s nothing wrong with that but sometimes that can be a little bit boring, like marketing assistant or sales manager or whatever it might be.
There’s a simple rule that you can use to enhance to make your title better on LinkedIn.
And that’s to use your job function and company name + most important keywords + bonus factor.
Let’s explain what is meant by that. Of course you have your job title and then your company name but it’s also very important to add the important keywords because when people go on LinkedIn they often try to find certain profiles using the search function.
Armed with this knowledge, you should start to think of the keywords that you want people to be able to use to find you and incorporate those in your title.
For instance if you are a marketing manager or a marketing professional and you have experience with SEO or e-mail marketing then it’s important to use the words SEO and e-mail marketing in your title.
Now it’s time to add the bonus factor. That’s something that surprises people, that could be a conversation starter, that explains a little bit more what you stand for. In other words, it’s something to grab their attention with.
Let’s have a look at an example.
This is a great LinkedIn headline. It includes the most important keywords: like trainer and coach and communication and also the company name. The call to action / wow factor is: Helping people in their professional growth
Here’s another great headline from Tim Queen. He managed to get all the important keywords in the headline and make it attractive and interesting.
Third: you need to write a strong summary.
The summary is the piece of text that you can find below your title.
In your summary you can explain what your skills are, what your strengths are. For instance if you are a sales manager, then you can explain in your summary how you can help other people, how you can help businesses to grow or what solutions you can offer to them.
Another strong thing you can do is add social proof, which is a very powerful thing to include. You can add links to your website, to a blog, a slide show or presentation and you can even add YouTube videos there.
Here’s an extra bonus!
If you want you can leave the link to your LinkedIn profile in the comments here below and then I’ll be happy to review it and have a look at your profile and to give you some feedback and some tips on how to improve it.
Just leave the link to your LinkedIn profile here below.