A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about the importance of having a LinkedIn profile, no matter what industry you’re in. Building and maintaining an effective profile is easier said than done, however. The best profiles are detailed, dynamic, and up to date – no easy task. In this post, we’ll show you seven areas of your profile that you should focus on to set yourself apart on LinkedIn. We’ll go roughly in order from top to bottom as you look at your profile.
What’s in a Name?
LinkedIn will automatically assign you a URL by default, but it will be pretty ugly – your name combined with a bewildering array of letters and numbers. Fortunately, you can customize this to whatever you want, as long as your preferred URL isn’t already in use. We recommend using just your name, if possible, to assist LinkedIn’s search algorithms with finding your profile. Another idea is to use this spot as a branding opportunity and include a few words about what sets you apart.
Put Your Best Face Forward
Your profile picture is more important than you think. First and foremost, make sure you have one! Profiles with photos are viewed far more often than those without – anything is better than nothing. However, don’t settle for a grainy candid from a family picnic a few years back. Use a high quality recent photo with a clean, non-distracting background. Make sure you’re wearing attire that’s appropriate for your industry and position and that your face and hair are clean and groomed. A professional headshot is best, but any photo taken with a high-quality camera in good lighting will do.
Extra, Extra, Read All About It!
Your profile headline is the first thing viewers will read about you, and it’s important to make a good first impression. You only get 120 characters, so make ‘em count! Go beyond the standard LinkedIn prompt of your current job title and company – this doesn’t stand out at all. Instead, choose a catchy, relevant tagline that advertises the skills you possess and the results you achieve. Keep it short, descriptive, and jargon-free for maximum appeal.
Who Are You, Really?
The summary section of your profile is for those viewers who are interested in learning more about what you bring to the table. Use keywords that you think searchers would use to find people like you, and sprinkle them in early and often. Like your headline, this is one of the first sections viewers will read – it pays to make it perfect. Ask your mentor, boss, or another industry professional you look up to for keyword advice, and have them read and edit your draft before you publish.
The Past is Important
Although parts of it may seem like ancient history, updating your work experience with former employers is just as important as keeping your current information up to date. Treat this section of your profile like your resume – showcase what you’ve done in succinct, dynamic bullet points and be sure to link to the company’s LinkedIn page (if they have one) so viewers can do further research. You will also have the chance to share projects you’ve worked on, papers you’ve written, and presentations you’ve created. Make use of these features to create a rich and full picture of your work history.
Come Highly Recommended
Although somewhat overshadowed by the newer “Skills” section, recommendations from former colleagues and employers are still an important part of a complete LinkedIn profile. Politely ask old managers and office mates to write recommendations for you, with content similar to what they would put in a formal letter of recommendation. They should highlight your strengths and mention specific achievements and results you’ve attained.
Toot Your Own Horn
Toward the bottom of your profile you will see a section that asks you to list the skills and qualifications you have. While it may seem awkward at first, don’t be afraid to build a robust list of the job skills and traits you possess. The list itself isn’t enough, however. You’ll need endorsements from your connections in order to build credibility. The simplest way to get these is just to ask. Send a LinkedIn message to a connection who is qualified to comment on a certain skill and ask for an endorsement. It’s low effort for them and high reward for you.
No More Business as Usual
Whether you’re searching for a new job or simply looking to make more connections in your field, a robust LinkedIn profile is essential. It shows commitment to your professional brand and an awareness that small details can have a big impact. Choose your business’s partners and vendors with the same care – especially your credit card processor. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you what sets us apart from the rest of the industry.
PS – Wondering about credit card minimums for your business? We can help.
PPS – You can still switch credit card processors, even with a contract. Here’s how.