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Do’s & Don’ts When Creating a LinkedIn Profile…

When creating a LinkedIn profile…

Today LinkedIn has become the largest business focussed search engine where individuals & businesses have access to an amazing array of services and opportunities. Services include, opportunities where you can find the next job, new employees to hire, locate new businesses to partner with, find highly targeted leads to sell to and network with the current ‘thought leaders’ of our generation – And did I mention that this is all ‘Free’; absolutely outstanding… WOW…

Without doubt, LinkedIn is the most powerful social media application that is available to business professionals today.

However, don’t be confused, LinkedIn is not like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or any other social media platform! It is business focused and for the serious professional!

Read on to discover our 11-steps to a successful business Profile on LinkedIn

Some LinkedIn stats you may not know

  •  LinkedIn currently has 570 million connections and is in over 200 countries and territories across the world.
  • LinkedIn is growing at the rate of two new sign-ups per second.
  • 87% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to help find and vet job candidates.
  • 70% of LinkedIn Connections are from outside of America

‘The LinkedIn profile page is the foundation for your personal marketing.’

Being found by the right people at the right time

Having a professional, eye-catching LinkedIn personal profile is essential in today’s fast paced Global market place. It is simply a ‘must’ to ensure that you can be easily found by the right people at the right time!

Think of your LinkedIn personal profile as a proactive mini website promoting and representing your business career and ambitions. Personally branded; providing an insight to your professional background, achievements and skillset. LinkedIn is the modern equivalent of an electronic business card, Curriculum Vitae and photo all rolled into one easily to locate, online searchable profile!

It is therefore curial that your personal branding, marketing and communications must be succinct, to the point, targeted and above all professional. Your LinkedIn personal profile is simply too important to allow a half-arsed, poorly constructed attempt in representing you!

I have noticed that there is an extremely low threshold of tolerance for unprofessional posts, comments and general behaviour on LinkedIn! The damage that can be done by a poorly thought out, constructed and promoted LinkedIn profile is considerable and hard to recover from!

While your profile is all about you and your business ambitions, hopes and dreams. In one sense it’s not about you at all! Your profile is your personal brand & marketing to others and as such you need to invest a lot of time and resource in building, establishing and positioning your brand.

So how much time and resource have you actually invested into your LinkedIn Profile so far?

It's not enough to just have a LinkedIn page. You need a great LinkedIn profile that draws attention, says the right things, and helps you really connect and engage with the right audience that can help further expand and advance your career and business goals!

With so many people on LinkedIn, all trying to get noticed for career advancement and job prospects; it is highly likely that your career & business success well revolve around your professional & marketable LinkedIn Personal Profile.

Filling out a profile isn’t difficult, but there are some important best practices you should follow to make sure yours is as powerful as possible.

Some suggested key do’s & don’ts

1. Start with a Professional Photo. Your profile picture is your calling card. If you don’t have a professional headshot, then get one! I suggest that it is absolutely important to have a clean, professional looking snapshot and that it should be upgraded regularly. And smile - A photo that says I’m friendly, approachable and professional will do your profile wonders!

I am staggered by the number profiles that I encounter that have no photo posted – these profiles suggest to me that these individuals are not professional, are not serious about their career, their current role and their current employer!

Your photo draws attention to your professional persona and draws attention and sets the scene for your profile. Once again, I’m staggered by the amount of unprofessional photo’s that are of the children, the car, the wife or the latest holiday snap – What do you think these types of photo’s say about you as a serious professional; I’m ready to do business or I’m looking for a new role ‘Hardly’! Remember that your photo is first impression with a potential client or new employer. So, what does your profile photo say about you???

2. Like any Career Plan. Getting the most out of LinkedIn is a process. If you think that you can just join and it will magically change your career, job or business prospects, then you’re dreaming. LinkedIn should be viewed as part of your career plan & professional development and, just like anything it will take a serious amount of investment in time, commitment and resource in order to see any favourable return. Therefore, your LinkedIn profile needs to be thought out, reviewed, updated, targeted and promoted regularly.

A well-constructed profile should change to reflect where you are within your career plan. If your current role is with a great company and going well then, your profile should reflect this. If, however you are looking for a career change and new role then change your profile to reflect this. These two types of profiles are vastly different – In this regard, be dispassionate and think in the third person about what your profile is highlighting and the message it is conveying and then position your communication, marketing and brand accordingly!

3. Add a Background Photo or Banner. Your background photo is the second visual element at the top of your profile page. It grabs people’s attention, sets the context and shows a little more about what matters to you.

If your profile is currently geared towards your current role and company then perhaps this would be a good time to change your profile banner to align with your company, using approved company marketing collateral.

The benefits here are two-fold; One, your helping to promote to potential company clients. And two, you are highlighting to management that you are a team player, focused and determined to meet personal KPI’s… Remember your profile background or banner helps your page stand out, engages attention and helps leave a lasting impression!

4. Make your Headline stand out. By default, LinkedIn populates your headline with your job title and current company, but you don’t have to leave it that way. Consider listing your specialty and speaking directly to your audience. If you want your profile to be searchable, include important keywords! Once again, keep your headline succinct, to the point, targeted and professional.

5. Summary & Role Descriptions. These statements are too important to get wrong so take the time to craft a professional and accurate description of your career and previous roles!

This is your opportunity to ‘Sell Yourself’…

Remember there is nothing wrong with self-promotion, in fact that is exactly the whole point of your LinkedIn Profile! So be bold – It’s not selfish or egotistical to market ourselves. If this is something you struggle with, then maybe illicit the help from family or a colleague that is well versed with your current role and career! The key here is NOT to sell ourselves short. Above all you must be accurate & honest. Remember your career is pretty much an open book and very easily verified with some very quick internet searches!

In crafting your profile summary and role descriptions, I strongly suggest that these statements need to be written in the first person while keeping in mind who your audience is. With each statement you write, consider who you are hoping will read it, and what are you hoping they will take away.

Prior to posting on your profile, have these statements proofread by someone gifted in communication. There is nothing worse than reading someone’s profile Summary and finding it riddled with spelling and grammar errors!

Remember, you also have an opportunity here to add media files, videos and links to relevant sites so if you are a speaker, presenter or in marketing & sales then an introduction video or video promoting your products or services could be a great promotional idea.
Note. LinkedIn provide up to three URL’s you are allowed on your profile. The key with this opportunity is use discretion and keep it professional…

6. Fill out as much of the Profile as possible. That includes skills, volunteer associations, education, etc... This is the place to highlight all your interesting accomplishment’s, showing that you are a well-rounded individual.

7. Keep your Work History Relevant. Once again, think about your target audience. You don’t need to list every single job you ever had. Instead, only provide content and details of the roles that are relevant to your current career and business goals!

8. Recommendations. Endorsements can be a great way to show off your skills. All endorsements should be from connections that you have professionally interacted or worked with. There is nothing worse than finding that someone’s skill endorsements are padded with people that you have had little to no communication with! While endorsements are great; recommendations are the currency of the realm on LinkedIn. Reach out to past colleagues, managers, and associates and ask that they write you a recommendation.

9. Invitation Requests to Connect. LinkedIn is for professional’s so firing off thousands of connection invitations to people you don’t know is the hallmark of someone who believes in quantity over quality – It’s a shotgun approach and I suggest not focused, targeted or professional. Once again, I have noticed that there is an extremely low tolerance for this type nonsense on LinkedIn – Simply put, Don’t Do It!!!

10. Status Updates, Articles, Sharing & Likes.  These are crucial in highlighting that you are current and engaged within your industry and on LinkedIn. Showing a history of engagement can help you show clients, management and recruiters that you are focused and a ‘thought leader’ within business and your industry.

Professional writings, especially those that wind up in journals dedicated to your field or those that make it into high profile publications should be showcased on your LinkedIn profile.

Your Sharing & Likes are great and help to show that you are engaged and well read. However, it is just the starting point. When you add comments to your shares, you give yourself greater prominence within the feed and expressing your opinion as to why you think a particular piece of content matters. Well-expressed comments also enable you to reach a wide audience. It might be that you don’t necessarily agree with a point of view but still find it interesting. A well thought out and professional comment expressing your viewpoint further helps to highlight and establish you as thought-leader. It’s also more likely to raise your profile across LinkedIn.

11. Be Engaging, Approachable, Warm, Welcoming & Professional. No matter whether it’s your summary, descriptions, comments or articles that you post. Consider your audience; there is nothing wrong with a strong even confrontational piece of communication. However, are you trying to include your audience in the conversation? Do you encourage feedback, Likes and Shares? Have you crafted a professional and engaging piece of communication creating a great impression and helping to enhance your business reputation or have you cobbled together a pompous and longwinded piece of nonsense that highlights you to be nothing more than a pretentious prat?!

It shouldn’t matter what LinkedIn communication you are crafting. The rule is simple, be professional, consistent, engaging, highlight facts as opposed to opinion, be succinct and to the point. Keep your communications on message and in line with all of your other professional materials, but realise that LinkedIn is a platform designed for interaction.

Fantastic LinkedIn functionality

In conclusion I believe the vast majority of LinkedIn members don’t utilise or take advantage of the incredible opportunities and powerful tools available to them in assisting with the construction of a highly visible, easy to find Professional LinkedIn Personal Profile!

For those Professionals utilising the fantastic LinkedIn functionality provided for self-promotion, marketing and branding - Congratulations because you are well ahead of the curve and now have a distinct competitive advantage over your peers and competition - it’s just that simple!

Our LinkedIn specialist

I’m Craig Marsh the LinkedIn Specialist with Optimum Marketing Ltd.I provide individuals and companies with LinkedIn services to enhance their reach and marketing impact. I'm passionate about helping Individuals & Businesses flourish by applying real world knowledge and expertise to your LinkedIn marketing.

I hope you have enjoyed my article. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.If you have found this article helpful then I would greatly appreciate a Like & or a Share…

If you would like more information or a helping hand with LinkedIn, then, pick up the phone, dial my mobile phone number 61 4755 09160 and we can have a chat. Or, if you prefer, send me an email.

Kind regards,
Craig Marsh.