Use these 4 simple tips to improve your Linked In profile
‘I think it’s time to update my CV.’
I was having lunch with an ex work colleague and mentioned that it was time to start exploring new career opportunities.
Then she said something that I wasn’t expecting
‘Don’t bother with a CV, just update your Linked In profile then you won’t have to apply for jobs, they’ll contact you.’
I was a little surprised. Not apply for jobs?
When I was younger and inexperienced I adopted the spray model. That is I would send off my CV untargeted to any job that mentioned the word marketing. (since then I have had to sift through CVs to hire people so I still cringe about it now).
Over the years, I had refined my CV and learned to create targeted versions that were tailored to the roles that were right for me.
But when looking for a new job, this could take a lot of time and effort to create. If I could have people contact me for roles that were perfect for me, then I was sold.
She gave me a couple of tips and sent me on my way, telling me to take a look at her profile, then try to write my own version.
I made some changes and I immediately saw a difference. More people were looking at my profile and I was starting to get messages from people. (edit: at the time I was working in a new, growth area that had a skills shortage so that definitely helped). Years later and I still get viewed often on Linked In, and I am contacted by recruiters frequently.
Since I saw such success with mine, every time someone talks to me about their career or looking for new opportunities – either personal or for their business, I tell them to update their Linked In profile. I give the same tips I was given, plus some of my tricks that I have learned along the way.
These are the four areas that I believe had the biggest impact on me being more findable on Linked In.
1. Update your personal link
You can see my personal link is /katrinariddle
This one is a quick one but well worth it. Your link is a mixture of letters and numbers, it is very hard to remember I am surprised by how few people actually update their personal link. I have always been terrible at carrying and handing out business cards, having my personal link means I can easily provide my details to someone.
To update your personal link first click on ‘me’ in the top navigation bar, then click on ‘view profile’
Then on the right hand panel click on ‘edit your profile’.
Then click on the edit pencil next to your current link.
This also benefits you from a search engine point of view. Linked in pages often rate quite highly in Google search results, a personalised URL will help with ranking. Be aware though after you make the change to your URL it could take a day or two to update so just check back if it isn’t updated straight away.
If you search for yourself in Google, your LinkedIn entry will usually be one of the top three.
2. Make sure you have a professional photo
It is worth taking a professional photos. I recently got mine taken. Because i am getting married soon I combined my makeup trial with some professional headshots that my wonderful make up artist, Christina Cleary, took for me. She was fantastic and made me feel really confident and comfortable. I was quite hopeless with following direction when posing but she was very patient and determined to get wonderful shots of me. I am really happy with the end result and I have had work colleagues comment on how good they look already.
A professional photo adds a world of difference to a LinkedIn page.
Think of all the places it can show up on the internet, Facebook, Linked In, your blog, other blogs, anywhere you’re published, email profiles, About me on your website, Instagram the list is endless. My previous profile photo on Linked In was taken at my sister’s hens day, I also have used that at several jobs when they’ve asked for shots of me (At Microsoft it was used in our company chat, and at LIDA it is used for pitches and on my email). Looking at my previous and new photo, you can definitely see the difference!
My original LinkedIn profile photo
New and improved professional photo
While professionally taken photos looks great, you can ask a friend or partner to take a professional photo for you and still get an amazing result. My friend’s partner takes hers all of the time, and they always look fantastic.
If you’re going to take it on your iPhone here are a couple of things to consider:
Google professional photos and have a look at what other people are doing. Try to find poses that you think will suit you, and your personality, I think three poses that I see over and over are arms crosses, casual lean and hand on hip (maybe more for females than males though). You want to feel comfortable because that will come through in the photos. If I get more taken in the future I would consider outdoor shots as well.
Good lighting can make a world of difference. If you have good natural lighting at home, this could be the best place to take your photos, face the light but make sure it’s not too bright because you don’t want to be squinting.
Have at least 3 outfits to change into, and make sure they are outfits that won’t date easily. I think plain colours work best for that, I love crazy patterns and wear them every day but they do tend to date quicker so if you use them you may find yourself needing to take more in the near future. I took a formal one with a blazer on, I love the photo it looks great but at this point in time it isn’t suitable to my image. I feel it makes me look like a lawyer and it isn’t how I regularly dress. It may come in handy in the future but I wish I had a more casual outfit too. It’s best to keep your outfits simple, if you have a colour that really suits you wear an outfit in that colour.
Above all make sure you feel comfortable and let your personality show through too.
3. Create your own headline
Most people don’t update their headline on Linked In, which means it defaults to your job title and your company name. Job titles don’t really tell the full story of your skills and what you can do, also if someone is searching for a skill and someone has it in their headline (which shows in the search results) people are more likely to click on it. Let’s face it people are busy, and anything that makes someone’s job quicker is usually a winner.
If you want to see what other’s are doing in your industry search in Linked In for your field or job title. Surprisingly when doing this so few people have actually updated their headline so it is a really quick and easy way to stand out.
For mine, I decided to use keywords to describe the things I do or want to be approached about:
Enter keywords into your headline.
Currently there is a 120 character limit on Linked In for your headline, so keywords work quite well. My goal is that if someone searches for an expert in ‘customer experience’ that I will come up and the same for all of the other keywords I have selected.
If you run your own business you might prefer to use a sentence describing what you do and how you help your customers. For example I could say
‘marketing strategist with a passion for helping small businesses with their digital and customer marketing’. This tells what I do, and what I offer.
Go to linked In and search for people, put a key word in the search bar, something like “customer experience” you can see that the headline is the first indication you have of what someone does and whether you want to explore further by clicking on their profile.
4. Include a summary
My summary isn’t perfect by far, it is probably time to update it with some new accomplishments but since adding it I have definitely seen a difference in the number of people viewing my profiling or writing to me about opportunities.
Some information you should include in your summary are accomplishments, for example did you save your company a significant amount of money by doing something better, or did you roll out a new project that had a big impact on the business, were you responsible for winning key pieces of business? If possible try to back these up with numbers such as the amount you saved the business, or the value the new business was to your organisation.
If you have a skill or knowledge that is unique or sets you apart from others this is a great place to include it. It’s always a good idea to differentiate yourself and stand out. It’s basic marketing really, what is your USP?
Values and passions are another thing you can include in your summary, articulate what gets you up in the morning, what do you love to do more than anything else. What are you principles and what do you stand for?
As you can see by my profile below, I talk in the first person. It’s really up to you if you use first or third, but when I look at third person, I always think did you write that about yourself or did you get someone else to? I think first person is more personable and you can weave more of your personality through your story.
By providing a summary of your experience using keywords related to your field means you’ll be found more often on Linked In
How can this help your business?
If you’re a small business chances are your personal brand and business brand are intertwined. I think particularly if you’re a freelancer or consultant having a great Linked In profile is important. There are many times in business where I’ll look up someone before I do business with them, I’ll even look up clients at work to get a feel for their work background and what their experience is.
In a world with so much information, authenticity is really important. Your clients or customers want to know who their potentially working with and what your work ethic is like so even if you’re not a freelancer or consultant, I think it is important to update your Linked In profile. You could even create a business one and link yours to it as the founder or CEO. Your linked In profile is an extra way that you can create a personal connection with your clients or customers, and I can’t stress the importance of that highly enough.
So go ahead get started today and see what impact it has for you.