LinkedIn is an essential tool for promoting your personal and professional brand. Think of it as a virtual rolodex that has search capabilities, specially tailored newsfeeds, and several different avenues of communication with your connections.
In an increasingly digitized world, people take advantage of accessible information, particularly with potential business opportunities. Research has become so commonplace and streamlined that it hardly feels like research anymore.
LinkedIn profiles appear in web searches for business, people, projects, skills, and expertise. Your LinkedIn profile may very well be the first encounter that a potential customer or business partner has with your company.
It is imperative to establish and promote a professional message with your LinkedIn profile and to maximize your search engine results. Whether you need an overhaul of your entire profile, or you only need to make a few revisions, the following tips will help your profile stand out from the masses.
The Big Three:
Profile Picture: We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In the case of profiles, this is certainly true. Your profile picture is the first aspect that people notice, and whether you like it or not, people will form immediate assumptions about you based on your image. Keep the following points in mind when selecting your profile picture:
- Professional and simple, with minimal background distractions.
- Use a current photo of yourself.
- Smile genuinely and warmly.
- Avoid busy prints or patterns.
- No one else should be in the frame with you.
- Dress how you would for an interview or an important meeting.
Custom URL: Your URL resides right below your profile picture. While the default is a stream of random numbers and letters, you can customize this URL to whatever you would like. I recommend using a simple combination of your first and last name, or first initial and last name, if available. You can include this URL on your business cards and email signature. It makes it that much easier for your clients and prospects to find you. Follow these simple steps to change your URL:
- Move your cursor over “Profile” at the top of your homepage and select “Edit Profile.”
- Click “Edit” next to the URL under your profile picture.
- In the bottom right corner, in the “Your public profile URL” box, click “Customize your public profile URL.”
- Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
- Click “Set Custom URL.”
Custom Headline: Your headline is one of the most important features of your entire profile, and most people don’t even realize that you can change it! The default setting is your current position and company, but it is advantageous to change it to something more catchy, creative, and informative. Be sure to include important keywords in your headline, as these terms show up in Google searches! Here are some examples:
- “Account Executive” to “IT Infrastructure, Disaster Recovery, & Business Continuity Professional”
- “Marketing Representative” to “Writer-Turned-Marketer specializing in Social Media, Documentation, and Web Editing”
Your LinkedIn Profile Picture, URL, and Headline are undoubtedly the most important features of your profile, as they are the first aspects that people see, even before they decide whether or not to view your full profile. In addition to making your profile easier to find, these simple customizations will instantly make your profile more engaging, relevant, and effective.