No matter if you are using LinkedIn for your business or as a personal branding tool, the platform has a lot to offer you. At the end of 2016, this professional network had over 450 million registered users, and the number continues to grow steadily.
Still, as more and more users register, it is getting harder and harder to stand out in a noisy crowd. So, if you really want to boost your chances of getting noticed, here are our 7 top tips that may prove handy.
How To Create a Great LinkedIn Profile
1. Choose your profile and background photos carefully.
The trick to a successful LinkedIn profile is the careful balance between personal and professional.
Obviously, you have to use a real profile picture. You do not necessarily have to hire a professional photographer for that, but you do have to make sure your LinkedIn profile has a clear, presentable headshot of you.
Then, remember the background photo. You can use anything you like here—as long as it is professional and not too distracting. And, of course, the two pictures should match in terms of color and content.
For writers, consider using a shot of your latest book, or perhaps a literary-themed picture that you can find from a free stock website like Pixabay.
2. Make the tagline memorable.
A lot of professionals indicate their position and nothing else in this section. While this is technically acceptable, a bare job title does not make for the most impressive and memorable tagline.
This is the part where you can get a little more creative—maybe even use keywords relevant in your industry. After all, a LinkedIn profile is different from an APA style cover page—that is, it offers way more flexibility and does not have to follow a rigid set of rules.
If you’re on LinkedIn to build your author brand, consider targeting your tagline to your genre or audience. Treat it like you would the elevator pitch or tagline for your next book—make it memorable, engaging, and SEO-optimized to help attract the most attention.
3. Do not underestimate the summary.
The summary is the part of your profile where you highlight the most important things about yourself, your company, or your services.
Think of it as the synopsis of your entire profile—a kind of an abstract for it.
There are plenty of ideas on how you can make your summary stand out—bullet points, for example, are always a nice start. When working on a company profile, you should definitely consider highlighting the most important services your prospects can count on. The same goes for a personal LinkedIn profile.
4. Avoid clichés.
LinkedIn decreed war on buzzwords a year ago. Expertise, innovation, creativity—you’d better avoid all of those cliches, especially when writing your tagline and your summary.
Granted, this does not mean that these qualities should not be highlighted. Quite on the contrary, they should—but in a different manner. Depending on your industry, there may be a lot of ways to highlight your creativity without actually using the word “creative.”
Writers are inherently creative, so you can do without this word entirely in your author profile. Focus instead on your standout accomplishments in your genre—are you a bestseller? A leading expert in your topic? A groundbreaking author of crossover work about magical hedgehogs who fight crime? Highlight that!
5. Highlight achievements in the Work Experience section.
According to Forbes, LinkedIn is #60 on the list of top America’s employers. However, as a platform to communicate with hiring managers, it is way ahead of the line. So, it would be unwise not to brag about your professional accomplishments.
Think of the LinkedIn Work Experience section as your resume. Do not just enumerate your job responsibilities—focus on the results instead. After all, “developed a marketing strategy that boosts sales by 20% in a year” sounds way more impressive than simply “developing marketing strategies.” To put it simply, shoot to thrill.
Writers, emphasize your fan platform, or your bestseller status, or the number of books you’ve written…maybe your speaking engagements or other career highlights. These are all great ways to show off your prowess and proven results.
6. Manage your skills appropriately.
Skillset is another important part of your LinkedIn profile. Here, it is important to keep the golden balance between too few and too many. Somewhere between 10 and 15 skills seems to be a reasonable choice—but once again, a lot will depend on your industry and your professional experience. The more experienced you get, the more skills you can add to your profile.
BUT! Remember to keep the profile clutter-free and highlight skills and experiences that are most relevant for you today, and where you want to be in the near future.
7. Ask for recommendations.
Not too many LinkedIn profiles feature a lot of recommendations, which is a huge mistake—that is, if you plan to reach out to more people.
So, whenever you have a chance, do not be afraid to ask your former and/or present colleagues to give you a recommendation. Obviously, you cannot expect peers to just write you a review from the kindness of their hearts—offer to write recommendations for your colleagues as well.
Finally, remember that building a professional network is not just about writing a LinkedIn profile and then forgetting about it.
If you really want to reach out to people, you will have stay active: join groups, post content, engage in comments, etc.
Lately, the strategy of sharing long-form content has proved to be successful. However, if you plan to engage more people and reach out to larger audiences, you might want to try experimenting with different posts—both text-based and visual, like infographics, for example. A diverse posting strategy, together with a well-written and properly structured LinkedIn profile, will surely help you find new connections and strengthen your professional network.