There are 3 reasons why you should optimise your profile.
The 1st reason is to increase how well you come up in search on LinkedIn and beyond when potential clients, employers or recruiters are looking for someone with your skills and experience.
The 2nd reason is that when someone you know mentions your name and suggests a colleague looks you up, LinkedIn is probably one of the first places they will research you. You therefore want to optimise your profile to make sure all of the information is relevant and current when people are researching you on LinkedIn.
The 3rd, and less important, but still relevant reason why you should optimise your profile is because the more information you provide LinkedIn about yourself, the more information LinkedIn has about you to make suggestions for people, companies and articles you might like to follow or read on LinkedIn.
And you just never know how these suggestions from LinkedIn might help you in the future.
Key Areas of Your LinkedIn Profile to Optimise
Some of the key areas of your LinkedIn Profile I recommend you optimise include:
LinkedIn Profile Headline
Your LinkedIn Profile headline defaults to your current role and organisation. I recommend you take control of the headline feature and use it to describe what you do and your specialties. You have a 120 character limit. Do not feel you need to use all of this space. Here is an example from my LinkedIn Profile.
LinkedIn Profile Summary Section
The LinkedIn Profile summary section is often overlooked on LinkedIn and is your opportunity to tell the story of who you are, including:
- your experience
- highlights from your career so far
- the type of things you are interested in
- goals you would like to achieve as they relate to your professional goals
LinkedIn reports that a summary of 40 words or more makes it more likely to show up in search. You may also like to consider calling out your specialities for keyword search. Remember that people can only see the first few lines, so make sure you use this top section wisely to encourage people to click through and read more about you.
[bctt tweet=”LinkedIn reports that a summary of 40 words or more makes it more likely to show up in search.” username=”thinkbespoke”]
This section is not a cut and paste of your professional summary in your resume, it is more like a bio, or About Us section from a website or company report, and should be written in the first person. This means you writing about you!
The key is to make sure we get a sense of your personality and how you approach your working life, not just your skills and experience. You have 2000 characters to use in this section. You do not need to use all of this space.
It is also worth considering a call to action, such as ‘I invite you to connect’ or adding links to your website or relevant professional portfolios or projects demonstrating examples of your work.
LinkedIn Profile Experience Section
The experience section is where you provide an overview of what you do / did in your current and previous roles. For business owners you may like to tell a brief story of why you established the business, the story so far and list some of your key services. For career professionals you may like to provide an outline of your responsibilities, including how many people report to you, the geographic scope of your role and the types of clients you work with or the industry or type of work you do.
Again, this section is not a cut and paste of your resume, but if you do have a well written CV or resume you can use some of this wording, especially the top 3 key achievements for your current and past roles.
Also ensure you have the organisation listed correctly. If the company has a LinkedIn company page, this allows you to feature their logo, and readers can click on the logo to find out more about the organisation. It also means you don’t need to include too many details about the organisation in the experience section, especially if it is well known.
LinkedIn Profile Education Section
The education section is where you can feature your relevant and more recent education, and is where I recommend you include any undergraduate, post graduate, certificate and diploma qualifications. You could be forgiven for thinking you can only add your university education here. While LinkedIn does also provide a Certification section, which is relevant if you have specific industry based certifications, I like to see your education housed in one section as I think it flows better for the reader. I also like that you can re-order this section. Remember that the first entry is what will appear on the right hand side of your LinkedIn profile below your background image. Please see an example below to further explain what I mean by this.
Here is the order I have listed my qualifications in the education section of my LinkedIn Profile.
LinkedIn Profile Skills
You can add a maximum of 50 skills to the skills section of your LinkedIn Profile. Once you’ve added a skill, these can be validated by 1st-degree connections to reinforce their weighting. These are called skill endorsements, which are different than recommendations. When a connection endorses your skills, it acts as social proof (someone other than you saying you’ve demonstrated these skills) and can contribute to the strength of your profile, and increases the likelihood that you’ll be discovered for opportunities related to the skills you possess.
Depending on your settings, you don’t need to request a skill endorsement in order to receive one. By default, when a connection endorses one of your skills you’ll receive a notification. You can visit your Settings and Privacy to turn this notification off. To learn more about this feature please read my article How to Take Control of Skills and Endorsements on Your LinkedIn Profile.
Final Thought on Optimising Your LinkedIn Profile
Don’t forgot to add a professional headshot image and a relevant background image to help tell your professional story on LinkedIn. For more information about what to consider with your LinkedIn Profile photo, please read this article 10 Tips for Perfecting Your LinkedIn Profile Picture. For information on how to add a background image, please read this article How to Add a Background Image to Your LinkedIn Article.
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