How to Stand Out from the Crowd on LinkedIn

In today’s article I provide you with a framework to decide how LinkedIn can serve you better and I’ll explore 5 key elements of your LinkedIn Profile that can help you stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn.

When was the last time you Googled yourself?

Next time you’re you’re at a friend’s place or the local library, I encourage you to grab a computer, google your name and see what comes up.

I’m hoping it’s your LinkedIn Profile, because it’s the biggest professional networking platform in the world, and where many important conversations can be started.

Your LinkedIn Profile is more than likely to be one of a number of touch-points that your potential stakeholders use to research you when they hear your name and want to know more about you!

But are you presenting the best version of you?

Australian LinkedIn User Members

Sensis data tells us that LinkedIn is used by 81% of large Australian businesses, 41% of medium and 35% of small businesses. It is not social media and the behaviours and etiquette are somewhat different to those you may be familiar with on Instagram and Facebook.

4 out of 5 Australian professionals use LinkedIn for many reasons, including:

  • to get their industry news
  • to learn from thinkers around the globe
  • to start new conversations
  • to continue conversations from conferences and events
  • to get a new job
  • to get a new client
  • to build connections
  • to add value to their community
  • and, occasionally to look up old lovers (a rookie mistake for those who have not turned their profile viewing options to anonymous)

Review Your Own LinkedIn Profile

How to maximise linkedin

If you have the LinkedIn App on your phone, or if you’re reading this article from your computer, now is a great time to look at your LinkedIn Profile so you can assess your LinkedIn profile as I share my tips with you.

The first, and most important way to better leverage LinkedIn is to decide the answer to these 2 questions:

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. Who are you trying to influence?

I do not ask these questions lightly. I want you to really think about your answers, and use this thinking to inform how you update your profile over the next little while. If you’d like our help, here’s our LinkedIn Profile Services.

I encourage you to consider your answers to these two questions as you review the following 5 elements of your profile.

1. LinkedIn Profile Photo

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A LinkedIn Profile with a photo gets 14x more views than one without a photo. You wouldn’t wear a paper bag over your head to a conference, so you should have a profile photo.

What do we find when we look at your photo? Is it you you enjoying your last holiday, or perhaps it’s you looking very sharp at a recent black tie event, and your partner has been cut out of the picture. Or maybe it’s a picture of you and your child or your dog, or fur baby, as some people like to call them. 

Please make sure you have a professional looking headshot photo that looks like you at work.

And what about your LinkedIn Profile background image?

You can add any copyright free image. Consider adding a background image that is consistent with your personal or organisational brand.  Deciding to have no background image may also be suitable, depending on your role and goals for LinkedIn.

Unsplash is a great source of copyright free photos and Canva is free software that allows you to customise the size of the background photo to LinkedIn’s image specifications.

2. LinkedIn Profile Headline

This is where you have 120 words below your name to describe yourself. This section is highly searchable, so think ‘keywords’ when you craft this section.

The default headline is your role title and first company listed in your experience section. Take some time to look at other industry leaders and see what they’ve written in their profile headline.

And if you don’t want them to see you looking, avoid that rookie mistake and change your viewing options to anonymous in your privacy settings.

3. LinkedIn Profile Summary

This is the next section of your profile and often missed, or worse, a cut and paste from people’s resumes. Your LinkedIn Profile is not your resume. It’s you, and if you can imagine LinkedIn is a virtual room, this means writing about you in the first person, as if you were introducing yourself.

First person means you, talking about you, so bring your personality to the summary and give the reader a sense of who you are, what you do, what you believe and the problems you solve for your community.

You have 2000 characters to give people a sense of your professional approach and to learn more about you. And remember that once someone’s connected to you, they may never read your profile summary again. So really give some thought to those two key questions when you write your summary.

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. Who are you trying to influence?

And if you’re brave enough, step into your power and showcase some of your fabulous achievements.

4. LinkedIn Profile Education Section

Please take the time to list your educational institutions correctly, so LinkedIn can recommend other alumni to you.

And as a side note – I encourage you to be connected with everyone you know and have worked and studied with. Connections are not necessarily your friends and being connected to someone does not mean you endorse their skills.

Re-order your education and list the most relevant qualification first, as this is also now featured in the top section of your profile. I recommend you list your undergraduate, post graduate, diploma and certificate qualifications in the education section.

5. LinkedIn Profile Recommendations

characteristics for work

Recommendations are as powerful as a client testimonial on your website or a written reference on your CV. If your recommendations are more than 3 years old, it’s time to ask the most senior and relevant people (based on your goals for LinkedIn) to recommend you.

You need to be connected with them on LinkedIn to do this. Recommendations are like social proof or a product review and shows that other people think you’re wonderful too!

I’ve shared two key questions to ask yourself bout your goals for LinkedIn and explored 5 key elements that will help you stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn. It’s now time to take action!