10 Tips To Set Up A LinkedIn Professional Profile

With more than 575 million users – 40% of which are on the platform daily – LinkedIn can be a valuable tool to help you build your brand, rank your name on Google, demonstrate your knowledge, credibility, and leadership expertise, gain social proof for your skills and talents, and most of all, network, network, network.

The posting is easy. Blogs. Testimonials. Accomplishments. But the profile is hard. There’s so much to it! We’ve written before on building a great LinkedIn profile. New features have been added since that column so “Refresh and Expansion!” 10 tips to set up a LinkedIn professional profile:

1. Add A Professional Profile Picture

Put a face to your name and remember, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That first impression (visual beings that we are) starts with your profile picture.

Tips to a good profile picture: professional, clear, recent and looks like you, close-up head shot not a long-distance image, wear what you would like to wear to work, and smile with your eyes!

Brandon has a great profile picture. Professional. Close up. Well lit.

Pick on my buddy Jonathan. Not the best profile picture. He and his family are in the distance and can’t see him at all.

Mike I don’t know what you’re doing here! Breaking in or sneaking out?

What is the no-no the three have in common? NO background photo!

2. Add A Background Photo

Facebook calls it a “cover image.” LinkedIn’s background photo is the other visual element to your profile page. It too grabs people’s attention. Additionally it shows your profession or personality or portfolio. Make sure it is sized properly.

LOVE what Mandy did! She owns the bowling alley so of course it shows bowling lanes and even has the Center name.

3. Write An Eye-catching Headline

It’s more than just a job title. How do you see your role? Why you do what you do? What makes you tick? What value do you add? Your headline is positioned right below your name on your LinkedIn profile and will be the first thing profile visitors read. You have 120 characters to work with, so write more than “account executive.” Think of it as your elevator speech: Advertising Coach that helps clients create winning strategies. More than 200 successful clients. In that you’ve shared your job, your value proposition, and credibility.

4. Craft An Interesting Summary – Your Story

Many people leave this field blank. Others cut and paste from their resume. This is your chance to tell your own story. Don’t just list skills. Bring to life why those skills matter – and the difference they can made to people you’ve worked with. Add statistics, multimedia attachments like videos and work samples.

Key – keywords are crucial here so use words that help you connect in your field.

Tip – You have 2,000 characters to work with but attention spans are short so keep it to 1,000 or less.

Here’s a great example:

“As an information security analyst at Acme Hospital System in Sacramento, I manage the day-to-day flow of information into and out of five hospitals and two emergency centers. With a focus on database management, my job ensures critical computer systems, medical files, and patient history remain active and never fail. My team and I stay updated on the latest trends in information security to not only keep Acme Hospital System safe but also on the cutting edge.”

5. Highlight Your Experience

Yes, it’s your resume, but be creative. Include the jobs that you deem relevant to what a client or customer will find valuable. Use two to four interesting and impressive bullet points for each job you include.

You’ll want to use keywords. The right words and statements that are relevant to your interests and industry optimizes your summary and makes it an effective feature of your LinkedIn profile.

BUT, steer clear of buzzwords – those adjectives that are used so often that they have become almost completely meaningless. ‘Specialized’, ‘leadership’, ‘focused’, ‘strategic’, ‘experienced’, ‘passionate’, ‘expert’, ‘creative’, ‘innovative’ and ‘certified’.

6. List Your Relevant Skills

It’s easy and a quick win on LinkedIn – scroll through the list of skills and identify those relevant to you. They substantiate the description in your Headline and Summary, and provides a platform for others to endorse you.

Two Tips: spring clean your skills list every now and then. Keep the list core to who you are and what you do. And reorder your skills from time to time. Again, keep it current. I don’t need the skill of on-air announcer at the top of my list when that was 20 years ago. (Some would question if that was ever a skill!)

7. Spotlight The Services You Offer

Services, a new LinkedIn feature, helps consultants, freelancers and those working for smaller businesses showcase the services that they offer. Get a boost of your visibility in search results. Fill out the Services section of your profile.

8. Ask For Recommendations

They’re the Google reviews of LinkedIn. Testimonials on your website. Recommendations illustrate the experience of working with you. There’s a handy drop-down menu in the Recommendations section of your profile that makes it easy to reach out to specific contacts and request recommendations. You choose what you’d like to be recommended for and can choose a list of people from your connections. Then, send it out and hope you get some great feedback.

8a. Spread The Endorsement Love

Help your karma out and write recommendations for some of your connections in return.

8b. Manage Your Endorsements

If the endorsements start to skew the emphasis of your LinkedIn profile in ways that don’t reflect who you are (or how you would like to be portrayed,) manage them. Example, your core area of expertise is content marketing, but people who’ve worked with you on events have given you more endorsements. Manage them by using the edit features in the Skills section of your profile – you can choose which to show, and which to hide.

9. Take A Skills Assessment

This online test enables you to demonstrate the level of your skills, and display a Verified Skills badge on your profile. Candidates with verified skills are 30% more likely to be hired. Plus if you display proof of your abilities it strengthens your personal brand.

10. Showcase Your Passion For Learning

“Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.” (Bryan Tracy) Go back to school and complete a course on LinkedIn Learning. It adds a course certificate to your LinkedIn profile.

​Bonus Tip 1 Check the Profile Strength Meter.

It gives you helpful recommendations about additional steps you can take to strengthen your profile.

Bonus Tip 2 Customize Your LinkedIn URL

The default URL will have your name and some gibberish numbers on it. Why not make it something more relevant? Along the right side of your profile, you will see the option to edit your public URL. Use that option to make your URL more concise and neat.

Bonus Tip 3 Keep Your Profile Current.

Set a reminder on your calendar to check your profile. Mention the big project you managed. Boast about the large contract you landed. Win an award? Update!

Whew! A lot to it, I know. I probably need to update mine. Take your time. Work at it a little at a time. But complete your LinkedIn profile. Again, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Make a great, professional impression and have a LinkedIn profile that will get results.

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Thanks for reading.