You know, once upon a time, I wasn’t the biggest fan of social media. Sure, I understood what a great tool it could be to share your message and vision with like-minded people. But I’ll admit that it took me a while to really appreciate it in its own right.
I think that change has come about as I have seen more people and organizations learn how to use social media for good. When you see this form of communication being used to empower, instruct, and just change lives, it’s hard not to be amazed by the power that social media truly has.
Other moments that stop me in my tracks. And I don’t mean in a good way.
Not too long ago, I came across a Time Magazine article with the title Behold: The Best LinkedIn Profile Of All Time.
It caught my attention – I’ve invested considerable time and resources in learning and staying up to date with the best uses of LinkedIn for marketing. So if Time Magazine says this profile is the best, I definitely wanted to take a look.
To say I was stunned would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for Shaquille O’Neal, his athletic abilities, and his business sense. But I think Time Magazine has done a grave disservice to its readers by publishing an article calling it the best profile without giving a little more context.
Here’s the thing – Shaq might very well be enough of a celebrity that his casual entries on his LinkedIn profile communicate perfectly to prospective business partners.
But very few people have the ability to pull this off. So when a magazine like Time declares this the best LinkedIn profile ever, it would be easy for people to get the wrong idea.
What you do with your LinkedIn profile can mean the difference between garnering views and job prospects and alienating potential employers. But before you even consider your strategies for interacting on the popular social media site, you must first look inwards–at the state of your profile.
And since Time magazine didn’t take the time to put their opinion in context, I’d like to take you through these tips for making your best LinkedIn profile ever. (Or at least the best profile on LinkedIn if you’re actually hoping to attract clients or employers.)
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
If you’re not a celebrity, you’ve got to be detailed and specific when it comes to your LinkedIn profile. Unless it’s the headline, make sure you use as many words needed to fully explain your experiences, projects, roles, etc.
Include a professional photograph
This should go without saying, but a photograph is a requirement in any social media profile. While some social media platforms lend themselves to casual photos or selfies, your LinkedIn profile photo should be professional quality and reflect the image of whatever job or client you are aspiring to.
If you are trying to make the jump from line worker to management, make sure your picture reflects that. If you are trying to project success and abundance in a network marketing business, choose clothing and accessories that tastefully lend support to that image. And so forth.
On the other hand, if you are the CEO of your own business and your overall branding runs more casual, make sure that your photo tastefully reflects that.
In order to be authentic, your picture should match the feel of your brand. Both of those should also match the tone of your language in your LinkedIn profile.
Create a catchy, optimized headline
This is your make-or-break section when it comes to grabbing the attention of your prospective employers or clients. This must be engaging, highlight the specific benefit you bring to the table, and brief. It’s a little like the objective statement on a resume. If it’s not specific or doesn’t match the needs of your prospective employers or clients, you won’t get a second look.
Include contact information
Of course you probably know to include contact information in your LinkedIn profile. But have you taken a look at your email address lately? If your LinkedIn profile features a cute or cryptic email address, it might be time to start a more professional sounding address for yourself on Gmail or Yahoo. Start with trying to find out if your name is available. Another professional looking email option is to purchase your own domain and set up an email account associated with it.
Create a keyword-rich (not keyword stuffed) summary
LinkedIn, like other search engines, has a proprietary algorithm that they don’t disclose. In the past, it appeared to favor keyword stuffed profiles.
Depending on how someone is searching for you, this could backfire. If you are hoping for your LinkedIn profile to come up on a Google search, Google’s recent algorithm updates will see a keyword stuffed profile as spammy. This could decrease the chances of your LinkedIn profile coming up as the result of a Google search.
A more natural approach is to use a variety of related keywords in a rich context in your summary. This should get you the results you’re looking for no matter how people choose to search for you.
Include contact information here as well
Just a note – you probably included your contact information in that section of your profile. It’s a good idea to include it in your summary as well. Don’t make people have to leave your summary to be able to contact you.
Use media to showcase your experience and/or career highlights
This is a great way to make your LinkedIn profile stand out. You can include a variety of media in the Summary, Experience, and Education sections of your LinkedIn profile. Photos, videos, and documents can be included here to give prospective employers or clients the chance to view a portfolio of your career.
Clearly state your awards, volunteer roles, and professional affiliations
Be specific about the things that you excel at and are proud of. If you and another competitor have similar qualifications, chances are good that a prospective employer or client might use something like your awards, memberships, or the causes you are interested in to determine if you are the best fit to work with.
Whew! That’s a lot of information, but if you break it down section by section, it won’t take long before you have the best LinkedIn profile ever for landing your dream job or ideal client.
QUESTION: What do you love about LinkedIn? What don’t you like about it? Leave a comment below!