When someone is checking you out online, the four most important aspects of your LinkedIn profile are:
These elements help the viewer determine if they want to learn more about you, and they give you a chance to tell your story in the digital world in a way that rivals real-world experiences with you. They are also the elements that many people get wrong. The other parts of your profile, like Experience and Education, are relatively easy to write because they are based on facts, and we’re used to writing this kind of content.
To brand and optimize your LinkedIn profile and make it stand out, use this proven recommendations:
Grab readers attention with your headline:
Your headline in LinkedIn plays a critical role. Treat it like the headline of an ad. Its job is to help the reader determine if he wants to read on or not. If your headline is little more than your job title, it will not do much to engage the reader, and it makes you a commodity – interchangeable with anyone else who shares that job title. If you don’t create your own headline, LinkedIn will default to your current job title – and that’s a big snooze.
Use a high-quality and professional profile picture:
Choose a photo that gives off a warm, genuine vibe. Shoot for approachable, but not too casual. Many people still have low-quality profile pictures on LinkedIn. Your profile picture should be a high-quality, up-close picture of just you (not your pet, spouse, company logo, or some distant photo of you).
Show a branded background photo:
You probably already know that a professional profile picture is an absolute necessity for your LinkedIn account. But that’s not the only picture people will see when they check out your profile. There’s also your LinkedIn background photo.
Choosing the best background photo for your LinkedIn profile comes down to you personally. What do you want people to think of when they visit your LinkedIn profile? How do you want to stand out? What are you trying to accomplish on LinkedIn?
It’s easy to put up the first abstract background photo that you come across. But if you want to use LinkedIn to its fullest, take the time to figure out what it is you want from your background photo, then choose or create the perfect one for your profile.
List your email address, phone number, Twitter handle, and blog or company website to make it easy for prospects to get in touch.
A personalized URL is memorable, easily linkable, and will help distinguish you in search. Customize your URL to: www.linkedin.com/yourname for easy searching, linking, and printing on business cards.
Your network reflects the quality of your professional relationships. Be thoughtful about making connections. The invitations you issue should convey your interest in connecting, and the value you intend to offer. Personalize each connection request by giving the recipient a compelling reason to accept. If you have trouble coming up with a compelling reason, it may be best to wait until you have one.
Write around two or three paragraphs with three or less sentences each. As you’re writing, make sure to include keywords. The keywords are indeed the key to being found in a LinkedIn search; they influence how search results are displayed. You need to know all the keywords that people would use to try to find you and then include them in your summary.
Get as many recommendations as possible from your colleagues and clients:
Most of us have worked with great colleagues, bosses, and employees over the years who they would be happy to recommend us on LinkedIn in a heartbeat if asked. Ask people you’ve worked with for at least six months to give you a realistic recommendation on LinkedIn.