The most important part of LinkedIn for an individual user is the profile. Your profile tells everyone who you are, and from there they can decide if they want to connect with you, answer your messages, and potentially do business with you. If you screw up your profile, you’re dead in the water before you even have a chance to get going. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about what people are actually looking at when they land on your profile so you can make that look as positive as possible and maximize your results from LinkedIn.
Number one is your picture. It’s trite, but a picture really does say a thousand words. LinkedIn is a person-to-person networking platform, after all. So, it makes sense that people want to see what you look like, and rightly or wrongly, will judge you by your picture. Get a good picture, preferably one where you’re dressed like a business professional.
Two is the headline just under the picture. We all want to pigeon hole people so we can understand them and figure out where they fit in our world. Your headline needs to succinctly say who you are and what you do. And, if you’re smart, it needs to say so in a language your target audience understands. If you’re in IT, then having a technically oriented headline is fine, as long as you’re trying to communicate only with people who are capable of understanding the jargon.
Three is your profile summary. Here are a couple of tips for that. First off, please user first person. Third person just sounds weird. It’s YOUR profile summary. You wrote it. Talking about yourself in third person sounds like something weird you’d see in a science fiction or horror movie. Next, don’t be cliche! Don’t use overworked phrases like “self-starter”. That’s been done so much that it just screams nothing at all! Just talk honestly about yourself. Pretend you’re explaining who you are and what you do to an intelligent and thoughtful person who’s not in your industry.
Before you do anything else, get these three things right on your profile. You’ll be glad you did!