Here you will find our essential guide to building a strong LinkedIn profile.
Your online presence is arguably more important than your CV nowadays so it's paramount you get this right.
Guide to Creating a Strong Linkedin Profile
Linkedin is a critical part of your personal brand, your networking efforts and your ongoing career management.
The first thing to consider is what the purpose of your Linkedin profile is right now. It will change over time so ensure you are clear on its current purpose and that it reflects this.
Key Elements of Your Linkedin Profile
A Professional Purposeful Headline
This is the wording that appears just below your name.
Remember this headline is likely going to be the first impression some people are going to get of you - therefore it is worth spending time thinking about it and crafting it carefully.
As well as appearing on your full profile page it is also visible in the Linkedin search results and in search engine results (e.g. Google). Part of its job, therefore, is to encourage people to click through to your main profile page.
You can have up to 120 characters in your headline - I recommend trying to use up most of them.
Don't just put your current job title. It will look like most other people's and it’s a missed opportunity to make a more impactful first impression.
What you include will be guided by the current purpose for your Linkedin profile.
If you are openly job hunting you can say what positions you are looking for.
If you are covertly seeking new work then you will need to ensure your profile matches your targeted roles, without stating you are actively seeking work.
If you are not seeking new employment you may want to give it a business development purpose by stating the benefits for potential new clients.
Be frugal with your words - write in abbreviated English but include keywords if you are seeking work or clients and want to be found via relevant searches.
A professional photo is critical.
Seek to have a close up head only or head and shoulders shot. The closer the better as people can then see and recognise you from the small thumbnails of the image that appear in search results.
It is possible to upload a background image to add a bit more of a design element. If you have one that supports your personal brand then these can differentiate your profile from others and enhance your brand.
Here you can include some or all of the following:
Social media profile links (with the ability to change the actual link wording)
Website links (with the ability to change the actual link wording)
The summary section is another extremely important section. It’s the next thing people will see after your headline.
Think of it as your “about” page - your executive summary.
As with the headline, it's content will change depending on the purpose of your Linkedin profile at the current time.
Summarise your current situation and also highlight your previous experience, and pull out a few of your best (and most relevant) achievements.
Seek to provide achievement based evidence of your strengths. Those things that are going to be most relevant to the people you want to attract and impress with your profile at the current time.
Include keywords for search purposes, but be sure to do this in a natural way - there is the option to include your Specialities which will appear at the bottom of your LinkedIn summary which is a good way to put the most relevant keywords in. The Specialties keywords can be important as they provide the search criteria for your profile, so think about them carefully.
The job of a summary is to keep people's interest and make them want to read more of your profile below.
Whilst this section is similar to a “Personal Profile” or “Overview” section of a CV, do not just copy and paste this over as it’s unlikely it will work perfectly as it is. Instead, think about your targeted Linkedin audience and tailor your messaging to them.
Here you add details of your work experience to date.
One of the important things to think about is the Title you give each position - this is a bit like the Professional Headline above.
Then you need to clearly and concisely provide the introductory contextual detail of the position and employer.
Then set out your key achievements. Ensure you are including Achievement Statements and not just giving a generic job description like summary of the position.
Provide achievement based evidence of your strengths, in particular those things that will be most of interest to anyone you are seeking to attract and impress with your profile.
If you are currently job seeking, be sure to provide evidence of the key things your target employers are looking for (investigate the job and person specifications for these things).
Skills & Endorsements
Listing skills will give you a boost in views, as it’s another place where you can focus in on relevant keywords.
Select the ones that are most relevant to you and to the current purpose of the profile as a whole.
Provide brief details of your education.
It's personal choice whether you include your grades. Do so if relevant to a current job search.
The same goes for the Description section.
As for Activities and Societies, include positions of responsibility that demonstrate your strengths and which help to establish a track record and a more detailed picture of the type of person you are.
It will help your profile strength and impact if you have some relevant recommendations from those you have worked with in the past.
Think ahead to who you might be able to ask for one once you have updated your Linkedin profile.
Join some relevant groups which are consistent with the personal brand you are seeking to project with your Linkedin profile.
Turn Off Notifications of Changes
Where it asks if you want to notify your network of changes to your profile, I recommend you switch this to “No”. You don't want your network to keep seeing the tweaks and changes you make to your profile.
If you make a significant change, such as a change of job, consider posting a status update instead to notify your connections.
Linkedin URL (web address)
The default LinkedIn URL for your profile will be long and contain lots of numbers.
There is the option to customise it with your name only.
This is a must!
It will help you appear in Linkedin and search engine searches better and is also better for sharing and remembering.
It’s also a valuable piece of web real estate so claim it as soon as you can - the perfect URL is this format: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/mattoliver - i.e. your name without any other symbols, letters or numbers.
However, if it is already taken then consider adding a hyphen between your first name and surname, or add your middle name, or similar - e.g. https://uk.linkedin.com/in/matt-oliver.
Your goal is to have the shortest URL with your name as prominent as possible.
I recommend you put a link to your Linkedin profile in your email signature so it can be working for you every time you are communicating with new and existing contacts.
If you are looking for a professional review of your Linkedin profile or CV get in touch.