Get the Most Out of Your Personal LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn, Social Media

LinkedIn has become the go-to social media platform for job seekers. It is a great place to network with other professionals and companies that you might want to work for, and the job board is second to none when it comes to the quality of available job openings. But what happens to your profile when you land your dream job? Does your LinkedIn profile go into the black hole of social media, never be touched again?

The answer to that question should be a resounding, “No!” There are many benefits to being active on LinkedIn, including staying up to date on current trends, seeing what experience you need to move up in your career, and even generating business for your company. But first, you should make sure your profile is optimized.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

There are many different sections in your LinkedIn profile, and you need to understand them before you start making updates. Below, we’ll explore the structure of your LinkedIn profile and outline some best practices concerning each section.

Share a Professional Profile Photo

The first thing people will see when they connect with you or visit your profile is your photo. This is the first impression you will give to any potential contact, prospective client, or recruiter for your dream job. With that in mind, a selfie in front of a bathroom mirror is probably not the look you are going for. Take the extra effort to get a professional headshot and make sure it is the right size to fit the space. Your family photo of you at the beach is probably a really nice photo, but it also does not have a place on your professional LinkedIn profile.

Emphasize Your Value in the Headline

After your photo, your headline is the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. It shows up alongside your name and photo whenever you engage with someone, send a message, or add a connection. You have 120 characters to portray who you are, what you do, and what someone could get out of a connection with you. The default is to have your current position, but it’s best to use it as a positioning statement instead. Think about your possible connections, what type of problems they have, and how can you solve them. For example, if you are a social media professional at an agency, you might declare yourself as a “Social media specialist who turns profiles into lead generators.”

Add Depth in Your Summary

Your summary section is where you take that value proposition headline and expand on it. You have 2,000 characters to give people your what, when, where, why, and how. Keep thinking about the problems that your connections might have, and explain how you can help them or provide a story about how you’ve solved issues like that in the past. Make sure you include a call to action in your summary content, such as a suggestion to reach out to learn more about your services, or an offer to chat over coffee.

Highlight Your Experience in the Background Section

The background section of your LinkedIn profile, which includes your past experience, education, and volunteering, can be straightforward, but there are ways to optimize this section, the largest within your profile. When adding your previous work experience and volunteering, make sure to include some context with each position. You should mention major accomplishments or goals that you met and statistics to back up those accomplishments. Inserting media, like a video you created or a news article featuring your work, can add further detail to each role.

Build Up Your Skills and Recommendations

The skills and recommendations section of your LinkedIn profile is a great way to showcase your expertise to potential connections. You can include up to 50 skills. This is another straightforward section, but you should rearrange it and pin your top three skills to the top.

The skills and recommendations section is also a great gateway to reach out to connections that you may not have spoken to in a while. That skills endorsement or recommendations request could lead to a larger conversation about working together or deepening your relationship outside of LinkedIn.

Now that you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile, the possibilities are endless.

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Create and Engage With Quality Connections

Connections are the backbone of the LinkedIn platform, but if you are not making quality connections, it doesn’t make sense to put in much effort. There is nothing worse than receiving spam connections from people you don’t know who are trying to sell you something that you don’t need.

When you’re creating quality LinkedIn connections, the majority of the effort is done outside the platform. Whether it’s at a local networking event, a national industry conference, or your neighborhood get-to-together, you should always have a prior interaction before requesting a connection on LinkedIn. Whenever you request a connection, you should also include a note about how you first met and what you both would get out of the connection.

After you’ve talked to someone face-to-face, written an intro note, and added them as a connection, your interaction should not stop. Too many people have hundreds or even thousands of connections, and they don’t take advantage of their vast network.

Make it a personal goal to reach out to one connection per week, or if you’re an introvert like most of us here at LaFleur, one connection per month. You can invite them to coffee, chat on a Skype call, or meet up in some other way. The goal is to have a meaningful conversation about anything, even if it’s not work-related. Between those face-to-face interactions, you should still be active on LinkedIn.

The question always comes up, “How much should I be posting on LinkedIn?” The more important question you should be asking is, “How much should I be interacting on LinkedIn?” You can post multiple times per day about what is going on in your life, your business, or your family, but if you are not engaging with other people, then you are not using the power of LinkedIn to its fullest.

All this interaction will make the last step in the process much easier when it comes time for you to ask something from your LinkedIn connections.

Sales: The 4-Letter Word of LinkedIn

While sales and solicitation get a bad reputation on LinkedIn, they are allowed. Unfortunately, we’ve all received spam messages from people that don’t understand the power of interacting before a cold sales message, and they are ruining it for everyone. Too many people think LinkedIn is a billboard for their business and that people will just buy their product or service based on a message from a random person that they have never met.

That is why all of that time you put into the social part of the LinkedIn platform will benefit you when it comes time to sell. You will understand which of your connections are your best prospects. And when one of your connections expresses a problem that you could solve, you can initiate a meaningful conversation instead of making a cold, impersonal sell.

LinkedIn is more than just a sales platform, but it can lead to sales if you take advantage of both your profile and the ability to engage with connections. As with any social platform, being authentic and genuine leads to a better experience for both you and those you are interacting with.

At LaFleur, We Put the Social in Social Media

At LaFleur, we understand the importance of being engaging and creating an authentic connection on social media. With any social posts for ourselves or our clients, we strive to help others and build meaningful relationships. We’re not just filling the socialsphere with more noise.

If you are looking to take advantage of the power of Linkedin for you or your organization, we would love to chat. Please call us at (888) 222-1512 or complete a brief contact form to speak with one of us. Taking a few steps toward optimizing your profile and creating quality content can go a long way to reaching your marketing goals.

Jason Brower

A former MiLB social media pro, Jason Brower helps clients grow their social media presence through creative content and personal interaction. When he is not tweeting, he enjoys spending time with family, outdoor activities, and following his favorite sports teams.