11 Steps to Level Up Your LinkedIn Profile
1. Start with a fire 🔥headshot.
Your selfie game is on point! And, your kids are so adorable in that holiday portrait. And, you and your boo are #couplegoals. But, please save those photos for Instagram or Facebook.
Your LinkedIn photo should be a professional headshot featuring you, and only you.
A professional headshot doesn’t have to be boring. Your headshot should project your personality.
If you have the budget, find a great branding photographer. I followed a personal finance author and noticed she had the gorgeous photos for her book launch. I reached out to her photographer and booked my session. The session included several outfit changes and a professional make-up artist. She also took photos with a basic background so my graphic designer could easily use them to design event flyers and social media posts.
During this time, I was also launching my website and business, so it was worth the cost.
Approximate investment: $100 - $1000+
How to get low-cost headshots:
· Conferences may provide free headshots in the vendor area
· Find photographers building their portfolio
· Search social media for student photographers
· Check LinkedIn for professional photographers donating their time due to Covid-19
· Grab an iPhone, ring light, and a friend to get a great shot.
Put on something that makes you feel confident. Take a headshot and several full-body images. When shooting outdoors, my favorite photographer always recommends the golden hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset) for the best pictures.
2. Craft a headline using keywords
My headline uses to read, “Courageous, confident and creative digital strategist.” It took me weeks to come up with that alliteration. And I loved it. Then, someone at LinkedIn said I should be using keywords that a recruiter would search.
So, I changed it to this:
Social Media Strategist, Listening & Analytics | Employer Branding | Influencer Marketing | Speaker
Lo and behold, recruiters were literally searching my profile the next day.
Avoid using words like “guru” and “ninja”. Guru used to be one of my favorite words. But, it is overused.
3. Education Section
Please do not list your high school on LinkedIn.
You also do not need to list your collegiate GPA unless you graduated with honors.
List relevant extracurricular activities within your education section.
Some folks say they don’t like to brag on themselves. I get it. But, if you were nominated as the Top 30 under 30 for your metropolitan area, you should definitely put this on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the place to highlight your professional and relevant achievements.
If you don’t tell your story, who will. You must be your own cheerleader.
5. Security Settings
While you’re making these upgrades, please make sure you turn off the setting to notify your connections when you change jobs or make other changes. Otherwise, as you make changes to your profile, your network will get these updates.
It’s a good time to review all of your privacy settings. You should make a habit of reviewing them at least once per year.
True story: I was flying from Boston to Philly last year on American Airlines and one of the other passengers sent me a LinkedIn request. It wasn't after a conversation at the gate or even aboard the flight. It was a random request that didn't include a note or reason for the connection. I declined because there was no note or reason for the connection other than my “find nearby connections” feature was turned off. I recommend turning this off unless you are at a conference or other networking event, otherwise, strangers can quickly find out information about you that you may not wish to share.
Only connect with people you know. You’re exposing your network to spammers, identify theft, and other issues when you randomly accept requests.
When you meet someone at a conference or even the grocery store and decide to connect on LinkedIn, always include an introduction with your request. Remind the person of how you met. Each time, I’ve accepted a request from an unknown person it has been a sales solicitation. And, I removed the connection. LinkedIn is not for cold calls. Pay for Premium “In Mail” options if you want to cold call people on LinkedIn. Do not blindly send connection requests.
7. Use your summary section to shine!
Your summary section is also searchable. It is your first impression for recruiters and others wishing to connect with you.
You could explain gaps in your career. Or, if you’ve switched industries, you could speak to that.
You could also explain your most significant accomplishment.
You have 2,000 characters to showcase your personality, achievements, growth, and impact.
Think of this as your elevator speech. It is not a copy of your summary section from your resume or c.v.
P.S. Do not write in the third person. Many websites are written in the third person, and people usually lift their bio from the website and place it on LinkedIn. Don’t do that.
Here is a list of terrific summaries from LinkedIn.