Love it or hate it, social media has undoubtedly become a huge part of modern day life. However, the power of these online forums isn’t limited to liking, tweeting and sharing, they are also revolutionising professional networking.
The main player in the field of business-focused social media is LinkedIn.
Described as “the world’s largest professional network with more than 400 million members in 200 countries and territories around the globe”, LinkedIn is great for:
- Creating a network of professional contacts
- Highlighting your expertise, experience and skills
- Staying in touch with business contacts
- Presenting a professional image
- Job hunting
- Allowing potential recruiters to see and contact you
- Promotion of your company brand, service or products
The best way to approach creating or editing your LinkedIn profile is to first ask yourself what you want to achieve with it. Do you want to impress prospective employers? Do you want to generate business? Do you want to boost your personal brand? For whatever purpose you choose to use it, remember that simply creating a LinkedIn profile is not enough. It’s essential to tailor your profile and be smart with your activity to achieve your goals.
Whether you’re starting from scratch, or looking to give your existing profile a makeover, here are some top LinkedIn profile tips to bear in mind:
1. Be picture perfect
For those who regularly use social media, when you view someone’s profile, what’s the first thing you look at? It’s a very safe bet to say that it would be their profile picture. Despite the professional focus of the network, this is still the case on LinkedIn. So that little picture in the corner of the page is actually your first chance to make an impression – make sure it’s a good one!
Here’s the golden rule: keep it professional. Save your post-gym selfies and pre-nightclub pouts for Instagram. A shot that shows you looking smart in business dress or role-appropriate attire is best. One which includes just your head and shoulders is more than sufficient, and it helps to smile a little (you want people to warm to you).
TIP: To make your picture look super professional, you could consider incorporating your company branding or logo.
2. Steer clear of the ‘sales pitch’
If you’re too aggressive in the way you put forward what you’re trying to express through your LinkedIn profile, it can really put people off connecting with you. It’s obvious when you’re trying too hard to up-sell yourself, your business or your service/s, and it can come across as desperate and generic. People want to connect with a person, not a corporate billboard that screams “BUY BUY BUY!” or “PLEASE HIRE ME”.
By all means, use your profile and bio to showcase what you do or sell, but make sure that this is informative rather than an all-out sales pitch.
3. Get to the point
Busy professionals don’t have time to read a bio that resembles ‘War and Peace’ – in fact, it’s likely that most people won’t commit to reading the entire page. It’s therefore important that you make an impact quickly. Your LinkedIn profile isn’t the place for any waffle or over-elaboration; be concise when writing your bio and detailing your work history.
4. Keep things relevant
Have a think about your CV – you would never submit it if it was out of date or full of irrelevant experience and information. The same approach applies to your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure that it is up to date and reflects your profession or the business you work for. If you have skills listed that are no longer relevant, and you aren’t planning on seeking opportunities in the future that utilise them, get rid.
When describing your company, products or services, use the relevant language: buzzwords regularly used by your business or industry specific jargon, for example. This way you will come across as reliable and knowledgeable in your field.
Exercise caution with your work experience section; to portray yourself as a successful professional, your work history should be consistent, with evidence of progression along a clear career path. It’s advisable to avoid leaving lengthy gaps between past positions. However do still get rid of any work experience that is no longer relevant or that may undermine the rest of your profile.
These LinkedIn profile tips, although simple to implement, will give your LinkedIn profile the boost it needs to make sure that you stand out from the pack.
While you’re at it, remember to join the CareerExperts group on LinkedIn!