People often ask me how my clients find me, and while marketing and networking have played large roles, so has LinkedIn.
A complete LinkedIn profile that is optimized for search can make a huge difference in whether you show up when a prospect is searching LinkedIn. So, here are my tips to improve your LinkedIn profile so it is credible, professional, and ensures the right people can find you.
Include a professional profile picture and cover image.
When selecting your profile picture, choose a headshot where you are smiling and wearing appropriate attire (this may vary by industry). LinkedIn is not the place for cheesy poses, sunglasses, funny faces or fuzzy photos.
For your cover image, choose a clean image that is eye catching and showcases your product or service. In addition, you can include elements like your logo, website url and social media handles.
Optimize your LinkedIn headline.
Your headline should balance telling people what you do with keywords that your prospects would be likely to use to find someone with your skills. Here are some tips to improving your LinkedIn headline:
- If you include your job title, make sure it is clear and your audience will recognize it
- Tell people about who you help and how you help them
- Use words your audience would be likely to search (and avoid confusing jargon)
- Avoid cliches like “best in class,” “top tier,” and “guru” — these lower your credibility and lack creativity
Here are a few good examples:
“Tax strategist for small business owners”
“Financial advisor helping families and business owners achieve financial freedom”
“We make insurance easy and enjoyable”
“Helping private medical practices attract more patients to maximize profits”
Add your business services.
If you offer professional services, there is a new section on your LinkedIn profile that allows you to select your business focus and showcase your services. This will be searchable not just within LinkedIn, but on search engines such as Google and Bing.
Optimize your LinkedIn summary.
When you start to write your summary start by thinking, what would a person who wants to work with me search for? Then, include those keywords in your copy. Remember that you don’t need to rely on long paragraphs. You can include, for example, a bulleted list of the services you offer. This is easily scannable when someone comes across your profile.
Don’t ignore your experience section.
Much like your resume, you should provide specifics on what you did in each position you list in your LinkedIn profile. For example, “as a sales director for X, I increased company revenue by X over X years.”
In addition, think about how you can optimize each position description for keyword searches. For example, mention software or tools you used or skills you acquired that are desirable in your field.
Include licenses & certifications.
If you have relevant licenses or certifications that enhance your professional credibility and/or are likely keywords your audience would use to find someone with your skillset, include those in your profile.
Ask for recommendations & endorsements.
Ask your contacts for recommendations, since other users will see these when they visit your LinkedIn profile, giving you added credibility. In addition, add your top skills (also keywords!) in the skills section so your contacts can endorse you for them.
Include your education.
Not only can including where you went to college or post-grad help your visibility within your alumni network, showcasing your degree on LinkedIn can also lend you credibility, especially if it is relevant to your current work.
Share your volunteer experience.
Highlighting the causes you support not only gives those causes additional exposure, but everyone likes to work with people who give back to their communities!