15 Tips To Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile For Success
Written by James Self
Sep 6 2016
A well optimised LinkedIn profile creates a positive impression with contacts and prospects, and even benefits search presence. Follow these 15 tips to enhance your own personal LinkedIn profile.
How To Create An Ideal LinkedIn Profile
Are you proud of the message that your personal LinkedIn profile portrays? Would you feel confident sharing it with new contacts or prospects?
As of Q2 2016, over 450 million professionals have a LinkedIn profile
Having a well-optimised LinkedIn profile is the digital equivalent of making a good first impression. As a key channel for personal branding, your LinkedIn presence is a springboard to building a robust professional network; as well as an important touchstone for lead generation and nurture.
These 15 simple tips will help you optimise your LinkedIn profile, increase your presence in search rankings and in turn, generate more profile views and opportunities.
15 Tips To Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile For Success
1. Complete every section
It’s important to make sure every section of your profile is complete, with no blank spaces or gaps. You should treat your LinkedIn profile as your online resume.
At a minimum, your profile should list:
Your industry and location
A current employment position
Two past positions
Your education information
A minimum of three skills
To enhance credibility, it’s also wise to have at least 50 connections.
2. Use a professional picture that represents your industry
Adding a profile photo can result in 14 times more profile views, and creates a sense of familiarity and trust. Typically you should use a quality, well-lit and professional-looking headshot that has a simple background.
It is also wise to have the same picture across your other professional social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc.); firstly to build your personal brand, and secondly to ensure you are easily identifiable across multiple channels.
Make sure you choose a professional picture that represents your industry. For example, a Creative Director may want to adopt a profile picture which is a little edgier and fun. However, a CEO might use a more traditionally ‘serious’ picture.
3. Create your vanity URL
When you first create your LinkedIn profile, the default URL you receive will consist of a range of jumbled numbers and letters. Ideally, you’ll want to create a personalised URL that looks like this: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/rebeccajanearmstrong.
This URL is far more friendly from an SEO point of view and is a vital opportunity to have your profile rank higher in Google. Plus of course, it makes it easier to share. To customise your URL, go to ‘manage public profile’ in settings, and click “customise your public profile URL” on the right-hand side.
4. Get written recommendations
LinkedIn profiles allow for a ‘written recommendations’ section from contacts. If you can, it’s wise to collate recommendations from colleagues, management, vendors or customers as this adds credibility to your profile and name. As an example, a colleague could endorse you for your skill set, or project you’ve completed.
It is also possible to add specific recommendations for certain job roles. Here it may be worth reaching out to a colleague or customer asking for personal recommendations.
5. Add your skills and get endorsements
Endorsements are one-click acknowledgements from your network, designed to recognise your particular skills. Aside from being a clear indicator of your unique skillset, endorsements also benefit your profile in LinkedIn search results. How? Because the more endorsements you have for a particular skill, the more likely it is that you’ll appear in the results when someone searches for that skill.
6. Rearrange your profile
Did you know that you can rearrange, swap and personalise the sections that appear on your profile? This makes it easy to prioritise certain aspects of your professional profile, such as awards, or skills. To adjust, enter edit mode on your profile, hover the title of each section and either click up or down or drag and drop each section.
7. Optimise your profile for search engines
A well-optimised profile can spread your name further than just LinkedIn. To increase the likelihood of your name appearing in wider search listings, be sure you include the keywords you want to be found for in various sections of your profile. Your summary, specialities, job title, career history and personal interests are all good areas to optimise. For example, you might want to ensure your have the words “sales” “marketing leader” or “freelance consultant” in there.
8. Use keywords in your headline
Your headline (the section of text underneath your name) is the first thing people see when they go to your LinkedIn profile. Unless you change it, your headline will appear as your current or last position by default. Since this headline appears in various places on LinkedIn, such as when you make a comment, or show up in search, you want it to be descriptive. Make your role and position clear.
The LinkedIn algorithm seems to put a lot of emphasis on the words used in the headline when ranking people, so check that it includes your key attributes, your company, or your geographic location if you only serve a specific area.
9. Add projects and links
Adding this section to your profile allows you to list specific projects you have worked on, and include a URL. This can be a good way to generate inbound links back to sites your site. Make sure the URL you include in your project is relevant to the project listed, otherwise you could compromise your credibility.
If you wish, you can add a description to specifically relate your project to a position that you hold or have held. This is a great way to display your expertise in a current or previous position - remember that LinkedIn also works as a digital CV or resume.
10. Join groups
As a best practice activity, you should participate in a selection of groups related to your industry or niche, and where possible, be active in two or three of them. This will get your profile noticed by other industry contacts. According to LinkedIn, your profile is five times more likely to be viewed if you join and are active in groups.
11. Build your network
Once your profile is in good shape, work on building your network. When sending connection requests, use “we’ve done business together” rather than “friend.” Be sure to personalise any requests when possible; say how you met, or comment on why you’re connecting.
If you decide to send a connection request to someone who does not know you well, be sure to give context to your invite in the personal note section; mention if you’ve read a piece of their content, or have seen them speak at a conference.
12. Showcase awards and share certifications
The showcase section is where you can display any industry awards, achievements or certifications you hold that are relevant to your industry or position. Again, completing this section can contribute to a higher search ranking.
13. Feature your professional memberships
If you belong any professional organisations or industry associations, you can use the ‘Organisations’ section to highlight your membership and the particular position you hold. This is another opportunity to optimise your profile for keywords.
14. Post relevant industry updates and content to your LinkedIn feed
To maintain a strong thought leadership presence, it’s important to keep an active profile. Posting relevant, quality content will help you remain prominent in other users’ LinkedIn feeds.
To do so, navigate to the “share an update” section located at the top of the main LinkedIn feed, and use this feature to post articles of interest or insightful ideas around a relevant topic for your industry. For best engagement, make sure it is a topic that your audience would find interesting. With an active profile, ideally, you should be posting and sharing 2-3 times per day.
15. Publish long-form posts
LinkedIn long-form posts are a good way for professionals to share lengthier insights on LinkedIn. Long-form posts are essentially a blog, hosted on LinkedIn and linked to your personal profile - and are another great way to develop your personal brand, share insight with your connections, and link back to your main site.
How you choose to develop your LinkedIn presence will depend on your unique industry, skill set, role, and personal career plan. But as a good start, these tips will give you a presentable, effective and strong profile.