I’ve said it before (and I’m sure I’ll say it many times again), but I’m a big believer in the power of LinkedIn. I think it’s not only great for growing your network, but it has also helped me to find my fair share of work as a freelancer.
With that being said, I hear a lot of people complain about the platform. They don’t think it’s effective. They’ve never seen any results. They don’t get the point. But, usually after a little bit of investigating, I discover that these people aren’t really putting in any effort. Sure, they created a profile. But beyond that, they’ve done nothing. It’s like they expect to just click a button and have amazing things start happening.
No, if you want to see results, you need to be active in the space. That means reaching out to people, posting thoughtful comments, and—of course—keeping your profile in tip-top shape.
So, today, let’s focus strictly on your profile. If you’re one of those people who created one and then immediately forgot it existed, it’s time to brush off the cobwebs and allow it to start working for you!
Here are seven relatively quick and simple things you should do right now to step up your LinkedIn game!
LinkedIn defaults your headline to your current title and current company. And, there are tons of people out there who don’t even realize that this field is completely editable by you.
So, stray from the norm and create more powerful and impactful headline for yourself. Be specific in your headline and play to your strengths. It’ll make you more memorable, as well as adequately describe what exactly you do. For example, mine used to just say “Freelance Writer”. Now? It reads “Freelance Writer | Content Creator | Project Manager”.
Of course, you can say what you do. But, we all know that showing is always much more powerful. So, if you haven’t already, consider adding some of your most impressive projects to your job descriptions.
LinkedIn makes it easy to add everything from photos and videos to documents and presentations. On my profile, I’ve included links to some of my favorite writing samples, so that they’re easily accessible directly from my profile. People don’t need to click through to my website in order to see some of my stuff. It’s all right there for them!
Your summary is where you have the most free reign on LinkedIn. You have ample space to tell your story and talk about your accomplishments. So, it drives me crazy when I see that people leave it completely blank. It’s one of the first places I look when I’m checking out a new profile!
Needless to say, it’s important that you put something there. Provide an explanation of what exactly you do, some of your key strengths, and even some of the accomplishments your most proud of. Bonus points for injecting a little bit of personality!
OK, so the summary is probably the second thing I look at. The profile picture is always the first. So, if you don’t have one (or, the one you do have is from a music festival you went to when you were in college), it’s time to update that with something professional and polished.
No, you don’t need a formal headshot of you in a blazer against a gray photo studio backdrop. But, something that clearly shows your face is definitely encouraged. It’s nice to put a face with the name!
LinkedIn groups are a great place to engage in thoughtful discussions, learn some new things, and even meet new people in your same industry. So, don’t be shy! Go out there and join a few groups that interest you.
Admittedly, I don’t participate in LinkedIn groups nearly as much as I should. But, it’s definitely something I want to start doing more of!
Descriptions of your past and current positions are one of those things that you create, and then allow to just sit there. After all, not much changes, right? But, I encourage you to comb through them every now and then to ensure everything is up to par. It’s also a great opportunity to ensure that your most impressive, critical duties are listed at the top of the description—that’s where they’ll have the most impact.
One of the biggest whoopsies I see with job descriptions? Having present tense verbs in previous job descriptions. Oftentimes, people only change the dates of their employment. But, it’s important that you also edit your job descriptions to reflect this change.
The very purpose of LinkedIn is to grow your network. And, that doesn’t mean sitting there waiting for people to come to you. You need to be proactive and reach out to people you’re interested in connecting with!
Of course, the key here is to say goodbye to that generic form letter that LinkedIn automatically fills in for you. With every connection request, you should be sending a personalized message. Introduce yourself to the person, and share with them why you’re interested in connecting. It’s much more effective than the bland request that LinkedIn uses, plus it demonstrates that you put some thought into connecting with this person!
What other quick things do you to polish up your LinkedIn profile?
Until next time!