If your customers are other businesses or have specific industry interests, you might want to give LinkedIn a second look. LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with hundreds of millions of members, and we are growing rapidly. Our mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful.
To join LinkedIn and create your profile:
- Navigate to the LinkedIn sign up page.
- Type your first and last name, email address, and a password you'll use.
- Click Join now.
- Complete any additional steps as prompted.
Learn more about:
- What to do if you get a message that states that your email address is already registered
PART #2 - Creating Your Profile
Whether you’re job hunting, gathering leads, or networking in your industry, having a professional, eye-catching LinkedIn profile is an excellent idea to make sure that you can be found by the right people at the right time.
Filling out a profile isn’t difficult, but there are some important best practices you should follow to make sure yours is as powerful as possible:
STEP #1 - Add a photo
People remember faces more than names. This is also why your profile picture needs to be of a photo that includes your face and not some other part of you. Not your dog. Or a waterfall. No selfies. Chose a simple headshot where you are looking straight ahead.
Pictures that attest to skill or talent can be uploaded elsewhere on your profile, along with training videos and presentation materials.
- Start with a professional photo. If you don’t have a professional headshot, add that to your to-do list, and go with the cleanest, most professional looking snapshot you have — and upgrade as soon as possible.
It doesn't have to be boring or artificial. You don't have to wear business attire if that's not your style. But, you need to look professional and pleasant. You are going for "dependable" and "trustworthy." Avoid "sexy" or "quirky."
Remember: This photo may be your first impression with a potential employer or customer. So smile!
STEP #2 - Craft a strategic headline
By default, LinkedIn populates your headline with your job title and current company, but you don’t have to leave it that way. Make your headline stand out. Consider listing your specialty and speaking directly to your audience.
You have 120 characters at the top of your profile to be specific and describe to the world: who you are? & what you do? This is everyone's first impression of you! (Eg. marketing rep vs “marketing exec / growth strategy / channel development”)
- Option A: Many people just put their official job title. Which is one way to go… or you can really use the system to your advantage here.
- Option B: If you want your profile to be searchable, Use Keywords! Remember, LinkedIn is a search engine. Consider getting away from industry jargon to stand out. Choose descriptive and compelling keywords that (a) make you as marketable as possible, and (b) help you get found by the right people.
Examples of effective headlines are: "Recruiter, HR, Talent Management Expert" or "Brand Marketing, PR, Communications Professional." Comes in handy especially if you are currently looking for work.
- Check jobs you would want or similar and use similar terms “talk the lingo.”
- Also, refrain from putting "unemployed." Instead, use skills to fill any employment gaps.
- Try to keep your headline to about 10 words max.
STEP #3 - Write Your summary
LinkedIn's Summary section is the best part. Think of the summary section as your "60-second commercial" or your "elevator speech." You can include high-resolution photos, an infographic of your experience, or a video of a talk you gave.
These are the first sentences people read, and you have a very short time to grab the reader's attention and make them want to read more. It is well worth it to put in the effort to write a unique and captivating summary section.
There are several ways to write a good Summary:
- It could be a copy/paste of your resume's summary section
- Or it could read more like your bio ~ You could take a core competencies approach and list the three or four key skills you bring to the table.
- You could take an accomplishments approach and list the three or four big results you have achieved on behalf of your past employers or clients.
- Or you could get quite creative and pair an interesting story with a section called "what you won't find on my resume."
How far you can go in terms of creativity depends to some extent on your industry, as some are more traditional than others. In any event, at the end of this section, the reader must have a strong idea of who you are and how you help people.
- Add links to relevant sites. If you have a work-related blog or online portfolio, make use of the three URLs you are allowed on your profile and link to it. Probably better to leave off the baby blog and cat videos, though. Use discretion.
Write your summary in the first person (as in “I accomplished XYZ,”) but remember who your audience is. With each statement you write, consider who you are hoping will read it? and what you’re hoping they will take away?
For example, when reading about your skills, past job duties, or anything else on your profile, a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential customer wants to be able to imagine how you can help them.
So, instead of “I managed a team of 10 people,” you might say, “I was able to attract and hire top talent to round out my team, which then exceeded sales goals by 15 percent.”
End with a Call to Action (CTA) — for example, "Please reach out to discuss opportunities in X, Y, and Z."
STEP #4 - Create & Upload a Profile Banner
I used Canva to create a header / banner which has preset dimensions. If you choose to use custom dimensions LinkedIn recommends 1,584 x 396px.
Follow these tips and you can ensure that you have a killer LinkedIn profile that will stand out to recruiters, hiring managers, and potential customers.
- Add images or documents to your experience. Did you know that you can add media files to your experience? It’s a great way to create a visual portfolio along with your standard resume information.
STEP #5 - Add Additional Sections & Skills
Complete all sections, including education, certifications and interests...
Include your Boston College education and any other higher education experiences you may have. This could include study abroad experiences, previous degrees, exchange programs, or time spent at another institution. Here you can also include Activities and Societies you participate in. In the description section, include any relevant information not stated elsewhere, such as thesis titles, minors, or scholarships. LinkedIn has a special section for listing courses, so you do not need to write related coursework in the description.
Include any relevant courses you have taken and associate them with the proper Education entry utilizing the drop-down menu.
List your skills or areas of expertise. Include keywords and phrases from your industry. While you can add up to 50 skills to your profile, initially, try to add at least 10 skills. Unlike on your resume, it is acceptable to list interpersonal skills in addition to technical or industry-specific skills.
Your direct connections on LinkedIn are able to endorse you for skills on your profile. Skills that receive more endorsements will automatically be listed first in your skills list. However, if you would like to highlight certain skills, you can change the order by clicking “edit” in this section. In order to obtain endorsements, consider endorsing your connections’ skills, as they may choose to return the favor.
Work Experience Section
Keep your work history relevant. You don’t need to list every single job you ever had. Instead, only list the jobs that are relevant to your current career goals.
- Link your job to the company.
- Start with an overview.
- Use action words.
- Use keywords
- Keep it clear and concise
- Use the correct tenses
- Don't overdo the bullets
- Frontload your achievements
- Check for spelling and grammar
- Don't forget to link other sections to your job
- Ask for recommendations
- Add supporting information
PART #3 - After You've Set Up Your Account
Ask for recommendations
Endorsements are great, but recommendations are the currency of the realm on LinkedIn. Reach out to past colleagues, managers, and associates and ask that they write you a recommendation.
Start Sharing Updates
Post relevant business articles that you come across and share all your corporate blog posts. Use status updates to share industry-relevant content. You want people who are visiting your page to see lots of activity! This can help show recruiters, customers or potential leads that you are focused and in-the-know in your industry.
Your updates also will show up in the activity feeds of your connections = more exposure for your business and more chances they will get liked, commented on, or shared = even more exposure! You'll also be able to get analytics on which posts get the most engagement.
Invite Your Personal Connections
This is a no brainer! Ask everyone on your personal Facebook, Twitter, and other networks to check out your company on LinkedIn and connect. Don't forget to send an email campaign to your company's email subscriber list, too.
Use LinkedIn Social Plugins
These plugins are simply buttons that tell people you're active on LinkedIn. There are "follow" buttons (clicking it prompts a visitor to follow your LinkedIn page) and "share" buttons (clicking it prompts a visitor to share that piece of content with their LinkedIn connections). Add these plugins to your website, blog posts, and in your email newsletter campaigns to get people following you and sharing your content.
Join a LinkedIn Group
There are LinkedIn groups for almost every industry profession and skillset. Why join a group? It's an opportunity to make new connections, flaunt your expertise (e.g., if you answer a question posed to the group), keep your finger on the pulse of what's going on in your industry, and share your content!
Tip: You might find an overwhelming number of groups out there, so you might need to spend a little bit of time researching which ones are active and have a large membership base.
Like any social network, people aren't going to flock to you on LinkedIn overnight. But give it a few months, and track your engagement levels so you know whether or not it's accomplishing what you want. You just might be surprised at the activity--and exposure--you get!
Ensure you have a "Fully Completed Profile". LinkedIn says your profile will appear 40 times more in search results if it is "complete." In other words, you will be open to 40 times more opportunities if you do this. So please do. Here is LinkedIn's definition of a 100% Complete Profile:
- Your industry and location
- An up-to-date current position (with a description)
- Two past positions
- Your education
- Your skills (minimum of 3)
- A profile photo
- At least 50 connections
Create A Content Calendar
Learn how to create high quality content to attract the perfect customers.
- Create and deliver new content quickly.
- Repurpose content you already have into new lead attracting content from your blog, podcasts, videos and more.
- Refine your content development process for higher quality content that potential customers actually want.