Most professionals have a LinkedIn profile - it's as common as having a business card or a CV.
But when was the last time you looked at yours with a critical eye and updated it?
As the summer ends and working life gets back into full swing, now is the time to give your LinkedIn profile a brush-up.
As with any communications activity, the starting point is to ask yourself why you're doing it. Is it to grow your network to generate business leads? To demonstrate expertise in your specialism? Or are you looking for a new position?
You can then set up or edit a profile that works to your goals.
Start with the obvious - your profile picture. Does it look like you? Is it work-appropriate? You don't need to be formal or stuffy, but make sure that the picture represents how you'd like to be seen by somebody who meets you in the course of working life. Usually a head and shoulders photo in smart-casual dress against a plain background does the trick.
Next, look at your job title. There are two schools of thought here - either you should use the official title your role has (Developer at ABC Web Design) or go for something more descriptive (Creating stunning websites for businesses).
Check the banner - the image that appears behind your profile picture. LinkedIn's standard ones are fine, but is there something you could use that would better convey your business or personality? Be careful not to go for one that makes the profile too cluttered.
Next comes the About section. Here's where you really get to sell yourself, but too many people give a long lecture here. Instead, focus on what you do, and why you're better than the rest. You can list your experience in sections further down. A lot of visitors to your profile will only get this far, so make it sing!
Experience. You may be starting out, or you may have a long career behind you. Make sure this section reflects who you are now and what you want connections to know about you. Your most recent experience is probably more relevant than jobs you had a long time ago – and it’s fine to leave earlier ones out. Nobody needs to know about the paper round or the job waiting tables that you had as a teenager! If you’ve had several roles at one company, consider consolidating them into one entry to make this section neater.
Finally, take the Skill Quiz – you’ll see the option to do this when you edit your profile. Skills you select will show on your profile and will help people find you and understand what you can do for them.
If you follow these steps, your profile should be in good shape. Make a diary note to review it every six months or so. Now you’re ready to build your network and engage with your connections.
If you’ve been meaning to tackle LinkedIn more professionally, then now is the time. We regularly run LinkedIn training sessions at client premises and through Zoom videoconferencing or Teams meetings. This is a live, interactive session, bespoke for your business, which covers:
- What LinkedIn is for and why you should use it
- How to construct an effective personal profile
- Setting aims and goals
- Who to connect with, how and why
- LinkedIn as a content platform
- Skills and endorsements
- How to engage effectively
- How to support company pages
- Use of features such as hashtags
- Privacy controls
- Do’s and don'ts
The session includes a Q+A and a review of each participant’s personal profile, with suggested edits.