Since their debut in 2002, LinkedIn has become a crucial part of personal and company branding. Now more than ever, individuals in all stages of their careers need to not only maintain, but also command a successful profile. There are many reasons why LinkedIn is so phenomenal: there are tens of millions of active users, it's perfect for job searching due to numerous recruiters, profiles soar to the top of search rankings, and most importantly, professionals can stay updated in respected industries.
Nevertheless, there is a certain difference between having a typical LinkedIn profile and having an outstanding profile that viewers cannot miss. With the sheer amount of people who see an average profile (those which include recruiters, potential clients, coworkers, former classmates, bosses, and industry influencers), LinkedIn profiles need to have the "wow factor."
If you follow these nine tips, you will officially be able to command your own personal brand and show what you're made of:
1. Get A Custom URL
Many people don't realize that you can actually customize your own profile's URL link. LinkedIn provides a generic link with random characters, however, it's always a great idea to change those random characters into your name. For example: my profile link ends with "ehirschberg."
2. Invest Time Into Making A Phenomenal Headline
When people view your profile, the first two things they see are your photo and your headline. There are many free headline generators that can assist you in crafting quality headlines for your profile. For instance, instead of "Unemployed - Seeking Position" (as many people say), one could write "Marketing Student Seeking Position After Graduation."
3. Be Personable And Professional
LinkedIn is a social media platform, so be social! Know that it's much different than Facebook or Instagram. People are not on LinkedIn to see pictures of your kids or your neighborhood block party. Focus on professional content; it's rarely appropriate to post about personal topics (especially politics)!
4. Showcase Only The Best Achievements
Even thought it may be tempting to do so, only showcase the most important and socially appropriate achievements on your LinkedIn profile. For instance, a Sales Representative would definitely put their Salesperson of the Year award, but not their high school football MVP award or an endorsement for sewing... yes, a real life example!
5. Add Multimedia To Profile Sections
As the famous saying states: "a picture is worth a thousand words." Don't be afraid to add links to your website, social media, infographics, videos, or photos of you and/or your business. Sometimes too many words on a page becomes overwhelming, so throw in some multimedia to spice your profile up!
6. Implement Keywords Throughout Profile Sections
SEO is such a powerful tool when creating a LinkedIn profile. Utilizing specific keywords throughout your page will send your profile to the top of the search lists on LinkedIn. If you want to bring more visibility to your page and company, this is a proven and accurate way to do so.
7. Update Profile Status Often
Similarly to all of the other types of social platforms, you must keep your LinkedIn status current and up to date. Post 1-3 times a week and engage with your connections. One of my favorite things to do is go and comment on my connections' posts, photos, and articles - it really fosters a network.
8. Do Not Automatically Make Sales Pitches
There's nothing worse than seeing a connection request from someone and the first message you receive from them is a full on sales pitch. That's a big turn off. Remember that LinkedIn is for more than lead generation, and if your goal is to increase your sales, take your time; don't start pitching to a random stranger right away.
9. Check Your Grammar
As a writer and author, this one is huge for me. Grammatical errors are one of the most unprofessional parts of many LinkedIn posts today. Whenever someone is pitching an idea to me, I will automatically decline if I see a resume, business plan, profile, or other publication full of errors.
With these tips in mind, you should now have a guideline on how to not only optimize your profile, but how to command your personal brand. Showcase yourself - people need to know who you are and what you do! Just make certain you're doing so in a positive light.
If you would like, comment below or message me the link to your profile and I can give you 3 tips related to your profile - on the house!
Ethan Hirschberg is an author, speaker, and business consultant from San Diego, CA. He specializes in strategic management and human resources consulting and publishes content about professional management, company strategy, and HR practices.