Everybody knows LinkedIn, because everybody’s on it. It’s one of the first things a manager checks in the morning. It’s one of the most useful networking, recruiting, and socializing platforms for professionals, and well, if you’re reading this then odds are you’re on it right now, so I take it that you see it the same way and realize the countless benefits yourself.
However, although LinkedIn is fertile ground, there are many ways to improve your harvest, and it has nothing to do with spending more time searching for valuable leads and connections or looking for prospective groups. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: let them all come to you.
If you’re relying a great deal for your professional success on your LinkedIn activity, you better make sure that your profile lets everyone know that you mean business. I’ll give you a few tips to keep in mind when maximizing your LinkedIn presence.
Sight is the most important sense, and we shouldn’t forget that even while setting up a LinkedIn profile. The aesthetic impression your profile makes on a visitor is very important, and often it can determine whether a connection will happen or not.
LinkedIn isn’t a dating site, but the standards it boils down to aren’t that much different from one. Choose a professional looking, high-quality profile picture. Remember, your face will represent you among hundreds of professionals every day, and you wouldn’t want to look sloppy at a national conference, either.
The same goes for the cover photo. It’s not mandatory, but giving your profile an extra cosmetic edge will go a long way. At the very least you’ll seem like someone who gives attention to detail, and cares about impressions.
Your profile headline is the second first thing people look at when they view your profile. It should be a witty but descriptive short sentence that gives everyone an idea of what you’re about.
If I may, I advise you to stay away from motivational quotes or relatable life wisdoms. I’ve seen those more often than I can count, and frankly, if you’re a potential job candidate or partner, I really don’t care whether you see a light, follow your dreams or stand strong.
The main three rules for coming up with a good LinkedIn headline are:
- who are you
- who are your clients
- how do you make things happen
- proof of credibility
“A marketing expert helping small business owners expand to new markets and grow their profits. Featured in Forbes’ ‘100 marketing start-uppers of 2k16’”
“A family loan officer helping first-time homebuyers in their pursuit of a dream home. Top 50 in Pennsylvania at Glassdoor.com”
Nothing is more embarrassing than a typo-filled presentation. And it’s even worse if it’s a self-presentation, such as your LinkedIn profile. Sure, it’s normal to make mistakes — especially on social media — and it happens to everyone. But not to you, not on your profile. LinkedIn isn’t Twitter.
If you’ve spent an hour filling out your working history, you may be seeing everything twice. It’s always a good idea to ask your partner, a friend, or a colleague to do some proof-reading and spell-checking for you. To me, it often happens that I write and re-read my articles three times, but only the fourth time when my wife reads it, do I see the final errors. And because I know how often it happens to me, I think it’s important to point it out for you, too.
The one thing that people tend to forget is showing a little bit of personality on LinkedIn. I know (again) we’re not on a dating site, but I’ve always seen business networking as dating of a certain sort. I’m not only looking for a set of skills, a good amount of the right kind of experience, and an employment timeline. I’m looking for all that, but in a real person that I can connect with on a certain level.
Being sterile and to-the-point is getting out of fashion, and a personal touch is taking its place. If you show a little bit of humor and express some real opinions, the chances of landing great connections are much higher, because people will be more likely to approach you.