Considering LinkedIn is the leading online platform for building professional connections, it’s surprising to see how many users neglect to complete even the basic elements of their profiles. If you haven’t taken full advantage of your LinkedIn page, here are a few things to consider:
- According to LinkedIn, adding a profile picture can result in up to 9x more connection requests, 21x more profile views, and up to 36x more messages
- Listing your education will make you appear in up to 17x more searches
- Including your general location will make you appear in up to 23x more searches
If spending five minutes adding those three simple elements to your profile can have that big of an impact, you can bet that investing a little extra time in rounding out the rest of your profile will be worth the effort.
At HubSpot’s INBOUND 2018 conference, we had the chance to meet with the pros — and by that, we mean members of the LinkedIn team — and bring home some of their LinkedIn profile wisdom. The following recommendations are compiled from the LinkedIn team’s advice along with recent data from additional researchers.
Ready to up your LinkedIn game? Here are the basics.
1. Add a Profile Photo
Adding a photo makes your profile more memorable and recognizable at a glance. And on a platform with over 590 million users, you want your profile to be both of those things.
When choosing a photo, opt for one where your entire face is visible, if possible. Believe it or not, facing the camera helps create a more trustworthy appearance. The same goes for blurriness — using a sharp photo will not only help you look more professional, but also more trustworthy and approachable.
So, remember to:
- Choose a clean, non-distracting background
- Go for bright, natural light
- Look the part (dress for success)
- Use the camera you already have (in your pocket)
2. Craft a Compelling Story
A robust LinkedIn profile opens the door for new opportunities like partnerships, new business, mentorships, or speaking engagements. It represents you as a professional — and refining it is easier than you think. A sparse profile either says, “I don’t have much experience” or “I’m not really invested in presenting the best version of myself and my career online.”
No matter what stage you’re at in your career, these tips will help you make the most of your LinkedIn profile.
- Keep your profile up to date
- Does your background reflect your current position?
- Do you have recent accomplishments, awards or examples of your work on your profile?
- Write an impactful summary
- Is your summary section blank? Be specific about what you can offer, your expertise, motivations, and interests.
- Refine your overall profile
- Speak to your experience
- Mention key responsibilities, initiatives you’ve led, and your impact. Include data to support your facts.
- Be concise
- Swap long paragraphs for bulleted lists so people can easily scan your profile.
- Write in first person
- Your profile is your career story — the reader should hear it from you.
- Add your location
- Get discovered for local jobs, volunteering, speaking engagements, or new business opportunities.
- List your education
- Add your school(s) so classmates and alumni can easily connect with you.
- Include your skills
- Mention your skills to show your most relevant strengths and abilities. This will also allow former colleagues and bosses to endorse your skills.
- Note your industry
- List your industry to help you connect to relevant opportunities, such as new contacts, events, and business. More than 300,000 people search by industry on LinkedIn every week.
- Speak to your experience
3. Be Intentional About Growing Your Connections
Whether you’re an intern or a business owner, connections hold tremendous value. Growing your network means gaining exposure to the knowledge and experience of other professionals, even those outside your industry. It means access to customer leads, job leads, referrals, recommendations, mentorship opportunities, and job candidates who you may want on your team.
Being intentional about growing your LinkedIn network helps you:
- Expand your reach
- Increasing your 1st degree network grows your 2nd and 3rd degree networks by millions more people
- Create opportunities
- So many more opportunities arise that normally wouldn’t because you are “top of mind” for people who might not know you well (as opposed to the close network of people you already know).
- Build thought leadership
- The more people you connect with, inspire, help, and influence, the bigger impact you will have on the world. This creates the potential for more recommendations, more referrals, and a bigger platform as a thought leader in your industry.
4. Share Content and Engage With Connections
When thinking about marketing, it can be easy to focus on all that you have to say, whether about your latest project, upcoming event or newest post that you hope everyone reads. While it’s certainly important to actively promote your content, remember that social platforms are digital reflections of human interactions — and most humans understand the balance of talking and listening.
Ideally, conversations are a mix of talking, thinking, listening, and responding. Just as we make space for others in our in-person conversations, we need to do so online as well, including on LinkedIn. If you’re all about yourself and never have time to give anyone else a shout-out or read what they’re excited to share, don’t expect big results.
While it can be valuable to share from your own experience, balance this out by asking questions of others and learning more about their goals, challenges, and milestones. By demonstrating your character, you’ll earn stronger connections and gain trust and respect with your network.
Here are some ideas for what you can share on LinkedIn:
- Articles or research that you found helpful. Your connections might get value from it too!
- Insights about trending topics. Join the conversations already happening across the platform by checking out LinkedIn trending news and chiming in.
- Events and updates. Are your connections sharing interesting updates or promoting cool events? Amplify their message by liking, commenting, or sharing.
LinkedIn is the leading platform for building professional connections. It’s useful to professionals at every experience level across every industry worldwide. Over 90% of marketing executives consider LinkedIn to be the top place to find quality content. Creating a “bare minimum” profile for your undermines your professional image and does a disservice to your career story.
Take a look at your profile. Have you included compelling descriptions of what you contributed to each job in your work history? Have you provided any examples of work you are particularly proud of? Do you have a profile summary that is up-to-date and relevant to your career aspirations?
If not, know that these seemingly small differences play an important role in communicating who you are, what you care about, and what you bring to the table.