LinkedIn is a fantastic business resource and is a Social Media powerhouse that many people overlook. It is responsible for 80% of all business social media leads which can translate into huge value for a company.

Not only is a a fantastic networking and lead generation tool, it is also one of the biggest tools for job seekers and recruiters to fill vacant opportunities.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, but haven’t seen much results from it, it could be the simple fact that you haven’t set up your profile properly. LinkedIn uses it’s own search algorithm which puts people with completed profiles to the top of search results.

Taking the time to understand how LinkedIn really works and to make sure you have your LinkedIn profile set up perfectly, can generate massive return. If you want to know how to accomplish this, follow the steps in this guide to the perfect LinkedIn profile.

Profile Picture and Background

It’s no surprise that people trust a face rather than a blank profile. In fact InMails (LinkedIn’s messaging system) receive 40% higher response rate when the sender has a profile picture.

This isn’t the same profile picture you’ll have on most social media sites. In fact many people get headshots taken for their LinkedIn accounts. You don’t have to go this far, but you do need a professional picture of yourself – smiling and facing the camera. It’s a networking site after all and people prefer to see what the people they are talking to look like.

It is also a big factor in LinkedIn’s profile completion algorithm so if you want to hit the top of those search results, make sure you include one. Also include a background image. It’s a great use of branding space and if someone clicks into your profile they’ll have a greater understanding of what you’re about.

HeadlineThe Ultimate Guide to Creating a LinkedIn Profile

Your headline appears at the top of you page and also next to your picture in search results. It is the first thing people see so you have to make sure it grabs their attention. You have a limited amount of space so use catchy words and let people know who you are in a sentence.

It’s tricky, but will make a huge difference when you get it right. A lot of people just put up their job titles but that’s not going to make you stand out. Be different and add a bit of your personality.

Contact info

The whole point of LinkedIn is to expand your network so you need to display your contact information. At the very least you need the following:

  • Email address
  • Twitter handle
  • Company website
  • Phone number

Fill in the respective fields in your profile. LinkedIn integrates very well with Twitter so it’s a great idea to link them together. If you have added in your email address and phone number in the correct areas, people will only be able to see them once you have connected. This allows you to screen who’s getting access to your contact information.

Summary

Your summary is another chance to sell yourself. In fact, most people when they click onto your page will move from picture, to headline, straight down to summary. It’s an essential place to list your skills and feature keywords that you’d like your profile optimised for.

Keeping this in mind, it’s always better to create a story here rather than just listing skills and/or achievements. This draws the viewer in and makes you a much more exciting person to reach out to.

Custom URL

This is essential for SEO, especially from a personal branding point of view. On your profile, you have the option to set you own custom URL (at the moment this is just a random series of letters and numbers).

In the ‘Edit Profile’ section, you’ll have the option to change your ‘Public Profile URL’ jump on and see if your name is available. If not, pick something as close to it as possible.

Keywords

LinkedIn profiles not only appear in the LinkedIn search but are also incredibly search engine friendly. In fact, if you’re good with boolean searching, you can get excellent search results from Google by creating specific search strings.

Good recruiters do this and if you want to be found then you’ll highlight your keywords throughout your profile. Identify what your top 5 keywords are and the synonyms that go with them. Spread them throughout your profile but don’t make it seem spammy.

You can also use these keywords as anchor text back to your own website, creating some highly beneficial link juice.

Add at least 3 Past Employments

LinkedIn will not count your profile as being complete if you don’t have at least three jobs listed under your employment history. This catches a lot of people out, especially graduates, so you’ll have to be a little bit inventive. You can list your college or university under past employment, any summer work or volunteer experience.

Just make sure you have three and that you list your achievements and duties at each one.

Add Projects

The LinkedIn CV has always been very word heavy, you scroll through endless lists of responsibilities and past accomplishments and it’s difficult to portray the real you amongst it. As the old adage says, a picture is worth a thousand words and LinkedIn have combined rich media, visual content and presentations to your portfolio page to showcase the real you amongst the deluge of text.

When done correctly, this is an excellent opportunity to showcase any visual work you have been a part of.

Add Publications

LinkedIn also allows you to highlight any books or articles you may have written or any articles you or your business may have been mentioned in. It’s an excellent way of boosting your reputation and showing your credentials.

It’s also a useful sales tool and many authors generate interest and create sales funnels by showcasing their publications on LinkedIn.

Join Groups

You’re allowed to join a total of 50 groups on LinkedIn. While this might seem somewhat limiting, only 16% of LinkedIn members have hit this quota. This is because groups are quite specific and you only want to join the ones that are obviously active.

By clicking into a group a quick scan down the page will show you how many people are active by the people posting and commenting underneath. Choose the one of interest and apply to join. Being active in groups is a fantastic way to get your name out there and expand your network.

Highlight Volunteer Work and Causes You Care About

Your profile has a section where you can highlight the volunteer work you do or have done, and also the cause that are important to you. You might overlook this but it can actually be a deciding factor for hiring managers.

It also makes you look more human and approachable. This is important if you’re trying to generate leads of new business opportunities.

Be Active

Most importantly on LinkedIn, you need to be active. If you post every day between the hours of 10am-2pm EST, over 60% of your connections will see your posts in a month. This is excellent reach and boosts your branding efforts.

Share your own articles, other people’s articles or anything you think your network would be interested in. Comment under other people’s posts, like and share their content.

LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn Pulse is relatively new in terms of allowing everyone to publish their articles but it’s a fantastic content resource. You can pick the categories you’re content is relevant to and once published, all your connections get notified about your post.

With some well placed links this can be a huge source of traffic for your website. It also works on a ranking system in that the more votes you get, the higher up you’ll be displayed in the pulse system. This means more people will see your article and you can start to build a reputation of being an influencer in your sector.

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