Cornerstone of any good “Personal Branding ”, the LinkedIn profile is a “calling card” to which professionals in all industries pay more and more attention. A perfect LInkedIn profile is a centerpiece for your career.
What recruiter these days doesn’t take a look at the LinkedIn profile of the candidates he’s considering recruiting?
All drag their gaiters on social networks, gleaning additional information on their recruitment targets. The same goes for your potential customers; to select their supplier, they don’t hesitate to search and scrutinize on LinkedIn the competent individuals who could help them.
And your presence on LinkedIn is crucial: do the exercise, type your name into Google. There is a good chance that your LinkedIn social media profile will appear in the first results of the search engine.
How to work on your profile, and thus stand out on the first professional network?
Follow the guide and these 18 LinkedIn best practices:
1/ Claim your custom profile URL
One of the simplest actions, but which has its importance. Be sure to customize your public profile URL.
The challenge is also to have an easily memorable profile URL for your visitors. An “optimized” profile URL can also serve your organic referencing, on Google and on LinkedIn.
To implement this first recommendation, it will not take you more than 2 minutes:
- Click the “You” icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Click on “View Profile”.
- Click on “Edit Public Profile and URL” in the right module.
- Under Edit your custom URL in the right module, click the pencil icon next to your public profile URL.
- This is an address that will look like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.
- Enter the last part of your new vanity URL in the text box.
- Click Save.
For example, my LinkedIn profile includes my pseudo “matthieutv”, used everywhere on the web: https://ie.linkedin.com/in/hoshino
2 / Your LinkedIn profile photo account: display a professional image
Professionals interact with other “flesh and blood” professionals.
Your photo is one of the keys to “humanizing” your presence on LinkedIn. You have to show your face if you want to be credible.
The rules are the same as for a CV: a photo of you smiling, in professional clothes and on a neutral background. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit and tie, with your phone hooked to your ear… That said, stay professional. Avoid “informal” photos, sometimes taken in places that have nothing to do with the business environment.
To reinforce your personal branding, use the same photo as your other social networks. Thus, users who meet you at different places on the web will recognize you at a glance.
Finally, be aware that there is a free tool, Snappr, which allows you to automatically assess the quality of your Linkedin profile picture. The tool also gives you a series of recommendations to improve it.
The banner or cover photo dresses up your profile header. It is advisable not to leave the one proposed by default by LinkedIn, at the risk of appearing a “false profile” or giving a neglected image to your visitors.
It is therefore preferable to have a more personal LinkedIn banner, to make a good impression and inspire confidence. The latter will thus be able to better reflect a part of your career, the characteristics of your personality, your professional objectives…
The recommended size for this image is 1584 x 396 px. The image must be in JPEG, PNG or GIF format, and its size must be less than 4MB. Leave some space at the bottom of the image, as the top part of your profile tends to “cut” the banner.
4 / Optimize your profile title as if it were an article title
LinkedIn provides you with a 120-character “title” field to indicate your professional identity. This title is displayed under your first and last name. Don’t be “mysterious”. On the contrary, this LinkedIn presentation at the title level should be explicit about your skills and what you can bring to a company.
Your professional title is your “one”, your headline, which must perfectly represent your value proposition.
You can simply indicate your current position or the title of the position you are aiming for if you are actively seeking. It may also be a good idea to specify a sector of activity if this is relevant to you.
You can also be more creative with your profile title, to make it more eye- catching, and really make people want to read more of your profile. It’s all about staying precise, impactful and relevant.
On the other hand, banish from your title the words “available”, “looking for a job” or “listening to the market”. This is a field that is made to arouse curiosity, highlight your key skill, communicate your aspirations… not put a label on your forehead.
Finally, think about the referencing of your LinkedIn profile; make sure to include in your profile title a few keywords that your target audience might search for. This will eventually make it easier for you to be found by recruiters or your ideal clients.
5 / Indicate the city in which you want to work
If you want to work in a city other than the one you are currently in, update it in your profile.
For example, if you live in Grenoble but want to work in Paris, list “Paris” as the city on your profile.
- It may seem trivial, but the place where you say you are completely changes the nature of the people who contact you.
- It’s also a good way for LinkedIn to automatically recommend jobs in the city that interests you.
6 / Take care of the 2000 characters in the “info” section of your LinkedIn profile
Poor relation of many profiles, your summary (section “info”) deserves all your attention. This is the ideal place to tell “your story” in 2000 characters maximum.
To write the right summary, you have to keep in mind who you want to convince. Even for your LinkedIn profile, working on a persona is not a luxury.
- What messages do you want them to get across?
- What action do you expect from them?
Write in the first person singular and work in particular on the first 3 lines of your summary which are the only ones visible at first glance: with a catchphrase, make the reader want to click on “see more” to read the remains and mention the most important points at the outset.
You can also capitalize certain words to create sections in your summary. However, keep paragraphs short (no more than 3 lines) and continue to use relevant keywords.
Also consider concluding your LinkedIn summary with a call to action, encouraging them to interact with you:
- On LinkedIn of course,
- or on a landing page that you have specially created,
- but you can also communicate your email,
- or your work phone number to allow people to choose the mode of communication that suits them best.
7/ In your LinkedIn profile summary, talk about these five things
We discussed in the previous paragraph the importance of your LinkedIn profile summary, and distilled some generic tips.
To help structure the rest of your writing, be sure to address 5 broad categories in your profile summary:
- Your “victories”: what great things have you accomplished in your career? Be specific and concrete. Use numbers whenever you can.
- Your “values”: what differentiates two professionals who have the same skills are their values, their passions, their deep beliefs… Share in your summary what inspires you and what guides your professional actions in your daily life.
- Your “differences”: explain what specifically differentiates you from other people who do the same job as you. Mention your areas of expertise, where you are unquestionably “stronger than average”; it can be a technical skill, like an attitude, a know-how.
- Your “key figures”: what if you only had to describe yourself with figures? Quantifying your profile and career is important to convince any potential recruiter / partner. Numbers also contribute to your credibility, because they are factual elements that concretely “measure” your value.
- Your “references”: we only exist through the eyes of others… Mention what others think of you, why they recognize you and consider you. Use verbatim, testimonials, recommendations on your talents.
Once your writing is finished, put it to the test by testing it with third parties.
- Does your resume represent you well? Nothing is missing ?
- Does it highlight your “value proposition” as a professional?
- If your respondents had to make one change to improve your summary, what would it be?
8 – Work on the description of your professional experiences as if it were a story in its own right in your career
Your experiences must be described by telling your story, and explaining what you have accomplished in the missions entrusted to you.
It is of course recommended that you also record all your experiences as volunteers and association members, as well as your other projects. These can tell a lot about your personality, general skills and interests.
If you have a lot of experience, focus your efforts on the most recent positions.
The goal is not to have long descriptions of experience ; no one has time to dwell on what you’ve done down to the smallest detail. Promote impact.
- Refine again and again the description of your experience by cutting out all unnecessary words,
- or those that don’t add much to your message.
Ideally, descriptions of your experiences should be no longer than 5 lines.
They indicate what you have accomplished in each position, not just a description of your tasks. Be specific and use numbers where possible. And systematically inform the companies in which you have worked (even for an internship), because recruiters can carry out research on this criterion.
9 / Work on your LinkedIn referencing; analyze the profiles of other users
LinkedIn is not just a social network. It is also a search engine.
Even when I’m looking for a supplier or a person with specific skills, I type my request… in LinkedIn!
So you need to have a well-thought-out, 5-step approach to improving your position in LinkedIn search results.
- To “clear up”, make a list of keywords on which you would like your profile to go up.
- Study their search volumes via Keyword planner; this will allow you to know which are the most used expressions (example: marketing director or marketing manager?).
- Type the keywords into LinkedIn. Record in a spreadsheet the position at which you appear.
- Study the profiles of the people who are in the top positions : what are they doing differently? Where do they put the keyphrase in question?
- Reproduce the practice on your own profile and see if it improves the SEO of your profile over time.
To go further on SEO and in particular to know how to follow your LinkedIn SEO performance, find the right keywords and what to optimize, I invite you to watch this 5min video ( in English ) on this subject:
10 / Fill in your “training” on LinkedIn, it’s an excellent networking tool
The “Training” section is not to be neglected. It is in this place of your profile that you will indicate the schools / university from which you graduated, the dates and the mentions that you obtained in your “student” life.
This insert dedicated to your training has several advantages:
- it defines your school curriculum for recruiters / partners,
- and it allows former alumni to find you, even to be spotted by former comrades who can advance your career.
11 / Fill in the skills that make you stand out and for which you can be recommended
LinkedIn gives you the ability to choose skills. You can select these by using the search bar by keywords offered by LinkedIn.
Choose the skills you declare on your profile wisely. You can enter up to 50 skills. But the goal is not to have as many as possible (between 3 and 5 skills is enough), but above all that they are recognized by other people.
- Indeed, the more your skill is “recognized” by other LinkedIn users,
- the more likely you are to appear on LinkedIn search results when this skill is sought.
That’s why it’s best to list only the skills that you really master, that are important to your readers, that make you stand out, and for which you can be easily recommended.
In addition, only the first three skills you enter are visible directly on your profile (without having to click on “See more”). You will therefore have to prioritize them, rank them.
12 / Add media elements to your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn gives you the possibility in the “Info” or “Experiences” sections to add images, videos, Slideshare presentations… Take advantage of them to establish the credibility of your profile and differentiate yourself.
If you are looking for a job, for example, a short video of 30 seconds to 1 minute will humanize your profile and “sell” you much better.
In all circumstances, take the opportunity to add documents that illustrate your work.
This may be a scan of your certifications or a presentation of your portfolio. If you have a blog, it may be wise to add an image to your profile that redirects the user to your site. It’s a way to build your credibility and demonstrate your skills.
13 – Ask for recommendations that will enrich your LinkedIn profile
“Letting others talk about you”… This is a hyper-powerful personal branding strategy!
To appear competent in the eyes of your visitors, recommendations are decisive. They show that many outside people recognize your skills. These are great social proofs for your personal branding.
We can also reasonably think that profiles that contain recommendations from third parties are much better positioned in search results, which ultimately contributes to your visibility.
Ideally, you have at least one on each of your professional experiences. No need either to aggregate the light recommendations; a single strong, sincere and well-written recommendation will be worth more than 5 recommendations of 3 words each.
You can ask for recommendations from the people you work with on a daily basis or your former colleagues. Also dare to solicit your customers, partners, suppliers, even your teachers if you are a student. In any case, you keep control and moderate the recommendations that will appear on your profile.
When you ask for a recommendation, remember to personalize the request. Don’t send LinkedIn’s “automatic” message, and write on your message:
- the setting in which you had worked with this person
- the skills for which you would like to be recommended
- an invitation to talk about it directly if the interlocutor wishes.
To go further on this topic of LinkedIn recommendations, find out what is the ideal number and who you should ask, watch this video ( in English ) which answers these questions in less than 3 minutes.
14 / Join groups relevant to your profile and interests
You can join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn. The platform explicitly displays on your profile those to which you belong. This gives visitors to your profile additional information about you, your areas of expertise and your interests.
But this is not just a facade; in these groups, real experts are motivated to discuss with other professionals on the subjects that interest them.
That’s why you also need to be “active” in the groups you join if you want to get the most out of them.
Ask questions to the community, help those who are looking for informed opinions… Helping others is always a great way to get noticed. Stay humble, and in a posture of continuous learning. You will be surprised at the results!
15 / Connect regularly with other professionals on LinkedIn
Of course, the goal of LinkedIn indirectly is to be put in contact with as many people as possible. After all, LinkedIn is a social network like any other, right?
- In addition to indicating everywhere the address of your LinkedIn profile – business card, email signature, website…
- …add people you meet in real life.
As much as possible, keep the conversation going with your recent connections. For example, send a thank you email, and if you use LinkedIn to find new clients, plan to send a follow-up message or two. In your communication, make sure you bring something with added value :
- an article found on the web that will interest your contact,
- a white paper related to its industry,
- the name of a person in your network with whom he could possibly do business.
The more you expand your network, the more you access an increasingly large “2nd and 3rd degree” network, opening up even more the field of possibilities…
Several LinkedIn experts agree that the more connections you have, the more your profile will appear in LinkedIn search results.
16 / Follow leading companies in your sector on LinkedIn
As on Facebook, LinkedIn now gives the possibility of following company pages, of “liking” them.
The companies you follow are also a great way to show who you are on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure to follow your company page, but also those of the referring companies in your industry. don’t forget that “LinkedIn social selling exists”!
You will also stay informed of their new publications, but also of their job offers if you are actively looking.
Sharing information is a great way to engage with your LinkedIn network.
If you also have a blog / a site, relay your own content. If you also identify an interesting piece of information or a quote that might interest your network, please share it without hesitation.
Beyond your network, this will allow you to build “communities” willing to engage with you. It’s also a great way to ensure a constant presence in the minds of your network, and to interact with it.
This is why you will not fail to interact with the news published by other people in your network by liking them and/or commenting on them… They will return the favor when you publish content yourself.
If you find the task heavy, know that a free tool like Hootsuite or Buffer allows you to easily plan your posts in advance, on several platforms including LinkedIn.
18 – Publish blog posts directly on LinkedIn
For some time, LinkedIn has been offering users around the world to blog directly on the platform. This is good practice because:
- your entire network is notified of your new publication,
- and these articles are very well referenced on LinkedIn and on Google.
For “novice” bloggers, starting on LinkedIn is a great idea. This allows you to benefit from an audience naturally, and has the merit of concentrating your writing on a professional platform, consulted every day by millions of professionals.
For more tips on the right way to blog on LinkedIn, I leave you with this last video that gives you some very actionable tips.