Five Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Snap, Crackle, and Pop!

Dull and boring just isn’t going to cut it in today’s oversaturated Internet world. Same old same old isn’t going to get you that new job or attract the right clients to your business. You absolutely must stand out from the crowd. And you have to do this in a way that appeals to your market! In this article, I’d like to turn you on to a few things you can do to your profile to stand out from the crowd and make people take notice of you! Ready?

Headline

Let’s start with your headline. DO NOT just put your job title or your main skill. “IT Professional.” “Freelance Writer.” Both of these are generic and don’t do any selling! Think about how you could restructure those to appeal to your market, whether that’s potential employers or clients.

Photo

This one’s a little tricky. You want to have a good, maybe even professional photo, and you want it to stand out a little. For the photo, I’d go towards making sure you look friendly and likable. As long as, that is, you’re in a job where being friendly and likable is a good thing. If you’re an international security expert, then you might want to tone down on the smile.

Profile Summary

Here’s where most folks just fall flat on their face! You get two thousand characters for your profile summary. Use them! And, don’t be generic. Write in first person. That’s much more approachable then writing in third person. Make sure you include a little (not too much) personal history. How did you get where you are? Here’s where you can really distinguish yourself from the rest of the field!

Recommendations

Yes, you want them! You don’t have to have a ton. Three or four great ones will do. But these especially serve to position you as an expert in your field. Most serious visitors to your profile (the ones thinking about possibly hiring you for something) will check out your recommendations and really read them!

Skills

Your list of skills and your endorsements help define more about who you are and what you do. Just like with recommendations, you can bet that anyone serious takes a long look at them.

Three Qualities of the Best LinkedIn Profiles

One of the services I offer is writing (or rewriting) people’s LinkedIn profiles. I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands, of profiles. Most of the ones I run across need some serious tweaking, if not actual replacement. I’m quite versed in what makes a great profile, and in this article, I want to share with you a few things for you to strive for!

Attractive!

You want your profile to be attractive! What do I mean by that? Well, you want a good head shot. Doesn’t have to be professional, but it does have to show you in a business setting, at least in business clothes. Also, you want your profile summary and your headline to both attract search engine searches and be very readable for your visitors. Keywords are the phrases we put in search engines to search for websites. You want to figure out what keywords someone on LinkedIn might be using to find you and make sure you use those in your headline and salted and peppered in your profile.

Honest!

It’s so tempting in today’s world of websites and social media to pretend we’re something we’re not. And, for a while you can get by with it. I don’t mean really pretending to be the CEO of IBM when you’re not. That’s fairly easy to spot. I mean pretending to be in a higher part of the hierarchy of your company, when you’re actually a fairly junior member. Less easy to spot, sure, but in time, someone’s going to out you! There are a half a billion people on LinkedIn. Some are less successful than you are, some are more successful. I’d recommend you just be honest about who you are and where you are. You’ll end up getting further that way.

Current!

Make sure your profile summary is current. Update it often! Also, if you’re in a technical field where language and platforms change frequently, change the words and labels you use in your summary. You want to look fresh and current. No one wants to work with a dinosaur!

Why You Must Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Current

Someone once asked me if it was okay to update their profile. In their case, they were talking about their profile summary. I thought it was an odd question. After all, wouldn’t you want to update your CV or your resume? Upon further investigation, I realized they were asking a valid question. Basically, they were wondering if their older connections would react negatively to an updated profile. Here’s a short summary of what I told them.

“It all depends! But what choice do you have? If your profile needs updating, then that really means that you’ve either moved on, or you’ve changed focus in your professional life. You’ve done something like get a new job, or you’re planning on changing careers. Something like that. If you want LinkedIn to work for you in this new endeavor, then you really need to update your headline, your profile summary, and quite possibly other parts of your profile.”

Indeed, over the past few years as my business focus has changed, I’ve updated my own profile summary significantly about five times. We no longer live in the world of people working at the same job for thirty years and getting the gold watch at the end of that. Thank God! We live in a much more fluid world when it comes to career, employment, and skills. Look at it from a skills point of view. Used to be you had to have a college degree specializing you in some discipline or other before you could get a job doing whatever that was. Nowadays, you can take an online course and within three months or so, completely change careers! You won’t even be starting on the ground floor either!

With the flux that defines our business and professional lives, why wouldn’t you change your profile as you change? So what, if someone gets bent out of shape? One: it will never happen, and Two: who cares?

Three Things to Cut Out of Your LinkedIn Profile Today!

Your LinkedIn profile is your “silent salesperson”, and the profile summary is actually more like a personal sales letter than anything else. I’ve been helping businesses and professionals use LinkedIn successfully for quite some time now, and often when I look at a new client’s profile, I see some of the same elementary mistakes. I’d like to alert you to these so you can fix them and watch your connections, referrals, and sales that you make from LinkedIn soar!

Mistake #1: Unprofessional looking photo! Wow! This one’s on probably half the profiles I look at. Would you go to a job interview looking like you’re chilling on the beach with a beer in your hand? If not (and I hope the question is no), why are you doing that “virtually” with your unprofessional photo on LinkedIn. You’re on LinkedIn to network in some fashion or other, and that networking is business-oriented networking. How about looking like you’re a winner instead!

Mistake #2: Showing skills that should be taken for granted. There’s no need to talk about how you’re capable of getting to work on time, or how you can get assignments done on time. Everyone can use Word and PowerPoint. No biggie anymore! So, why mention it? That doesn’t make you stand out, it makes you look old—from an era when having a skill set on PowerPoint was indeed rare! Take out the skills that should be taken for granted and put in skills that set you apart from the crowd!

Mistake #3: Mixing up personal life and LinkedIn, career-oriented life. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and other social media sites, are the places for you to talk about your dog, your kids, your vacation, and other aspects of your non-working life. LinkedIn is where you talk about work! You talk about what you do for a living, your career, your skills, your achievements. Sure, the two overlap a little, but honestly, you need to keep the person stuff on the other platforms and the business stuff on LinkedIn where it belongs.

More Cool LinkedIn Hacks You Must Be Doing!

LinkedIn just gets better and better and better! I’ll be honest. When Microsoft bought LinkedIn, I felt a little, how shall we say it…trepidation about what they might do to the platform. Honestly, I’ve not liked all of Microsoft’s changes. Especially the part about moving so many of the free features into the paid only part. I do like free, but I also understand business. So, I get it that I should be paying for these capabilities. There are, however, quite a few things you can now do with LinkedIn that I completely adore. And, I’ll like to go over a few of those with you today. Hopefully, you’ll get as excited as I am and start utilizing more of LinkedIn’s cool features!

One of my favorite, new “hacks” for marketing on LinkedIn involves SlideShare. In case you don’t know, SlideShare is a platform where you can post your PowerPoint, Keynote and other slide presentations. It was bought by LinkedIn a while back, so it makes sense that the two easily complement each other! I make a lot of slide presentations in my business, both for webinars and for speaking engagements. I can get a lot more mileage out of those slides by making them available on SlideShare. Also, when I post a new slide presentation on SlideShare I always share it on LinkedIn. I’ve done this for my clients’ too. The results are amazing! A lot more views and a lot more interaction. Talking about branding, right?

My other favorite “hack” involves YouTube. This goes hand in hand with the PowerPoints I create. I create those normally for making into videos. This gives me a lot more content to spread around. One great place to share my videos is on YouTube. I can share the video straight to my feed, or I can post it to select groups that I belong to. This is a powerful way to get the right eyeballs on myself and my profile!

Your Three-Step LinkedIn Hack

If you need a way to sell virtually anything, LinkedIn is the place to be! Doesn’t matter if you’re selling coaching, books, gold, or airplanes, with LinkedIn’s half a billion users, you’re going to find more leads and more prospects than you can get to in a life time. Well, I should qualify that last statement. If you know how, you can do this. If you don’t know how, then quite frankly, LinkedIn will remain a mystery to you and honestly, just a big waste of time. So, with that all in mind, let me show you my three-step hack that I use to find more business right on LinkedIn than I can deal with. Ready to get started?

The first thing you need to do is you need to connect with a lot of people. At first, don’t worry if they’re in your target market. Your first goal is to build up your connections to at least a thousand or so. Now, don’t connect to everyone all in one day. That will look unnatural and put your account at risk. What I did when I got going was connect to fifty new people every day until I got my connections up to about two thousand, then my account built on its own.

Next, you’ll want to start reaching out to these connections. A great way to do this is to message people when they accept your connect request. You’ll want to say something generic. You do NOT want to spam people with a big long paragraph about how cool you are or your product is. Just reach out pleasantly! If someone ignores you, just keep trying every now and then until you get their attention. Remember, not everyone checks their LinkedIn account daily. So, if you’re being ignored, it’s more likely that the person just hasn’t seen your message yet.

Finally, after you’ve messaged with someone back and forth for a while, you’ll want to invite them to talk with you in more detail about your offering. This shouldn’t be a full-blown sales presentation, but more of a 15 minute get to know you session.

Do these three steps consistently, and you’ll soon have more business than you know what to do with!

Everything Starts with Your LinkedIn Headline

Besides your picture, your headline is the first thing people actually see when they run across you on LinkedIn. It’s the first thing they’ll read on your profile, and even if they’re searching and find you, they’ll see your headline below your picture in the search and suggested connection results. Your headline is what entices the reader to read more. If you have a boring headline, you’ve really shot yourself in the foot. If, however, your headline emotionally connects with your target audience, well, you’ve already won half the battle. Here’s some things not to do, and some things to do with your LinkedIn headline.

First off, never use your job title as your headline! That’s not only boring, but there’s no emotional connection with your target audience. Something like “IT Professional” says virtually nothing about you. Not only that, but there are probably a few million people on LinkedIn worldwide who’s title says the same thing. So, not only will you not stand out in the search results, but you’re not branding yourself as different from those other few million!

Instead of a job title, try saying something on a more human level that captures the essence of who you are and what you do. Using our example, what are you actually doing as an IT professional? Maybe you work for a school system, and you’re in charge of maintaining the school’s network. So, you could say something like… “Connecting Children Safely to The Internet.” That may or may not capture the real essence, so please don’t just copy and paste that, but it’s moving in the right direction! You can explain how you’re connecting children safely to the Internet in your paragraph summary where you can elaborate on being an IT professional.