Is Your LinkedIn Profile Getting Stale?
There’s no shortage of advice about how to create a LinkedIn profile that will get attention. Some of it is common sense, like:
- Use a good profile picture.
- Repurpose content that appears elsewhere in your marketing materials to reinforce your brand.
- Maximize your number of contacts to make that total look impressive.
If you haven’t revisited your profile for several months, try to do so soon, especially if you’re job-hunting, so you’re ready for hiring opportunities that come up after the holidays. Even if you’re happy in your current position, go to your page and turn on the site’s editing tools. LinkedIn gives you a lot more control over your content than it used to. You don’t have to fill in every blank to have an effective profile, but consider these critical elements:
That first look. Depending on how you’ve customized your page and on your primary reason(s) for being on LinkedIn, your top content will vary. Individuals who have published posts on the site can display those front and center. Others would prefer to write a powerful professional summary and make that appear directly below their photo and contact information. Whatever you choose, design your opening screen carefully because it’s all some viewers will look at before moving on.
Organization. A LinkedIn profile is not a resume. Resume structures differ, but they typically list experience and education in chronological order. And because of the constraints of LinkedIn’s editing scheme, you’re locked into this format.
So try something a little different. Some will tell you that you shouldn’t write a long Summary, and this may be good advice for you. But you might want to try writing a lengthier Summary that focuses on your:
- Primary skills and abilities,
- Personal strengths, and
- Titles you’ve held.
Divide your Summary into sections using these as headings. Unfortunately, you can’t format your text here for emphasis, but you can still create multiple sections. Mention companies where those skills and strengths have been used, but save the chronological Company Name, Title, etc. fields for the next section, Experience. You can be brief here because of your expanded Summary.
Visual content. The most important thing here, of course, is your profile photo. Different people will give you different types of advice on how to take and/or choose a photo. Smile. Don’t smile. Look to your left or straight ahead when you’re being photographed. Don’t display a picture with your dog. There’s really only one universal guideline here: Select a photo that is consistent with how you want to be perceived. You can also Add Media to each entry (documents, videos, links, etc.), but use these sparingly. Only a really, really interested visitor will click on them.
Finally, use a personal tone. Write your content – especially your Summary – using a conversational voice. You have your own reasons for posting a profile on LinkedIn, but like most people in the community, you probably want to network with as many people as you can for both personal and professional reasons. Who are you?, viewers want to know. What have you done? Where have you been? And why? So tell them.