How to boost your LinkedIn Profile in 2018

There are millions of people on LinkedIn, and only a very small percentage of those people fully harness its power. But you shouldn’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn in terms of how it can help you improve your networking and get good leads.

Premium or not-Premium?

Although I am personally a LinkedIn Premium user, I’m not willing to say everybody should be using it because that’s simply not true. I get value from using LinkedIn Premium because I make use of the additional features it provides.

Upgrade is a must if you want:

  • to use InMail to send messages to LinkedIn members who are not currently contacts.
  • to see more than the last five people who have viewed your profile in the last 90 days or seeing who has viewed your profile even if you don’t share your information when you view someone else’s profile.
  • more than three saved searches or advanced and expanded search results and features like filtering results by industry or job title.
  • to use InMail to send messages to LinkedIn members who are not currently contacts.

Choose a serious professional photo.

If you don’t have a professional headshot, find the cleanest, most professional looking picture you have — and upgrade as soon as possible. And smile! Remember: Consider that photo may be your first impression with a potential employer/customer/partner!

The Headline: make it stand out.

By default, LinkedIn populates your headline with your job title and current company, but you don’t have to leave it that way. Consider listing your specialty and speaking directly to your audience. If you want your profile to be searchable, include important keywords; if that’s not as big of a concern for you, consider getting away from industry jargon to stand out. Try to keep your headline to about 10 words.

Example: don’t just name your job title. “If it says, ‘CEO of ABC Corp.,’ they don’t know what you offer,” she says. “So it could be ‘CEO of ABC Corp: Helping business-to-business professionals with all their accounting needs.’” 
 First and foremost: It’s not about you! Write your summary in the first person (as in “I accomplished XYZ,”) but remember who your audience is. With each statement you write, consider who you are hoping will read it, and what you’re hoping they will take away.

For example, when reading about your skills, past job duties, or anything else on your profile, a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential customer wants to be able to imagine how you can help them. So, instead of “I managed a team of 10 people,” you might say, “I was able to attract and hire top talent to round out my team, which then exceeded sales goals by 15 percent.”

The Summary: fill out the “summary” field with 5–6 of your greatest achievements.

This 2,000-character space is where the LinkedIn algorithm searches for key words, so be sure to fill it with information you think your target audience is looking for, and to jazz it up with awards or anything that will make you stand out. Business owners will want to use here terms that their clients might be looking for.

Use bullets to make this easy to read. Think about your target reader and then paint a picture of how you can make that person’s life easier. You can also add media files, including videos, so if you are a speaker or presenter, an introduction video could be a great idea.

This is just as important as your headline, if not more so. A LinkedIn summary is not the same as a resume summary. The summary should encapsulate the following:

  • Who you really are.
  • Your passions.
  • Your top career achievements.
  • Goals you would like to achieve.
  • A reiteration of what you’re currently looking for in your career.
  • What you could add to a prospective company.
  • How and why people should engage with you.

The last point is something that many people miss. What is the best way to contact you? Via a contact form on your website? By adding you as a connection on LinkedIn and explaining who they are? Including your phone number would leave you open to getting spammed by recruitment consultants, so it’s best to make yourself easy to contact online and give viewers of your profile a “call to action.”

It’s also best to write your profile in under 150 words. Try to write in the first person, but without too many pronouns (I, we, they, etc).

Add images or documents to your experience.

Adding media files to your experience it’s a great way to create a visual portfolio along with your standard resume information.

Add links to relevant sites.

If you have a work-related blog or online portfolio, make use of the three URLs you are allowed on your profile and link to it. Example:

  • https://yourwebsite.com
  • https://blog.yourwebsite.com
  • https://yourpersonalportfolio.com

Recommendations: ask for them!

Endorsements are great, but recommendations are the currency of the realm on LinkedIn. Reach out to past colleagues, managers, and associates and ask that they write you a recommendation. 
 
 Get up to two recommendations for each of your most important former positions. So, if you have 15 jobs listed on there, 30 recommendations is overkill, but 10 altogether for the most important jobs is enough to represent diverse viewpoints on your strengths without overwhelming people. Preferably, obtain recommendations from people influential in your industry, and give them talking points, such as “Can you speak to my timeliness and knowledge?” Your references can either be directly about doing business with you, or about your character.

Give, and you will receive. Social media is all about developing connections. Relationships are built on giving and receiving, and online, it’s no different. To break through and make sure you stand out from everyone else out there, building relationships is the only way to get noticed.

Send out at least one LinkedIn recommendation a week. Friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues, whomever you know. Don’t presume or ask to get a recommendation back; you’ll start getting them once you start sending them.

Status updates: use it to share industry-relevant content.

Regularly update your status with industry news and your accomplishments. It takes seconds a day but it helps you become more visible on LinkedIn and gives your network an opportunity to engage with you.

Adding other users

You want to get to 500+ connections as quickly as possible and then be more strategic about who you add. Some tips for expanding your network:

Import your current connections from your email contacts via “Add Connections.”

In LinkedIn Groups request to join groups you could fit as interests or mutual connections. Once you’ve been accepted (it could take about a week, generally), you’ll be able to download a CSV file. You can then invite people and they will accept you with no questions asked.

Always, always, always, when you add a new contact you’ve never met in person, personalize your message to request to add them. “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” gets a bit tedious, and people will start hitting the “I don’t know this person” button, which gets your account shut down.

LinkedIn has a smaller complement of markup tools than WordPress or other blogging platforms, but the idea remains the same:

Use sub-heads (h1, h2) to create a hierarchy of your content

Use bold and italicized text emphasize points within your content

Use web links to cite sources for your content

Use images (most importantly a featured image) to draw interest to your content