How to create a LinkedIn Profile

Taking the time to really put in effort to build an effective LinkedIn profile is something that we all know we should do, but perhaps don’t prioritise it as highly as we should. Real life working situations take precedent over getting the perfect headshot, and summarising yourself in a way you’re happy to show to the LinkedIn world of 500m+ users!

After reading this short article, my hope is that you take away a firm motivation to spend the hour or two it may take to optimise your profile, safe in the knowledge that from here on in all you need to do is some regular maintenance instead of a complete upheaval!

black woman interacting on social media 9KMGH3D | TheITO | Digital.Made.Simple
Business woman checking her LinkedIn profile

A clear profile picture

One of the first impressions people will get when they click on to view your profile is from your profile picture. It seems obvious that you’d want to select a photo where you’re looking your best, with a clear background and a smile on your face. However, it doesn’t take much scrolling to find profiles where this isn’t the case!

Action Point: Most modern-day smartphones have cameras that are more than capable of the job. Find an empty wall at home or in the office and take a headshot clearly displaying your head and shoulders – no champagne in your hand from when you visited the races and no holiday shirts! This should only take a few minutes, but it immediately creates a good impression. If you’d like further information and a more visual example, check out this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ffdgZFyjUk) by Professor Heather Austin.

An effective summary

Its not easy to explain how to create a linkedin profile, it can be as easy or as difficult as you wWriting a strong summary for many people is probably the main reason they haven’t spent the time required to build a LinkedIn profile. It can be a daunting task to many, having to fill a big empty space with personal facts and stories.

It can be helpful to think of the summary as you would a cover letter, apart from instead of explaining why you’re the perfect fit for a certain job, you’re writing to your “ideal connections” and explaining why you’re a person they’d want to know and interact with.

Including stories that explain what led you to developing certain skills is a great place to start and showing off some of the hobbies you’re involved with to make yourself more endearing is also a good idea.

Action point: Much as you would an essay, jot down some key points you want to convey and spend a bit of time thinking of a back story to help people connect with your personality. Once you’ve got a rough draft it becomes much easier to go back and edit small parts here and there, rather than having to think it up out of nowhere!

Further Action: If you’re ready to really stand out from the crowd and make your profile truly impressive, you can add files to your summary. These files can be anything from YouTube links to PDF’s of that time you were featured in an article about your business. Not only do these make your profile look visibly different and eye catching, but they provide you with social proof which you can control to really create a 5* impression on potential employers or clients.

For further information and advice on writing your summary, check out this article on HubSpot: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/linkedin-summary-examples

Skills

You may think that the best way to stand out and really market yourself as a knowledgeable professional on your LinkedIn profile would be to make sure you’ve captured every skill you have and put it up for display. However, a counter intuitive approach here is more effective. Using fewer skills (perhaps 6-8) but making sure that they’re the core skills associated with your current or desired job is a way to make yourself look like an expert, and will garner more attention than someone who has every skill under the sun. For a more in-depth look at which skills to choose, head over to: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/top-skills-to-list-on-linkedin-2062321

As a final touch before we conclude, changing the URL for your profile is a small and easy change you can do to make your profile look that little bit more aesthetic. Go to https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/ and change your URL in the top right hand corner. You may choose to have just your or your company’s name.

To conclude, making sure the initial impression of your profile conveys trust, professionalism and personality are the most important factors of building a LinkedIn profile. Of course you must go through the rest of your profile and make sure it’s 100% complete, but having a focus on the points touched on in this article is sure to set you apart from the rest.