Last updated February 4, 2021
Having a personal LinkedIn profile is a great way to increase visibility as a professional in your industry and draw more attention to your company, improving engagement and business opportunities.
It’s important to optimize your profile to make a great first impression. With these tips, you’ll learn how to showcase who you are and what you do to build the right business network.
Visuals are the first impression other LinkedIn members have of your profile, so it’s important to present yourself and the company you work for in a professional manner. Here are a few tips to make that impression a positive one.
1. Use a professional headshot
Your LinkedIn profile picture doesn’t need to be shot by a professional, but it should be a high-quality photo of yourself, not a company logo or other image. Profiles with photos of themselves receive 21 times more profile views and up to 36 times more messages. The general rule of thumb is for your face to take up at least 60% of the image and to have good lighting and show off your personality, positive energy, and executive presence regardless of your career level. Here are some additional tips from LinkedIn to pick the perfect profile picture.
2. Include a background photo
The second visual element on your profile is your background photo. This is prime real-estate to grab your visitor’s attention and reinforce who you are. Consider a photo of your community or team, a visual representation of your cause or mission, or some of your products or services (a home under construction or remodel for example). Make sure your image fits LinkedIn guidelines as well.
Part of optimizing your profile is making the right connections to build a professional network. Having relevant connections shows you’re an involved, known, and trustworthy member of your industry. Follow these tips to grow a solid network and improve your LinkedIn presence.
1. Choose the right people to connect with
Making personal connections is an important part of marketing and building business relationships on LinkedIn. Connections can help drive traffic to your profile and company by interacting with your content, and help grow your network by introducing you to their connections who may benefit from doing business with your company.
That being said, you want to connect with people the right way. You may look like a spammer if you request to connect with many members you don’t know, and accepting all requests that come in will not necessarily help your networking initiatives if they aren’t in the housing industry or don’t have connections to the housing industry. If you are looking to connect with a member that doesn’t know you but could be a great networking opportunity, send them a message and let them know why you made the request.
You can also sync your LinkedIn profile to your email address list. This allows LinkedIn to suggest connections for you that can help you expand your community.
2. Participate in LinkedIn groups
Another way to meet and connect with new members on LinkedIn is to join groups relevant to your industry. Starting discussions, sharing content, and leaving engaging comments on posts are all ways to get noticed and open the door for new connections to be made. This can help you build a reputation as an industry leader and promote your company.
3. Use endorsements
Endorsements are a LinkedIn feature that allows you and your connections to visit each other’s profiles and “endorse” skills in the skills section. Endorsements validate that the skills you indicated you have and are a nice way to back up your work experience, increasing your credibility.
One of the best ways to get endorsed on LinkedIn is to endorse some skills of connections you have worked with or know personally. This usually triggers those people to go to your profile and endorse some of your skills as well. Keep in mind that sometimes you will get a number of endorsements on skills that are not the ones you want most emphasized. You can control which endorsements you want to show and hide in your skills section using the “edit” feature.
4. Ask for recommendations
Recommendations are personal testimonials from current and past colleagues showcasing their experience working with you. These are very valuable for boosting your credibility. You can request recommendations from connections right on your profile.
Personal branding tips
A large part of optimizing your LinkedIn profile is your personal branding. Check out these tips to include content that showcases your skills, experience, and personal mission.
1. Get creative with your headline
The average LinkedIn member will put their job title as their profile header – don’t be average! Spice up your headline by saying more about your current role, your values, mission, or a fun fact about you. You can explore ideas here.
2. Tell a story in your summary
Your LinkedIn profile summary is a space to define who you are with full creative freedom. Highlight your achievements, career goals, and show off your personality. Explain what drives you in your professional life, what makes you successful at what you do, and what exactly it is that you do in your own words. You can find some great summary examples from LinkedIn here. A word of caution: avoid typical fluff or “buzzwords” in your summary (headline too). These are overly-used used adjectives like “innovative,” “passionate,” and “experienced”. Your summary should show your skills and qualifications, so it’s best to describe yourself by explaining how you’re creative and innovative, rather than simply stating you are.
Optimizing your LinkedIn personal profile is also about what media and content you post. The more original content and shared content you post, the more your expertise and position as a leader in your industry is validated. Here are some tips to stand out to business connections with your content.
1. Share your company’s thought-leadership content
Sharing your company’s thought-leadership content such as reports, case studies, and white papers boosts your credibility and draws attention to the value your company provides to your industry. If you’ve helped create any published content you can add it under the “publications” section of your profile.
2. Share content from your feed
Participating in your network by sharing your connections’ content is a great way to continue building those business relationships. It also shows you value the opinions and insights of others, are passionate about your industry, and pay attention to what’s happening in industry news. If you share posts from your feed, always add a comment with your own thoughts about it. Just sharing content won’t help you become a prominent professional in your industry on LinkedIn, but sharing your opinions and insights will.