Improve your LinkedIn Profile in 10 Easy Steps

Do you need to find a job or connect with other useful and like-minded individuals? If so, LinkedIn is your answer. While Facebook and Twitter might be fun, LinkedIn is the world’s go-to source for professional connections. A superb LinkedIn profile can help you develop meaningful connections and enhance your professional career. Here are a few tips you should follow to make your LinkedIn profile better:

1. Take a good profile picture. Taking a high-quality profile picture is one of the biggest factors for success on LinkedIn. Quite obviously, you should make sure the picture makes you look good and that it captures a good view of your face. You should avoid certain types of pictures, such as distant shots, pictures with friends, and pictures of you partying. Some people try to crop themselves out of group photos, but accidentally leave a detail such as someone’s arm around their shoulders. This looks awkward and unprofessional. You should also not wear hats or sunglasses in the picture. If you do wear glasses, you can take out the lenses to avoid any unintentional camera glare. If you want to stand out from the crowd, try taking a black-and-white picture, which can make a noticeable difference.

2. Create a great and catchy headline. LinkedIn allows you to use only 120 characters in your headline, so you had better make it memorable. Use relevant keywords that recruiters and other industry professionals are looking for, and be sure to provide a short, high-quality summary that succinctly captures your skills. Think of it as an elevator pitch. You only have a short amount of time to pitch, so make it work.

3. Write a first-rate summary. Your summary is where you can say everything you couldn’t fit into your headline. You can go into more details about your skills and abilities, and prepare a pitch that will get the reader excited about meeting or hiring you.

4. Use skills and endorsements to market yourself. Part of LinkedIn’s appeal is that you can list your relevant skills. It is helpful to have friends and co-workers who can endorse your competencies in certain areas, and even more so when they can write recommendations for you and vouch for what a great worker you are. This is something that will provide social proof to both recruiters and potential partners that you are the real deal and have the skills you claim to have. Encourage your contacts to leave endorsements and recommendations by doing the same for them, and then hope they will return the favor.

5. Provide contact information so people can get in touch with you. After you have made a solid impression on the person looking at your profile, they will probably be interested in getting to know more about you and will want to contact you sometime in the near future. It is easy enough for them to simply send you a private message, but they might prefer sending you something via email or calling your cell phone and talking to you. You should make sure the email address and phone number on your profile are readily updated just in case this happens.

6. Connect with other people. Expand your LinkedIn network as much as you can by adding co-workers, bosses, guest bloggers, friends, family, and former classmates, among others. A bigger list of connections has many benefits. First, it could provide you new job opportunities. Second, those people may be willing to endorse your skills and help improve your profile. Third, it can just be nice to get in contact with those people you haven’t spoken to in years. See what they are up to and perhaps rekindle an old friendship.

7. Get involved with other groups. Join various LinkedIn communities so that you can connect with like-minded individuals and professionals in the same area or industry as you. Doing so will show onlookers that you are actively involved in online communities. Share your expertise and prove that you are a thought leader in whatever sector or industry you are in.

8. Post publications. You should show off what you have done in the past. Perhaps you’ve written a few great articles that have appeared in Forbes, Business Insider, ABF Journal, or some other print publication or website. You should share those publications with your connections. Nothing shows off your skill more than showing off something you created.

9. Share content with your connections. LinkedIn is a social media network, so it stands to reason that it is a prime platform for sharing content. Of course, it is different than sharing pictures on Instagram or BuzzFeed quizzes on Facebook. Use LinkedIn to post relevant articles, pictures, infographics, quotes, and other content that your network will be interested in. This will demonstrate to others that you are interested in new information that is related to your field.

10. Stay professional. This is probably the most important rule of LinkedIn. Act as you would in a workplace. That means you should avoid off-color jokes and other controversial topics. Keep your communications strictly professional to make a good impression on others. One man is said to have found himself in deep heat simply for calling someone else “stunning” on the social networking site. Keep it cool and stay professional.

This is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list of what to do on LinkedIn, but it is a guideline that should be followed. Grab attention with a good profile picture, catchy headline, and concise summary of your skills, along with nice words from those who would vouch for your abilities. Connect with individuals and groups, share content and post publications in which you have appeared, and provide contact information for those who wish to know more about you. Above all, be a professional. Use these tips to spruce up your LinkedIn profile and make it the best it can be. Once you do, you will find yourself with more opportunities and meaningful connections than you can imagine.
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