How to write the perfect Linkedin page

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If you are looking for a new role, or are just passively interested in hearing about opportunities, Linkedin is your best friend. The same is true for attracting new clients or promoting your company or its products. Linkedin essentially functions as your online resume, showcasing your skills and experience, and so it is important that you know how to put your best foot forwards digitally as well as in person. Recruiters overwhelmingly use Linkedin to find candidates these days, and it is an excellent platform for all aspects of business development and marketing too.

Here is how to write a great Linkedin profile:

Be careful with the updates

The first thing to do before you proceed is to visit your settings and turn off ‘sharing profile edits’ – you don’t want to bombard your network with updates every time you hit the edit button!

Choose your photo carefully

Your photo will be the first thing people see, and without one your profile is in danger of looking incomplete and inactive. Your photo is an opportunity to show yourself as friendly, approachable and professional, and those ought to be the keywords when you look for something suitable. Avoid photos that are overly cheesy, or that are too private and relaxed in nature – that photo of you clubbing with a mojito in one hand and a cropped out friend in the other is a no-no. Bear in mind that it is a professional network, not a dating site.

You also have the option of a background photo. A standard Linkedin blue background will do nicely, but if you do wish to upload your own, keep to the professional theme.

Headline

The headline is the most important part of your profile, as it is the first thing people will see, and will be prominently featured in search results, messages and invitations. Make it short, memorable, and ideally with searchable keywords, as Linkedin has excellent SEO capabilities.

People will often use their job title as the headline (this is what will happen if you leave it blank), but it’s worth thinking about whether this is the best choice or not. The headline should describe what you do, and the place your career is currently in, and job titles don’t always do this. Titles such as Associate Director or Assistant Vice President might make sense when people know which industry you are in, but it’s still better to give your role a proper description in the headline.

Your headline is also an opportunity to sell yourself.

Summary

Many people ignore the summary, but this is an excellent place to summarise your skills and expertise. Treat it as something of a mission statement – what do you want to be known for, how do you want to be seen professionally? The summary has a similar function to a profile section on a cv, and will often be the only thing people read if they are scanning through multiple profiles. Some key points:

• 3-5 short paragraphs is ideal, written in first person ‘I’.
• You’ll want to keep a professional tone, but do let your personality shine through in order to build rapport with the reader.
• Keep in mind that people switch off when paragraphs become to long and dense, so pack yours with white space.
• Videos, slide shows and images are effective. Add these at the end if you have them.
• Lastly, make it keyword rich!

This Linkedin article has some great examples of how to write a good summary.

Career history

Make sure to fill this in thoroughly. This is where job titles belong, but don’t just leave it at companies, dates and titles. Much like the summary, most people don’t make full use of the free text space available, and this is the perfect place to tell people about your achievements, your day-to-day duties and your skills. This is particularly important for your current role, but also for other roles that are relevant to what you do now and the direction you want to head in the future.

Think about what you want to convey and who you are targeting. Recruiters will be looking to learn about what you currently do, and what your achievements are, prospective clients might be more interested in your company and its services, and how you can help them. Either way, it is often useful to start with a line about what your company does, in particular if it is not a household name.

Again, avoid long, dense paragraphs.

Education

This is another area many people leave out, but it is absolutely worth including, particularly higher education and professional qualifications. Recruiters often search on qualifications that match their clients’ requirements, and so make sure that yours are included.

Spelling & grammar

It matters. Just as with your cv, grammar and spelling mistakes give a poor impression, so do take time to proof-read!

Do you want people to contact you?

It’s an important point, because if so, you need to make it possible. Do you want to be visible only to your network, or to everyone? To edit what the world sees, there is a link on the right hand side of your profile called ‘Edit your public profile’, where you can choose how much of your profile is public. This also gives you the option of creating custom URL, which will make you easier to find.

It seems obvious, but make sure to visit your app or your page regularly to respond to invitations and messages.

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