15 Secrets From the Pros to Create a Perfect LinkedIn Profile

By Edison Lafont| January 5, 2017

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Perfect LinkedIn Profile

When was the last time you gave your LinkedIn profile a fresh look?

Does it come up in searches when recruiters are hunting for talent? Is it complete and well-written? If your answer is uhhhhh, 2017 is a great time to rethink.

We all know LinkedIn is a big deal

If you think LinkedIn is just for your parents, think again. The half billion business people on LinkedIn are very active, especially recruiters. Here are 15 secrets from the pros to create a perfect LinkedIn profile and transform it into an amazing sales tool—for you.

Your profile page should be a mini website.

Think of each section of your profile like a web page. You can describe your services, post articles, new projects, slide shares, videos, testimonials, and awards.

Everything someone would need to decide to hire you is here.

15 secrets to a professional, laser-focused profile

TIP: Turn off the “Notify network?” feature while you make small changes. It notifies your connections every time which is kind of annoying. Keep it on if you add something vital like a new project or change jobs.

Note: LinkedIn is undergoing some major changes. The instructions below may vary if yours is one that has been converted, but you will be able to make all of these changes.

1. Create an inspiring background image

First impressions matter! If you are using a free background image LinkedIn provides, it’s time to change that. If this is not your forte, call a designer friend and have them create a custom image that you feel is totally the professional you. Don’t miss this visual opportunity to stand out and tell your story in a split second.

To change your image, follow these steps:

  • Create an image first. Allow for coverage by your profile box on top. Be original and remarkable.
  • Make the canvas between 1000 x 425 and 4000 x 4000 pixels
  • Save as a JPG, GIF or PNG on your desktop, at 4MB or less

Then,

  • In your LinkedIn profile, choose Edit Profile [the pencil on right]
  • Click the camera icon above the top section of your profile
  • Upload it and save.

See how much a custom image adds to a profile.

Perfect LinkedIn Profile

2. Upload a new professional profile photo

Your profile photo has an important job to do. It puts a face to your name. Statistics prove most people skip over you if there is no photo.
An up-to-date headshot is ideal. Leave the dog home. Don’t wear an AC/DC T shirt. And don’t forget to smile.

Other secrets the pros use:

  • Keep your background simple. It will be clearer in the small space.
  • Put a border around it. This makes it stand out in the results listings
  • Make it round, (new profile images are going to be round) sized no larger than 500 x 500 pixels

Read more about how to rock LinkedIn

3. Write a headline, not just a job title

Under your name, the first thing people see is a short section of text. You don’t have to say “Intern at Smithsonian.” Boring. Telling people how you help them grabs their attention. Write a headline, not a list of your credentials.

Include:

  • WHAT you do (√ Help people discover science…)
  • The benefits (…so they √ learn to love our planet)
  • Don’t be boring

The final: I help people discover science by √ having fun √ Inspire people to love our planet

TIP: You can make the checkmark using option/V on your keyboard

Great Examples:
Bobbie Foedisch
Leveraging LinkedIn & Social Selling Innovation (What she does + keywords) to ✔Build Powerful Networks ✔Open Doors ✔Maximize Client Acquisition (benefit, benefit, benefit)

John Goodman
At John Goodman PR (what he does) “A survivor of ABC & CBS News and a Red Sox fan trapped behind enemy lines in Westchester County” (Not boring)

Perfect LinkedIn Profile

4. Expand your Background section

The Summary section

Think of this section as your “About Us” page.

Tell people what your intentions are (mission) and how what you do delivers specific results (show the benefits). As a student or intern, you are not a business yet, but can tell us what inspires you and what you are aiming for in your career. Articulate your values. Show those who hire you who you are as a person and what you bring to the table.

Add presentations, slide shares, videos (remember Elle Woods’ Harvard interview video?)

Interns-DC-Calls-to-Action-view properties

5. Demonstrate your experience

The experience section differs from your summary. Think of this as your “Services” section. Here, you can list who you are (Intern to a Marketing Director, assistant to the curator, visitor guide, etc) and specific things you do such as data analysis, public speaking, art direction, social management, and so on.
Add visuals, presentations, videos, white papers, any examples of your work to this key section.
You can also show your experience outside of your company, such as teaching, contributing as an author, chairing a committee or volunteer work.

But don’t ramble. Chop out every unneeded word. It doesn’t have to be The Odyssey to be good.
Great Example

6. Show off your projects

Think of the projects section as the “my work” or “case stories” section.

Show a variety of projects you’ve done. Tell a story about each one. People love stories with a little drama.
If you’re a political intern, describe a specific project you worked on the result it had. If you’re an intern at the Smithsonian, talk about an experience that changed you for the better. Show workshops you attended, seminars you gave, a blog post or white paper you authored.

Be visual! Add video, images, PDFs, slide shares or infographics. Get creative. This section can truly tell your story and show the benefits of your talents.

7. Show you belong to a cause

People often relate to you through common interests. They may look you up at the next chamber event or networking meeting for that org. just because.

Perfect LinkedIn Profile

8. List your Honors & Awards

List any awards you’ve won if they pertain to your career. Winning the 5th grade spelling bee may not be relevant here, though it is a fun fact. Use your discretion. Show your expertise. If you’ve won a Pulitzer, definitely put it here.

9. Publications

Have you written a book? Written a blog? Here’s the spot to showcase your authorship to add another level of expertise to your profile. Linking to it from your profile can increase readership.

10. Skills are keywords

Most linkediners hate this section, because it is not always accurate. BUT, it does serve a purpose: adding keywords to your profile.
List the top 10 skills first that best describe you. The others will show below.

List only skills that are accurate and relevant. Weed out the ones that are not. The more you do this, the clearer your skill set will be.

11. Education: Include only what’s relevant.

It doesn’t have to be about college. If you didn’t get a degree yet, don’t sweat it. Neither did Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, two of the world’s richest dropouts! This section can include certifications and workshops or seminars you’ve completed.

12. Be a Joiner

Join groups whose members consist of the target employer you want to meet. When you publish content, it gets you in front of them over and over, and they can see you are active, and an expert. Many people have won work through posting in groups. You can also read news in your feed and stay on top of what’s new in your industry.
Here’s one for The Smithsonian:

13. Recommendations

Ask for them. Get them. But first, give them to others.

Use recommendations only for the career you are in now, unless it’s about your character. It’s okay to write a quick, short first draft if the person you are asking is super busy. They can edit more easily if they have a head start. Or just ask if they can talk about a specific skill you want to highlight.

A good recommendation would include:

  • A quality they admire about you [gets the job done, innovative, persistent]
  • How your work impacted their business (we were more organized, created a fantastic system for…)

14. Proofread it

This one is really no secret. Run your profile through a grammar checker like Hemingway. Take out adverbs. Shorten sentences. Count how many “I’s” instead of “You’s” you have.
Have a friend or colleague read it. Be open to their input.

15. Check Back Often

Your LinkedIn Profile is a living document. It grows as you do. Make sure that growth and those achievements are updated on your page regularly.

Get busy and publish. Create posts, presentations and videos. The more you create, the better you will get at creating a perfect LinkedIn profile.

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