I often get asked – “I know I need to update my LinkedIn profile, but where do I start?” Well, here is my answer. The tips listed here are really the most basic things to change about your profile, to make it more professional. LinkedIn is a social business network after all, and your aim should be to present your professional persona in the best possible way. Below are my top five tips on how to build a profile that engages customers, and helps them understand how you can enable them to achieve their business objectives. There are lots of things you can do to build an amazing profile, but these are the top five items that need to be addressed. In the coming weeks, I’ll address how you can build an All-Star profile!
When your customer or potential customer looks at your LinkedIn profile, they want to see someone who is a) professional and human and b) able to help them solve their business problems. When you first built your LinkedIn profile, you likely built it as your online resume, documenting your current and previous roles, and potentially you built it to attract recruiters. As a socially enabled sales professional, the purpose of our LinkedIn profile has changed, and we need to adapt the look and feel of the profile to accommodate that purpose.
Here are the five tips to polish your LinkedIn profile;
1) Professional photo – This should be a professional style headshot – head and shoulders only. Wearing professional clothing – business attire for men and women. Avoid casual stances, settings such as a bar or other non-professional setting, busy backgrounds, pets or other people in the shot, poor lighting etc.
2) Name – Use the name you introduce yourself as – Mike vs Michael, Bill vs William, it makes it easier for your customer to find you.
3) Headline – this is the line just under your name at the top of your profile. Your headline should describe what you do and the value you bring, without stating your title. For example – use Business Process Consultant, instead of Senior Account Executive. You can also add in keywords here that are related to your area of expertise – Cloud, Analytics, Retail, whatever that might be for you. When anyone searches on LinkedIn, the search engines only search name, headline and location, so you need your headline to be very strategic. Using value-added words such as “enabling” or “driving”, transformation” etc. all add to the engagement level of your headline.
4) Contact Information – Your 1st degree connections can see your direct contact information, and everyone else can see your Twitter, WeChat and Website links. In order to make it easy for your connections to reach out to you, I would recommend including your business email, your phone number and address. I would also suggest including your Twitter handle (and any other social media handles you have professionally), your phone number, and the link to any publications you have (blogs etc). A QUICK TIP: When adding websites, if you choose “Other” from the drop-down box, you have the opportunity to modify the text for the hyperlink, and can make it a call-to-action “Learn more about ABC” or “View a demo”.
5) Summary – This is the part that will take you a bit longer to modify. Essentially, you want to build your summary in a “customer-centric” way instead of “you-centric”. It is no longer about you and your accomplishments; it is about what you can bring to the table as a representative of your company or business, which will benefit your customer. Look for the next blog post that details how to build a strategically sound summary.
If you address these five areas of your profile, you will be well on your way to an All-Star profile on LinkedIn. The next blog will go into details around building a great customer-centric summary.
Please reach out with any questions! I am happy to help you build your new “customer-centric” profile! I can be easily found on LinkedIn – Kirsten Boileau