One of the simplest ways to start building your personal brand online is to optimize your LinkedIn profile so you’ll get found and be remembered.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a job seeker, a consultant, a freelancer, an entrepreneur, a professional, or a business executive—you will benefit from having a fully optimized LinkedIn profile. How? You will have clarity on:
- Who you want to reach
- What value you offer
- Where you want to be, as a result of your personal brand
- Why you want to stand out
- How you want to be remembered
Before optimizing your profile, you need to be very clear with these two questions:
1. What do you want to be found for?
If you create your profile just because somebody said you should do so or because you’re “just curious,” you have to rethink your reason.
To succeed on LinkedIn, you must first have a clear goal.
LinkedIn optimization is not a one-time activity. It’s a commitment to yourself and your brand.
To optimize means first creating your profile, then making iterations based on your goals, testing what works and what doesn’t work, and consistently making tweaks as you change your career or business goals.
So before you create a profile, ask yourself, “What do I want to be found for?” The answer to this question is critical to your success on LinkedIn.
2. How do you want to be remembered?
Once someone finds you on LinkedIn and views your profile, congratulations! One profile view on LinkedIn could mean one opportunity.
So what does this mean? Without profile views, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. That’s why the ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’ feature is one of the important metrics in your dashboard.
Your next job is to figure out how you want to be remembered. If your profile is incomplete, has a lot of grammatical and spelling errors, doesn’t say anything about who you really are, doesn’t highlight how great you are and has practically nothing on it—how do you expect your profile viewers to remember you?
If your profile viewers found and remembered you for the same reason, you’re most likely to convert that profile view into a career or business opportunity.
For example: If I want to be found for as a LinkedIn trainer or consultant who can help professionals build a strong personal brand on LinkedIn, I have to optimize and complete my own profile so my profile viewers will be convinced that I know what I’m doing.
Now, it’s time to optimize your profile. Here are seven simple ways to have an impressive LinkedIn profile:
#1 Claim your vanity URL.
Look at your current LinkedIn profile URL. If you see a combination of numbers and letters that don’t make sense (see image below), it means you haven’t optimized it yet. You can edit this and get a unique URL that no one else can claim.
Here’s how to do it:
Click ‘Edit public profile & URL’ on the right sidebar → Click on the pencil icon to edit your profile URL.
Customizing your profile URL takes only a few minutes and will help you get found on LinkedIn. Having a customized URL also makes your profile look more professional.
#2 Update your headline.
By default, LinkedIn uses your current or latest job experience in your headline. You can edit your headline to reflect how you want to position yourself.
Most often than not, your job title at your current company won’t clearly communicate who you are as a professional, so be sure to edit your headline.
Here’s how to do it:
Click on the pencil icon on the right side of your profile photo → Edit your headline → Click ‘Save’
Your headline is critical to being found on LinkedIn. Include the keywords that your target audience or clients use when they’re searching for people with your skills, products or services.
For example: I never used ‘Quality Control and Training Team Lead’ in my headline nor in the ‘Experience’ section although it was my exact position at the time. Why? People who are looking for editors or trainers won’t type ‘quality control team lead’ or ‘training team lead’ in the search box.
So I simply used the words that people type in the search box: Editor, Trainer.
And then, in the relevant ‘Experience’ section, I qualified that by mentioning my exact position (so my colleagues won’t be surprised with it).
Take the time to really figure out which keywords will help you get found and don’t skip this stage. You’d be surprised at the impact of using the right keywords to your profile views.
#3 Carefully craft your profile summary.
One of the biggest mistakes of most LinkedIn users is not writing anything on the profile summary, which is crucial not only in getting found, but in increasing the chances that a profile view will lead to an opportunity.
Your profile summary gives you an opportunity to talk to your target clients or audience. Tell them how you can help solve their problems. Yes, write your profile summary with your target clients in mind, and simply answer the question, “What’s in it for them?”
No matter how great you are, avoid buzzwords such as passionate, strategic, etc. Instead, be specific. Use numbers. Show results. Use up to 2,000 characters. Always include your keywords in the summary.
Tip: Having clarity on who you want to reach on LinkedIn is the key to crafting a well-written profile summary that converts profile views to opportunities for you.
#4 Add your skills and manage your endorsements.
Managing the ‘Featured Skills & Endorsements’ has three advantages:
- It helps you to know yourself well. You can add up to 50 skills, and if you lack focus—you will be tempted to add 50 unrelated skills that no one will be willing to endorse you for.
- It enables you to add social proof to your profile. Having a lot of your 1st-degree connections endorse you for the same skills increases your credibility.
- It helps you get found on LinkedIn. The more endorsements you have on a particular skill, the higher the chance that you will appear in searches.
Asking for endorsements may be a challenge for you, but it’s worth asking. So go ahead and ask for endorsements particularly from those you’ve actually worked with!
#5 Use a professional headshot.
LinkedIn is a professional network and if you’re building your brand, you want to create a good impression. If you want people to know, like and trust you, use a photo that shows how you exactly want to look when you’re attending a networking event and meeting people for the first time.
Invest in a professional headshot. It does matter. If you have to hire a professional photographer, do it. It’s your initial step to getting people to like and trust you.
Don’t forget to set your profile photo visibility. You can choose to be visible only to your connections, to your network (1st- to 3rd-degree connections), to all LinkedIn members who are signed in, or to the public.
I suggest choosing to be visible to the public to maximize the chances of getting found and contacted by the right people. Ultimately, your choice here should support your overall goal for using LinkedIn.
#6 Use rich media to show your achievements.
Make it easy for your profile viewers to instantly see what you do and how you do it. Display your work samples to demonstrate your skills and show your achievements.
You could upload photos, videos, images, presentations and other documents. You may also add links to external sites from various rich media content providers.
#7 Customize your LinkedIn banner.
Customize your LinkedIn profile banner to help you define your overall brand and make you stand out. Try using Canva, a free, easy-to-use graphic-design tool for customizing your profile banner.
Is this how you want to appear in the professional world?
Get some inspiration from these LinkedIn Profiles
Ravi Chahar – WordPress Professional, Web Developer || Web Designer, Skilled Blogger
Andy Foster – Headshot Photographer 📷 Stockholm 🇸🇪 If you are not seen, you do not exist #SWOLEG Knows #PHUSTLE
Sheba Coffey – Basketball Scholarship Advisor ✦ Parent of 3 Division 1 College Basketball Scholarship Earners ✦ Achievement Advisor
Priscilla Tan – Profile Feature Writer and Copywriter 💫 Published on Forbes, Inc. Magazine, The Muse, and CNBC Make It 💫
Emmanuelle Protasio – ✦ Change & Leadership Consultant ✦ OD Consultant ✦ Performance Management Consultant ✦
Kate Christie – Time Management Expert – Helping busy people manage their time smarter to find 30 hours of lost time a month
Hari Krishnan – CEO at PropertyGuru group | Entrepreneur advisor
Charles Brewer – DHL eCommerce, Henley Business School
Brian Grubb – Chief Executive Officer | International Corporate Advisor | Global Keynote Speaker
Sigit Arifianto – Linkedin Power Profiles 2017 | Digital Marketing Strategist | Author | Public Speaker
LinkedIn is a very powerful tool in achieving your career and business goals, and the first step to leveraging its power is to optimize your profile.
With a top-notch profile, you can attract opportunities and connect with like-minded people who can help accelerate your success. So go ahead and start optimizing your LinkedIn profile for success!