With over 161 million members in over 200 countries (as of June 2012), LinkedIn is the largest site for connecting business professionals. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a plethora of potential prospects – it’s time to get with the rest of the world and join! I’ve created a step by step guide below to help you create a powerful LinkedIn profile.
I cringe when I hear people putting LinkedIn in the same category as Facebook or any other social networking sites. It’s not the same. LinkedIn is completely different and it’s an absolute necessity. If you are a professional in today’s business world (it doesn’t matter what you do), then you need to have a professional LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, I’ve provided a simple checklist to get you started – if you are already using LinkedIn, double check these steps and make sure you haven’t left any out. Your profile should take about an hour to create, so block time on your calendar in the next week and create (or update) your profile.
Create a powerful LinkedIn profile in 10 easy steps
Steps 1 – 5: The Basics
- Use proper grammar, punctuation and capitalization.
OK, this isn’t so much a step as a general guideline – but it needs to said: This, in some cases, is your first impression (or last) to your prospective client. Take the time to ensure it looks as professional as your resume.
- Add a professional photo of yourself.
It’s important to have a professional photo of you on your profile. This is not a social site, so your picture shouldn’t be one of you on the beach or holding your pet.
- Create a headline with a power statement.
Your headline is the sentence that appears just below your name. Think of it as your personal slogan that professionals see next to your name when you show up in their feed. Your headline should be short, but have a punch. There are far too many account executives (over 280,000 actually) – so that title alone doesn’t tell anyone what you truly do for your organization. My headline reads: “I change salespeople’s lives… One at a time.” It’s different and it catches your attention. Here are some others I like: “Commercial Insurance Expert with over 15 years experience,” “Journalist, Author, and Creative Guru,” or “Provider of Mortgage Loans in Texas.”
The summary section should be a descriptive outline of your professional career highlighting why someone should connect with you. Your unique skills and talents should be emphasized in this section. Write in full sentences and make sure it flows well and is easily read.
List your current and past experiences accurately. Be sure to add a description of each position at each company.
Steps 6-10: Enhancing Your Profile
Add your education credentials.
- Specialties, Skills, Expertise, Honors and Awards.
If you have specialties that set you apart from your competition, be sure to add them to your profile. Add catch phrases or terms that someone may search for while using the search function in LinkedIn.
- Ask for Recommendations.
Recommendations are a way for your fans to speak for you. Your job gets that much easier when you let your fans sell you! Ask colleagues, clients, managers, and employees to endorse your work. Recommendations are also required to have your profile at 100% complete status.
Add your personal website, company website, Twitter handle, or Facebook fan page.
You can also edit your Linked profile name and URL; my profile reads: www.linkedin.com/in/salescoachdew
As soon as you save your profile, LinkedIn will start suggesting connections for you. Remember, the first thing a connection will do is review your profile, so make sure your profile is satisfactory before adding connections. Connect with the people you know such as your co-workers, past employers, clients, customers, business owners, and alumni. When you request and invite, include a personalized message.
There are several additional ways to upgrade your profile, but this is an excellent start. In an hour or less, these tips will help you create a powerful LinkedIn profile that will get attention.
I’ll write additional articles about status updates, groups and creating a company page, but this information is more than enough to get you up and running.
Take some time to search for people in your line of work to get ideas for your own LinkedIn profile, it will end up being time well spent.
Until next time – go sell some stuff!