Whether you want to use LinkedIn to generate leads or to find a new job, these tips on how to improve your profile will help you achieve your goal.

Having said that, you first need to decide what it is you want to get out of using the platform in order to shape your LinkedIn strategy. All of the below tips can help you form your strategy;

Complete it all

It’s important that all areas of your LinkedIn profile are filled out. A LinkedIn profile has lots of different elements which will engage your audience if completed.

Ensure you have listed, at the very least, your current and last employment. Write descriptions for both; a job title says little if anything about what you actually do.

Fill out your education; not only is it important to have your field of study listed on your profile, but LinkedIn will also find your old classmates for you which can prove to be worthwhile connections to have!

List your skills and order them by most relevant to your target audience. This is a really easy way to give your profile some credibility; all it takes is one click from someone who thinks you possess this skill and you’ve got yourself an endorsement.

Photo

You need a good quality portrait photo that looks like you – people should be able to recognise you from your photo.

We see so many people with photos that just aren’t appropriate for LinkedIn. This may be because when we initially set up our profiles, we can’t find a decent picture and so end up uploading the closest thing to acceptable. Honestly, it doesn’t take too much effort to find a friend with a camera to take a headshot of you looking professional and approachable – get it done!

Profile background images give you a great opportunity to introduce some branding to your profile.

Summary

Your strategy will tailor the content in your summary. If you’re using LinkedIn to generate leads, you need to build trust and interest in this section; talk about your accomplishments, expertise and passion.

If you’re openly looking for job opportunities then state this in your summary!

With LinkedIn’s recent change, it only shows the first two lines of your summary until you click ‘see more’ so make sure you give people a reason to continue reading.

URL

LinkedIn generates a unique URL for your profile which is normally just a bunch of numbers. It doesn’t look great and it screams ‘LinkedIn novice’. Changing your URL to include your name is a really quick and simple change. You can do it by clicking the edit icon on ‘Contact’ and ‘Personal Info’ which you’ll find on the right hand side of your profile.

Content

Your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have to be a wall of text; add images and use bulleted lists.

As for content updates, keep it professional and remember it’s not Facebook. Share news relevant to your industry and profession and provide your network with value.

You can also write Articles which will be published on your profile. Spend a few hours writing a well formed blog which showcases your knowledge in a specific area.

Recommendations

Having recommendations on your profile is the best way to build trust in your services/products. You can ask for recommendations from people in your network; find a few people that you have worked well with and send them a personalised message asking for the recommendation.

Just a few people you could ask for a recommendation;

  • Clients you have worked with or are working with
  • Previous/current employers
  • Colleagues

In your personalised message, list a few points for them to cover – it makes it easier for them and therefore more likely to write the recommendation.

Optimise for search engines

Optimised LinkedIn profiles frequently appear in Google searches especially when someone has searched a job title. If you have any SEO knowledge, put it into practice!

If you want to stand a chance of appearing in your target audience’s Google search, you need to ensure all 9 tips are implemented. Also make sure you have a keyword optimised job title and include keywords relating to your industry, profession and location.

Join groups and make connections

The purpose of LinkedIn is to build a network of valuable connections and to do this you must appear to be a valuable connection to other people.

LinkedIn shows the amount of connections you have so you should aim to build your connections quickly. It also shows the groups you are part of; show your network that you are truly interested and passionate about your area of work by joining the discussions.

Contact information

Don’t let all your efforts go to waste; make sure the people you want to reach can get in contact with you. At the very least, have your email address on your profile. There’s also the option to add a phone number and an address.