Creating a Great LinkedIn Profile – What You Should and Shouldn’t Share

LinkedIn, the job-searching and career-networking site, is now used by professionals all over the globe. Since it launched in 2003 it has grown to become one of the most popular social media sites for business professionals to make connections and build their network. Whether you own your own business, are searching for work, or are looking to improve your job prospects, LinkedIn can help – provided you’re sharing the right information about yourself.

We’re going to take a look at things you should be sharing on LinkedIn, giving you tips on how to get the best out of the business-minded social networking site, and some language tips to help improve your LinkedIn profile.

Profile tips

Your LinkedIn profile is essentially an online CV, detailing all of your education and professional accomplishments. That means it should be detailed and accurate – keep it up to date and check and double-check your spelling and grammar to ensure your profile looks professional.

Always add a photo. Did you know that a LinkedIn profile with a photo is 11 times more likely to be viewed and updates with a photograph get five times more shares? Photos are key to creating a professional profile, and we have extra photo tips for you below to help you choose the right shots.

Don’t forget to make your profile public! Making your profile public means that the whole world can see it. You should also customise your URL to something that’s easy to share. For example, using your name is the ideal option, if it’s available, for example:

Photo tips

LinkedIn introduced photo sharing via mobile for all 300 million of its members this year. This means that users can now add photos to their updates from their mobile phones via the LinkedIn app, as well as from their desktops. So images are becoming increasingly important, and easier to add, on the site. But which photos should you add, and which should you keep for your Facebook page?

The key is to keep things professional. Forget photos of your recent holiday and stick to pictures that will appeal to a potential employer or client. You could include pictures of your work or your team’s work, photos of you meeting people of interest, giving presentations or doing volunteer work. If you include photos of other people make sure you get their permission first.

Summary tips

If your LinkedIn profile is your CV or resume then your LinkedIn summary is your cover letter. This section introduces you to any potential employers. This is the section that’s going to grab their attention, sum up who you are, and make you stand out from the crowd. Show some personality, keep all the information accurate, include certifications, languages and other skills you think are relevant, and don’t forget to write a catchy headline – this shows up right at the top of the page when someone views your profile.

Additional info tips

You can use this LinkedIn section to really sell yourself, so always use it when you can. You could link to your Twitter account, personal website, blogs and any other sites that provide professional information about you.

Language tips

No employer is going to be impressed by basic spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, so check your profile carefully for these before you make it public.

Stick to short sentences, especially in the summary section. This will help to hold people’s attention and ensure your profile info is clear and concise.

Try to avoid using buzzwords. LinkedIn has provided a handy guide to the top 10 overused words at the site. For example: responsible. Avoid using a word like this, as any employer will assume that you are responsible – it’s not a special skill to boast about, this is just something that should come naturally to you.

Make connections

If you want to improve your employment prospects you need to start networking. Remember that it’s quality not quantity that counts. You can make 500 LinkedIn connections, but if they’re to 500 people who work in a completely different industry to you then this isn’t going to be much help.

When you do connect, try to avoid using LinkedIn’s template “stock” connection invitation, as this isn’t very personal. Instead, always include a note of your own as to why you’d like to connect with that person and why you think this connection could benefit both of you.

Once you’ve built up your connections, try LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” tool to help you find even more connections. This will give you more opportunities to get introduced to people you’d like to know.

Keep your followers interested

Once you have connections you want to engage with them. Make sure they don’t forget who you are. You can keep people interested by posting regularly, posting things that are relevant to your industry, posting things that are genuinely interesting – and a little humour can help too.

Multimedia is your friend here, and you’ll tend to get a better response when your posts include links, video and pictures.

Do you have any other LinkedIn profile tips to share?