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Tips for LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Made Simple

A Winning LinkedIn Profile

To be successful in business, you must go beyond delivering value to your existing clients. You need to continually nurture relationships with new prospects, peers and clients.

To achieve business and personal growth, you need to reach new audiences and new markets – essentially connecting with new people to start conversations.

Once this initial step has been established, you can build a rapport to understand their pain points, before offering solutions and adding value.

A winning LinkedIn profile is the starting point.

LinkedIn Profile view of millions of members

LinkedIn Profile Tips For Small Business Owners

New Way Of Working

In the days gone by, business development lay at the door of the marketing, sales or business development departments.

Attending networking events, cold calling and direct marketing were often effective, but now there is a new way of making introductions – LinkedIn!

LinkedIn offers a new way of networking for business development purposes and career progression. With over 600 million registered users worldwide, LinkedIn has the potential to open many new doors.

LinkedIn is not like facebook or twitter

Tip 1 - what is a linkedin profile?

Your LinkedIn Profile

First of all, your profile is not a résumé. It is your online professional presence and a key part of your online reputation.

So whatever you do, never treat LinkedIn like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Making a strong first impression has never been so important. That is why your profile is the first area you should concentrate on.

This guide focuses on the key elements you need to implement.

Tip 2 - Create a profile in 8 easy steps

Profile Key Elements

  1. Custom URL

    Choose a custom URL which consists of your first and last name. If this is not available, consider a combination of initials and middle names.
  2. Your Photo

    Use a professional headshot which is in focus and presents you at your best.

  3. Background Photo

    Think of this as a virtual billboard, a quick way to highlight your skills, services or brand identity.

  4. Headline

    This is your online elevator pitch, so make sure it is attention-grabbing.

  5. Summary

    You need to pack a punch with the first two lines so viewers will read more. Your summary should sell who you are and how you can help.

  6. Articles & Activity

    An ideal area to showcase your industry knowledge by creating relevant articles.

  7. Experience

    In here you can demonstrate what you can do and validate the results you can achieve for potential clients or employers.

  8. Recommendations

    This is where you establish trust and credibility by providing social proof from satisfied clients.
8 Steps To Creating A LinkedIn Profile Example

Tip 3 - Attract More LinkedIn Profile Views

Visible And Easy To Find Profile

Your task is to find people who you want to do business with, and also to be found by those who may wish to do business with you.

To have any chance of achieving this, make sure your profile is visible on LinkedIn and on search engines such as Google or Bing. To check these settings are enabled:

  • Click the Me icon at the top of your profile homepage
  • Under the Account section, select Settings & Privacy
  • Under the Privacy tab, select Edit your public profile

You will be shown a screen similar to below.

  1. Set Your profile’s public visibility to On
  2. Select Public then set each of the sections to Show
Visible And Easy To Find Profile

Setting your profile to public allows people who search on LinkedIn to view your full profile. It also allows your profile to be found on search engines.

Tip 4 - Forget the pets

Your Professional Photo

There are no excuses, you must include a photo of yourself.

The general consensus is that you should use a professional photo which is representative of the way you dress and appear in face-to-face meetings.

I recommend you upload a well-lit head and shoulders profile photo. Ensure that it is in focus and it clearly shows your face.

Remember, this is the first time new connections will see you, so it is important to present the correct impression.

Leave the photos of your pets, kids or of you socialising for Facebook.

Image of David Reid's LinkedIn profile
Bigger image of David Reid

Here are some best practices for your photo:

  • Image dimension 400 x 400 pixels
  • JPG, PNG or GIF file format
  • Head and shoulder shot
  • Neutral or non-distracting background
  • Dress in clothing which best represents your business life
  • Do not include pets, children or other irrelevant props

Tip 5 - Your Own Personal Billboard

Background Photo

Think of your background photo as a large advertising billboard.

It is the largest visual element of your LinkedIn profile. Alongside your profile photo, it is generally the first thing people see when they view your profile. So it has to stand out to help attract more views.

Think about the message that you want to get across. What can you include in your background photo to inform prospects about what you do and how you can help them?

You only have a few seconds to impress, so choose your background photo carefully.

That being said - you can always update your background photo as you evolve your personal or business offerings.

Keep in mind, many users view LinkedIn profiles on both mobile and desktop devices. This means that your background photo will shrink when viewed on a mobile – so avoid using too much text.

Your profile photo also overlays on top of the background photo, so be careful not to locate text which will be hidden behind your profile photo.

More importantly, do not leave the default “plain blue” LinkedIn image, as this gives the impression that you are not active on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn default image of background photo

LinkedIn statistics suggest 50% of people ignore incomplete profiles, so prospective clients or employers may look past you.

Here are some best practices for your background photo:

  • Don’t clutter the design - keep it simple
  • Communicate one or two key messages
  • Refrain from using small font sizes
  • Image dimension 1,584 x 396 pixels
  • JPG, PNG or GIF file format
  • Test how it appears on mobile and desktop devices

Tip 6 - Write Like a Journalist

Compelling Headline

In the world of journalism, the job of a news headline is to catch the eye of a reader, then compel them to read the sub-heading or the next sentence.

Write a compelling headline

Your profile headline is not any different. It is one of the first elements of your profile a reader will see. It is arguably one of the most important elements of your profile.

By default, your headline is automatically formed by extracting your current position and company name from the career history section. Unfortunately, this rarely produces a compelling headline.

It is up to you to craft an attention-grabbing headline.

Your headline is an introduction to your personal brand. It must communicate, in 120 characters, what your expertise is, how you differentiate yourself and how you can assist the reader.

Your potential prospects are likely to be interested in what you can do for them, not what your job title is or how successful you have been.

Place yourself in the shoes of a prospect, when they read your headline, what will compel them to read on.

Consider highlighting areas such as:

  • What you do and who you help
  • How you deliver value
  • Geographical locations you service
  • Proof that you will deliver on your promises

Also, keep in mind, when your profile appears in the LinkedIn post feed, your headline will be truncated.

So make sure the most important aspects are positioned within the first 70 characters.

Only allows first 70 characters

Very few LinkedIn users take the time to optimise their headline. This means that you have an opportunity to stand head and shoulders above them.

Your headline can be the difference between someone viewing your profile or not. It is that important!

Search engine benefits

You should be using LinkedIn as a sales and business development tool or as a platform to stand out from the crowd if you are seeking a new role.

When your profile appears on search engines such as Google, it is often your headline which appears on the search result pages (as in my example below).

David Reid profile how it looks on Google

To boost your search rankings, include keywords that your prospects may search for in your headline, summary and other profile sections.

Tip 7 - Make your summary shine

Personal Summary

After your headline, your summary (aka About) section is the second most important element on your profile.

Image of David Reid's LinkedIn Personal Summary

It is prominently located towards the top of your profile and just like a newspaper headline, you only have one or two sentences visible to entice a prospect to read on.

Remember, your goal is to attract new prospects (clients or employers). This is the place to reiterate what you do for them. It is not the place to boast about your personal achievements or to discuss your career history – you can use the experience section for that.

This is the point when you start communicating with your prospects and begin to build a virtual relationship.

It is OK to inject a bit of your personality and passion. Write in the first person and outline what motivates you so your reader can start to feel a connection and if you would be “a good fit for each other”.

Here are some ideas to help shape your summary:

  • Use the first two lines to talk directly to your prospects, enticing them to click ... see more
  • Summarise your expertise in one or two lines to demonstrate that you have “earned the right” to offer your services
  • Explain how prospects will benefit from working with you
  • Outline the type of clients and companies you help
  • Write one or two paragraphs on the products or services you offer
  • Highlight what is unique about your offering(s)
  • Include a call to action, encourage interested readers to make contact
  • Provide contact details, like those you would include on a business card


You have 2,000 characters available for your summary – make them count!

Tip 8 - How To Showcase Yourself

Your Experience

Similar to your summary, the aim of the experience section is to highlight what you can do for prospects.

Many users think of the LinkedIn experience section in terms of their career history on a CV. Do not think like this. We want you to create a winning profile – so you have to focus on “solutions and results”.

Current experience

Start off by including searchable keywords in your current title. This will enhance your search engine optimisation (SEO). There are 100 characters available for your title.

LinkedIn image showing current experience

Please keep in mind that your prospects may skip past your summary (About) section and start reading your experience first. So take the opportunity to position yourself appropriately.

Here are a few ideas to use:

  • How you help peers (or clients) work together to solve issues
  • How you help clients improve their business and achieve goals
  • How you build friendly ongoing relationships with clients
  • How you increase efficiencies and deliver results

As with your summary, you have 2,000 characters available for your current experience – I recommend that you use all of them!

Past experiences

For each past position which you have held, think about the successes you achieved for clients. Interweave these with your responsibilities and the services you delivered.

For these historical positions, reduce the amount of content that you include. You don’t want potential prospects spending too much time reading older details which are not as relevant as the current day services that you offer.

I also recommend that you only list years in the Start Date and End Date fields of older positions. Prospects will not be concerned about the months you were employed. You may wish to leave out the months in all your positions if you wish your profile to appear tidier.

For each of the companies, make sure you enter the company name as it is listed for the relevant company page(s). By doing this, LinkedIn will automatically pull across the company logo to your profile.

As previously mentioned, the experience section on your LinkedIn profile is not a mirror image of your CV, so leave off any part-time positions or temporary roles unless they support your current offering.

Include rich media

To further attract and engage your prospects, I recommend that you add appropriate rich media to your summary and experience sections.

Your media can consist of a host of files including PDFs, PowerPoint files, Word documents, images and links to videos, Slideshare etc. The maximum file size is 300 MB. Enhance each media item by drafting an eye-catching title and description.

Make sure your media looks professional and supports your objective - otherwise you may “turn-off” your prospect. Consider adding 3-5 items to your summary and 2-3 items to your current experience.

Tip 9 - LinkedIn Social Proof

Recommendations

In this modern era, individuals often seek social proof before making decisions. It is why review sites such as TripAdvisor are so popular.

LinkedIn recommendations will help establish trust and credibility for you.

LinkedIn profile recommendation from Geoff Todd

To support what you list in your summary and experience sections, ask satisfied clients for recommendations. These will help boost your profile.

Linkedin profile recommendation from Daniel MacIntyre

In your LinkedIn recommendations section, select “Ask for a recommendation”, then search for the person you wish to contact.

Write a personalised message to them, focussing on how you worked together and achieved success. They are more likely to reply with a glowing review.

Keep in mind - prospects may view the reviewers profile too, so make sure you ask credible people to provide a recommendation for you.

Tip 10 - Help improve your LinkedIn Visibility

Writing Articles

I have left the section on writing articles to the end for a reason. Why? - It takes time to get this right.

Everything else in your profile should come relatively easy for you to write. After all, you have lived and breathed your experience, and you know what services you provide to clients.

Writing articles is part of a longer-term strategy to create a winning profile. However, it is still a very important element of your profile, as it is located between your About (summary) and Experience sections.

Writing linkedin articles which get read and help seo

Articles can also help establish you as an industry thought leader. And, they are searchable on search engines - so you have more opportunities to be found by prospects.

Article content

When writing articles there are a few key points that you should keep in mind to get a return on your “time” investment and to help convince prospects that you are suitably experienced to help them.

Here are a few best practices for you to consider:

  1. Your headline is critical to attracting readers. Make it engaging, just like a newspaper headline, but keep it short.

  1. The quality of your article matters, which translates into length. Longer, well written articles are more likely to retain readers and be shared amongst your network. Try to aim for between 1,700 – 2,000 words.

  1. Use an eye-catching headline image which closely represents the topic of your article.

  1. Split the main body content into sections with sub-headings. Include images to help illustrate points and make the article more readable.

  1. Write in your own style. As you write more and more articles, you will discover your natural voice and personality. Readers will appreciate your sincerity.

  1. Focus on articles which will resonate with your prospects. Writing about walking your dog or completing DIY tasks is unlikely to convince a prospect to make contact.

Make Your LinkedIn Profile Work For you

Now It Is Your Turn

I hope that you have learned one or two new things on how to enhance your LinkedIn profile to help promote you and your services. Now it is your turn to put them into action.

All the best

David Reid LinkedIn signature

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