Your LinkedIn profile has been important to career success for years, but now that we are all WFH and rarely interacting with people in person, it has become more important than ever. Your LinkedIn profile is your first impression, and it’s also the place people go when they want to learn more about you. Focusing a little effort on your profile now will help you make a giant deposit in your personal brand bank for 2021 and beyond.
So you agree that upgrading your profile would be a valuable investment in time, but you’re not sure where to start? Here are five easy enhancements that will make sure your profile demonstrates what makes you differentiated and compelling.
1. Enhance Your Headline. Chances are when you created your headline (or the last time you updated it), the character limit was 120 characters. Well, the latest LinkedIn version allows you to have a headline that’s 220 characters—almost doubling the opportunity to connect with people who want to learn about you. If you’re wondering what to do with all those letters, here are a few ideas:
- Include all the keywords for which you want to be known so you can be found in a search.
- Add a benefit statement that speaks to the results you achieve when you do what you do.
- Include something interesting or intriguing that will make viewers want to know more.
2. Brand Your Background. In LinkedIn’s last upgrade they changed the header image from their blue nodes to an equally boring grayish green background. You need to tailor your background image, but you don’t need to hire a designer or learn some new software program to make it happen. Canva makes it a snap with their customizable LinkedIn banner templates. When you customize your background, you make your profile stand out.
MORE FOR YOU
3. Update Your About. Your About (formerly called Summary) is one of the most important parts of your profile because it’s where you tell your story. Don’t confuse your About with the Experience section. And don’t just summarize what you said about yourself in the Experience section either. Your About is the place where you combine all those accomplishments and accolades from your Experience with your humanity—your values, passions, superpowers, etc. A compelling About sits at the intersection of credibility and likability. And here’s something really important: Focus most of your effort in crafting the first three lines. That’s all someone sees when they are checking out your profile. When you make them provocative, people will click to read more and learn more about you.
4. Fill Up Your Featured. The Featured section of LinkedIn gives you a lot of real estate to demonstrate what makes you great. Like a virtual showroom, it turns your two-dimensional profile into a 3D portfolio of the brand called YOU. It’s likely that you improved your video skills thanks to Zoom sessions replacing in-person meetings. And if you haven’t really focused on your video skills, you at least got more comfortable spending time in front of the camera. Since we don’t have the opportunity to meet and engage with others in the same physical space, do the next best thing: use video to engage on a more authentic and human level. Create brief thought-leadership videos or a video bio to bring your profile to life.
5. Show Your Generosity. You have probably witnessed acts of heroism over the past unprecedented year. It’s time to acknowledge your staff, colleagues, managers, and clients for the great things they have done during the difficult days of 2020. When you do this on LinkedIn, two positive results emerge. For starters, your profile tells people how many recommendations you have given. When this number exceeds the number you’ve received, it adds the brand attribute of “generous” to the words people would use to describe you. And second, when you send someone an unsolicited, thoughtful and heart-felt recommendation, you’ll make their day and bolster your relationship.
It has always been good practice to give your LinkedIn profile a once-over at least annually to make sure it remains a current, valuable career-building resource. But in our new all-virtual world of work, that update is vital.