how to create linkedin profile

LinkedIn profile tips: how to maximise your professional image

Since it was first launched in May 2003, LinkedIn has become one of the most important social media sites for professionals.

It is in fact the oldest of the major social networking sites still in use today, having launched just four months before Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook out of Harvard.

With over 800 million global members, it may not be the most widely used social media site, but with its specific focus on the business community, it has huge relevance and prevalence for anyone in the corporate or business landscape.

Overcoming your LinkedIn fears

Getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile can be a daunting and difficult challenge for some. It requires a carefully considered mix of creative content and digital engagement and networking tactics. So how do you make your LinkedIn profile stand out?

Mastery of these elements will make sure that your LinkedIn profile is top quality, and that the way you use the site is bringing real value to you as an individual and your business as a whole.

Here, we explore how you can do just that. As we look at how you can make the most out of LinkedIn and all the opportunities and capabilities it offers.

In this article, we’ll look at how to build out your LinkedIn profile to ensure it stands out, and how to cultivate your personal and corporate brand. How to take the steps to become a thought leader and we explore some of the other options and functions available, to make sure you’re making the most out of this crucial network.

Building your LinkedIn page

The first step to success starts with the proper building of your own LinkedIn profile.

An attractive and engaging LinkedIn profile really can make all the difference. It could be the difference between you losing our during a job search, being skimmed over by hiring managers, or not coming up in search results.

It could also be the difference between being disregarded and considered irrelevant by other LinkedIn users, which could mean you missing out on key connections or exciting new business opportunities.

Essentially, your Linkedin profile is your online resume, it is the window into which the professional world views you.

So, how can you make a great LinkedIn profile?

A picture says a thousand words

Your profile picture is one of the first things a visitor to your page will see. Now, this could be anyone from potential employers, investors or potential new clients, even job seekers looking to join your business.

So it’s important that your profile picture is stand out. It’s the first impression anyone visiting your profile page will get of you… and we all know first impression count.

You can achieve this by following these steps:

  • Have someone else take the photograph: your profile photo is not the place for selfies. If you can, have a professional image taken using a trusted and reliable photographer. If you can’t do that, then a profile photo can be taken using a smartphone will provide sufficient quality for a professional headshot, as most modern smartphone cameras are excellent.
  • Make it hi-res: following on from the above, you need to make sure that your photo is high enough resolution and scaled to the correct ratio – which is 400 x 400px. A hi-res image is anything from 2MB upwards with a DPI of 300, again this is something you can consult with a photographer or design team on,
  • Make sure you’re the only person in the picture: you don’t want to be in a position where a potential connection, be it an employer or new business connection, doesn’t recognise you from your profile picture because they’ve had to try and pick you out from a crowd.
  • Avoid filters: this isn’t to say you can’t edit your photo, but try to avoid using harsh filters. And you don’t need to be a photoshop master, if you’re taking a phone image there are in-built editing programmes or free apps such as SnapSeed.
  • Keep your image up to date: It may sound odd at first, but making sure your photo looks like you is important. An image from your twenties, when you are now in your forties, isn’t the best representation of you at this moment in time. Consider meeting a network connection for the first time in person. Will they recognise you based on your profile photo? Perhaps it’s time for a new picture?

Backgrounds and branding

Along with your headshot, your profile background photo is a hugely visual element and is one of the first things that a visitor to your page will see.

Make sure that your background photo reflects either your personal brand or your corporate brand.

If you’re an individual, you may want to consider contacting a professional designer to create. Which is something we at AMBITIOUS have a wealth of experience in doing, through our content creation team.

For organisations, having an on-brand background image and implementing this throughout your entire company will make your corporate brand presence all the more stronger. It’s a show of strength, that your organisation is not only strong, but unified.

Make your words count

Just like your profile picture and background, another really important part of your LinkedIn profile is your headline.

One of the best LinkedIn profile tips is to go beyond just putting your role or job titles here. Make it stand out beyond the norm, and if lead-gen and building personal contacts is important to you, then you can even consider including contact info here.

Then there’s your summary, which is one of the most stand-out and important parts of your LinkedIn profile. So don’t leave it blank.

This is your first chance to really sell yourself, this is your cover letter to the world.

Showcase your knowledge, experience, most relevant skills in as concise a manner as possible. you have one paragraph to tell a visitor to your profile, what drives you.

Don’t drone on about job duties, show your passions, your hopes and your dreams. Be bold and stand out from the crowd. And don’t write it in the third person, a LinkedIn profile should be in the first person tense.

Showcase your skills

You can showcase your skills beyond your summary, and you absolutely should.

Make sure you’re listing your relevant accomplishments, skills and experiences. This will help to back up the claims you’ve made in your LinkedIn summary. Having these listed will also give members of your professional network the chance to endorse you even further.

This is particularly important during a job search, as job titles and skills will show up in recruiter boolean searches. if you don’t have the right key skills and job descriptions listed, then there’s a chance that you’ll be overlooked by future employers and miss out on potential new job prospects.

The same also applies to those using LinkedIn as a means to build a new business pipeline.

A great profile is up to date with that individual’s core skills and key certifications, allowing potential clients and new partners to see that you are the person they want to do business with.

Just like SEO, it’s all about plugging in the right keywords to ensure you’re top of the list.

The top tip here is to keep the core of your skills. Don’t create an overly long list and paint yourself as a jack of all trades.

Keep these lists of your specialisms, the things that you are truly excellent at, and don’t be afraid to add new skills over time. If you’ve mastered a new practice, tell the world.

Endorse and be endorsed

Endorsements are a great way to further showcase your skills and experience.

Take the time to go through your professional connections, and give your own endorsements of other professionals. And don’t be afraid to ask your connections to endorse you in return. This is a quid pro quo situation.

Request recommendations and endorsements from current and former colleagues. But don’t stop there. If you’ve delivered a stand-out project, reach out to the partners and affiliates within that project and request recommendations from outside of your organisation.

But just like listing your skills, relevance is key.

Try to make sure that the people you endorse, and those who endorse and recommend you in return are individuals that you value and that their praise is going to bring wider value to your public profile, and align with your business goals.

Build your network

Building your LinkedIn network is the cornerstone of finding success.

Building your network is how you scout for new talent, new job opportunities, and new client prospects. It is how you grow your business and your brand.

A simple way of building out your network is to link up your profile with your email contacts book. What this does, is it allows Linkedin to suggest individuals who you may wish to connect with. With it being linked to your contacts, there’s an ideal existing target audience as a start point.

It’s worth noting that when you sync up this contact info, Linkedin does not automatically send out blanket recommendations. It suggests them, allowing you to filter through the recommendations, and giving you the chance to reconnect with a personalised message.

A personal message is also a very important aspect of building connections with relevant people. If you’re dedicating part of your day to connection-building and exploring potential connections, make sure part of that time is spent creating the message you want to convey.

What is also important, is following up on meetings and networking events with Linkedin connection requests. If you’ve met interesting potential connections at a business event, use Linkedin to reach out the following day with a personal connection request.

Don’t just share, comment

When you engage with interesting content on another’s LinkedIn profile, do you share, do you like, do you comment… or do you do all three?

Liking and sharing LinkedIn content is great, but by commenting you’re adding another layer of engagement to your LinkedIn profile presence.

A well-formed and well-placed comment can achieve many things. It can act as thought leadership on a pressing industry matter, it can serve to start a conversation which may lead to a new opportunity. Or it can establish an entirely new LinkedIn connection which you previously had not considered.

The next time you’re scrolling through the LinkedIn feed and a piece of content catches your eye, consider how you can enhance your own presence and engagement, by commenting.

Advocate for other professionals

Being an advocate for other professionals is a big part of the wider Linkedin community. Across LinkedIn globally, you’ll see professionals advocating for individuals within their professional network, or within their own organisations.

You should be doing the same.

Being an advocate on LinkedIn is more than just endorsing people for their skills and experience. For example, if someone within your marketing team creates a stellar piece of content, don’t hide that light under a bushel.

If people within your teams or wider organisation are creating great work, then let people know. Don’t just share content out to your corporate page, share it via your personal page, and push for others within your organisation to do the same.

Doing so is a win-win. Because it will not only show the individual that their efforts and talents are both respected and appreciated. It will help to enhance your entire employer brand to the wider world.

By sharing other people’s posts and content, you’re not only acting as an advocate for them, but for your entire organisation.

Create your own content

Creating your own content is hugely important on LinkedIn, particularly if you are trying to cultivate a reputation as a thought leader.

Like with any kind of networking, the more you put out and establish your expertise on a particular topic, the more you will get out of it. But in. establishing yourself as a thought leader, it’s best to be highly specific and hone in on one, or a small number of relative topics, rather than muddy your own waters with too much noise.

When it comes to thought leadership, and there is a lot of it on LinkedIn, long-form content is one of the best places to start.

But writing long-form content for your LinkedIn profile is just the start, you should not publish content and then simply ignore it and move on to the next piece.

To really make the most of your long-form thought leadership, you must interact with those who engage in your thought leadership.

This means engaging with the comments on a post. Perhaps someone comments with a comment you don’t agree with, that’s an opportunity to start a healthy discourse. Don’t be argumentative and stubborn, as this could paint your personal or corporate brand in a negative light.

Or maybe someone comments with a point, that you did not consider and could expand your ideas further. This offers a great opportunity for yet more discourse and exchange of ideas and opinion and works to further reinforce you as an engaging thought leader.

Engaging with those who engage with you, is a healthy way of not only building your brand as a thought leader. But it can also be a great way to build new Linkedin connections.

Be a thought leader 2.0

You can take your thought leadership beyond that of long-form content posts and make use of some more powerful and detailed tools through the LinkedIn Publications section.

An often under-utilised aspect of the channel, Publications give you the chance to add more detailed and specific pieces of content.

This content could be anything from a case study on a recent success story, a piece of industry-leading content that’s specific to your brand and business, or even an in-depth white paper that explores the state of play within your industry.

White papers can be particularly useful during times of great change and upheaval within an industry. If your business is in a situation whereby the shape of your industry is changing, for better of for worse, consider how you can capitalise on this and be a thought leader with an engaged and well-thought-out white paper.

Create video content

The prominence of video content in recent years is staggering. LinkedIn, along with every other social media channel now sees most of its top-performing content as video-based.

LinkedIn video content gets some of the highest rates of engagement across the network. So creating relevant content around this medium is a must.

Keep your target audience in mind when creating your video content, simply making video content for the sake of making video content is not an advisable strategy. Consider your themes and your angles, you may even want to storyboard your ideas with a third-party, content production team.

There’s also LinkedIn Live, which according to the latest stats from LinkedIn is outperforming regular video content by quite some margin. These stats show us that businesses using LinkedIn Live Streams are receiving 7x more reactions and 24 times more comments than regular videos.

The LinkedIn algorithm clearly favours live video right now, so you should be looking to use LinkedIn in this way.

If there is an opportunity for you to create an engaging live content strand of your existing content strategy, take every advantage.

Learning and development

LinkedIn Learning is an incredible asset that not everyone knows about or uses enough of.

It is a subsidiary of LinkedIn itself. It is, as the name would suggest, an online learning platform.

It provides a suite of video courses taught but industry leaders in their fields. Ranging from software, creative and business skills to help people advance in their own careers.

Users can start with a free trial for one month, after which subscription fees apply, or you can pay for individual courses. There are also business packages available for organisations looking to implement this across their wider teams.

While this doesn’t have a tangible effect on your actual LinkedIn page, it is a hugely valuable asset which you can make use of to either help you develop in your current job, or to help skill you up as you search for your next job.

Organisations and individuals can, and should, make use of this as much as they can. Or if you’re an industry leader, consider how you could become involved in establishing our own presence here.

In summary

There are many ways how to create your LinkedIn profile so that it stands out from the crowd.

But to build your professional brand within LinkedIn takes time and a concerted effort… and often with the help of a professional agency or partner.

Here at AMBITIOUS, we’re perfectly placed to help develop your LinkedIn strategy, with an experienced team who can help you build your LinkedIn profile and the LinkedIn profiles of your teams, ensuring they’re both visually appealing and complete profiles filled with relevant content.

We can enhance your presence through meaningful, engaging and relevant content, help build new contacts and ensure that not only is your LinkedIn profile is a great one, but that LinkedIn is a true, value-adding asset to your business.

Get in contact with us today [email protected].