Everyone talks about how LinkedIn is the best platform for businesses and professionals. But nobody talks about how to take full advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer… At least until today. And before you even consider diving into the nitty-gritty of the LinkedIn world, you have to start with the fundamentals. That means optimizing your profile.

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Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash

What do you mean by optimizing my profile, Marina?

Well, I mean that your profile needs to do more than just… Exist. Creating a LinkedIn account and throwing together a cliche headline certainly isn’t going to do much for you, your brand, or your dream of client acquisition. Because until you optimize that LinkedIn profile, it’s just going to sit there, gathering dust.

But what’s the point of optimizing my LinkedIn profile?

Answering that question is the easy part. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile helps you be seen as a credible source of information in your industry; allows you to be found by prospects and clients who are searching for relevant keywords; helps build and maintain your professional image; gives you and your brand the visibility you deserve; just to name a few benefits of optimization.

Okay, I want in! How do I make it happen?

Bringing that optimized profile to life isn’t quite as easy as understanding the benefits of doing so. But that’s what I’m here for: to help guide you through the process. With the overview below, you’ll develop a fundamental understanding of how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for maximum results.

High-Quality Headshot: Use a high-quality headshot as your profile picture. It should be well-lit and convey a friendly, approachable demeanor. And, the best part? You don’t need to have an expensive, professional photoshoot done if you can’t or don’t want to. Using your smartphone and tools like LightX, RemoveBg, and Canva, you can make any photo look LinkedIn-ready from the comfort of your own home for the lovely price of $0.

Compelling Headline: Craft a clear and attention-grabbing headline that summarizes your expertise and the value you bring. Avoid using vague or generic titles like “Business Development at ____” or “Engineer at ___”.
Customized URL: Personalize your LinkedIn URL to make it more user-friendly and professional. Ideally, it should include your name, like “linkedin.com/in/YourName”.

About Me: Write a concise, engaging summary that highlights your unique selling points, experience, and aspirations. Use keywords relevant to your industry, and be sure to write it in first person (third person is extremely impersonal and distant). Don’t be afraid to add some personality to this section!

Experience Section: Include detailed information about your work history, emphasizing accomplishments and measurable results. Use action verbs and specific metrics whenever possible.

Skills and Endorsements: List relevant skills and ask colleagues or connections to endorse them. Focus on skills that align with your professional goals. There is some debate on whether or not endorsements hold any value, but the common consensus is that it certainly doesn’t hurt to have them, and you don’t want to miss out on opportunities by failing to list them.

Recommendations: Request recommendations from former colleagues, supervisors, and clients with whom you had a positive relationship. These provide social proof of your abilities, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. Avoid asking for recommendations from people who can’t actually vouch for you; when it comes to recommendations, quality is more important than quantity.

Customized Banner Image: Use a customized banner image that reflects your personal brand. While you can hire a designer to help you with this, tools like Canva make it easy to design your own banner with colors, shapes, and fonts that reflect the image you want to portray. Canva even has numerous LinkedIn banner templates available to help you get started on your design journey.

Contact Information: Ensure your contact information is up to date, allowing potential connections and employers to reach out to you easily. Include your business contacts where possible to avoid your personal information being leaked.
Projects and Publications: Include projects, publications, and certifications that highlight your expertise and accomplishments.

Education: List your educational background, including degrees and institutions. If age discrimination is worrisome to you, do not feel the need to include your graduation or attendance dates.

Volunteer Experience: Highlight any volunteer work or philanthropic activities you’re involved in to showcase your character and community involvement, as well as the sort of projects you’re passionate about.

Keywords: Optimize your profile with relevant keywords related to your industry and skills to enhance searchability.

Privacy Settings: Review and adjust your privacy settings to control who can see your activity and how you appear in search results. You can control things like who can see your profile picture on and off LinkedIn, whether your full name appears in searches, who can see your contact information, and more.

And, there you have it — the fundamentals of LinkedIn profile optimization. I hope that this overview has given you plenty of information to work with as you dive deeper into your LinkedIn journey.

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