If it’s been a while since you updated your LinkedIn profile (like maybe since the last time you applied for a JOB!) it’s time to take another look.
LinkedIn is for more than just posting your resume. In fact, it’s a wonderful place to network, find potential customers, and connect with potential business partners.
But the very first step is to make sure that your profile is up to date and looking polished before you start digging into all the good things that LinkedIn has to offer for your business.
And to make it as easy as possible for you, we’ve put together our LinkedIn Profile Checklist for you, for free. It’s part of the LinkedIn Destination Guide we’re putting together for Business Class, but I want everyone to have it, so just click here to grab it now and then check out our best tips below.
1. Complete your profile
This is the biggest and most important tip I can give you: fill out your profile completely! Complete profiles are 40 times more likely to be viewed and receive opportunities. But beyond that, having a fully completed profile just reflects well on you and your business.
Hot tip: Be sure to fill out your contact information. It sounds ridiculous, but too many people don’t include any way for people to get in touch with them.
2. Use professional looking photography
You want to make sure you have a nice, professional looking headshot for your profile. That means, don’t use a selfie, your business logo, your pet, or a 10-year-old photo of you.
It’s OK if someone takes your picture with a phone, but make sure it looks professional. Your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed if you have a profile photo. And — hot tip — a bright background makes your image stand out even more.
You can also now add a header image to your profile, which is a perfect opportunity to include some branded imagery. Think of it as a billboard for your business. You can even update it periodically to advertise an event or promotion.
3. Use keywords in your headline to be found
The headline on LinkedIn is the text below your name — and it’s vitally important to help you get found in searches.
Think about what your potential customers or business partners might be searching for on LinkedIn and include a few of those keywords in your headline. Avoid words like “ninja” or “guru” in your headline; demonstrate your expertise in the other sections instead.
You only have 120 characters for your headline, so write a few versions to ensure that you get the most out of your space.
4. Use your summary for your elevator pitch
The summary section is the perfect place for your so-called elevator pitch. Explain what you do and who you do it for. Make it as clear as possible for your ideal customer to know that they’ve come to the right place.
This is also a great place to include facts, figures, concrete results and examples, awards you’ve won, publications you’ve been in, and — again — any relevant keywords that will help you get found in search results.
5. Add work samples or product photos
One element people often miss is the “media” section. You can upload all different kinds of media here including photos, video, audio, and even slide shows.
Consider demonstrating some of your statements from your summary with media elements. For example, if you say you’re a sought-after speaker, include some speaking clips. You might also include a SlideShare of your presentation slides, or an audio clip from a podcast on which you were a guest, and so on.
If you own a product-based business, you can also include product photography in the media section to show off some of your bestsellers or most beautiful products.
Bonus tip: you can add media to the summary, education, and experience sections of your profile.
6. Get some recommendations
It’s important to get a few recommendations on your profile from former customers and clients. You can send them a message directly from your profile — and LinkedIn offers detailed instructions how to request them.
Create a short list of former clients and customers that you can reach out to and reach out to a few each week until you have as many recommendations as you desire.
Remember to keep these up to date, as well. If your last recommendations are from several years ago, you might want to request some new ones.
7. Add skills and ask for endorsements
Another section separate from the recommendations is the skills and endorsements section. Your connections can endorse you for any of a series of common skills — think things like sales, copywriting, brand development, graphic design, etc.
The nice thing about endorsements is that they are just one click for your contact. They don’t have to sit down and think about what to say in a recommendation. According to a LinkedIn study, inclusion of these skills will result in 31 times more messages for your profile.
Endorsing your contacts for skills often results in them reciprocating, so make some time to endorse some of your contacts and watch your own endorsements start rolling in.
8. Keep your experience relevant
The experience section is like your old-school resume. But for business owners, it’s more important to keep your experience relevant.
Don’t worry about including every job you’ve ever had, but rather curate your experience section to show off the experience that most directly relates to your business now. The same is true of your education and volunteer service sections.
Don’t forget to grab your free LinkedIn Profile Checklist here to remember all the most important points to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
And I’ll see you on LinkedIn!