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How to write a stand-out LinkedIn profile

how to stand out

In today's world, a well crafted LinkedIn profile is vital to your online presence and job role success. A LinkedIn profile offers potential employers and prospects the chance to view a virtual portfolio of you. You want to make sure it as impressive as possible and showcases you as the expert you are. We have put together some essential tips for creating a stand-out LinkedIn profile.

One quick tip before you start editing your profile is to change your privacy settings to alter what your connections can see. Otherwise, every time you make alterations on your page, your connections will be notified. Make sure you do this so you don't end up losing connections before you start creating a stand-out LinkedIn profile.

How to create a LinkedIn profile:

Know who your target audience is

A stand-out LinkedIn profile needs to be succinct and targeted. Start by considering who you want to read your profile and what you would like them to know about you. Are you a freelancer looking to connect with potential prospects? Or maybe you are a professional seeking employment or career progression. Your purpose for using LinkedIn will determine the type of content you should include in your profile.

Sell yourself

Under employment details never list only your job description and leave it there. Take the opportunity to delve into the skills you have developed and used to excel in your line of work. Include any key achievements during your period of employment. Do you have any brag-worthy projects you have completed with a well-known client? Or have your efforts at work secured new work for the company you have been working for? Use this section to really show readers your value within your area.

Complete everything

A stand-out LinkedIn profile is always a completed one. If you haven't taken the time to finish each section to a high standard you are already giving readers the impression that you are lazy in your work. However, if you feel you are repeating yourself in each section try to separate the information out to ensure your profile remains punchy and direct.

Include a photo

It is surprising how many people forget to include a photo of themselves on their profile. It is a small touch that can make a big impact on the success of your profile on LinkedIn. Readers will notice that you have completed everything on your profile and be able to make a visual connection. Make sure you upload a professional-looking photo. You might look great in that photo taken last Friday night, but you want readers to place professional trust in your profile so it is best to keep things looking smart. A friendly looking head shot of yourself is all you need. One that shows you to be approachable and professional.

Make use of your summary

The summary section is a valuable part of your profile and summarises your work values and aims. It offers you the chance to really sell yourself, outlining what you do, the skills you have to offer and why someone should want to work with you. You can even use bullet points here to briefly state skills and selling points to draw interest from readers to continue scouring through your profile.

Include a background image

To make sure you really appear in the know with LinkedIn, try making use of their new background feature and upload a 1400 x 425 image to your profile. If you cannot decide on a professional-looking image to fit your profile, opt for a basic blue LinkedIn background. A professional plain background is more impressive than nothing at all and will help your profile stand out to potential connections.

Write a great headline

Your LinkedIn headline is the sentence that will appear next to your photo on your profile. This is the first thing people will read and should clearly state what you do. LinkedIn provides a limited amount of characters for this purpose so it is best to keep it simple.

Tailor your career history

An easy mistake when completing a LinkedIn profile, or a CV for that matter, is the belief you need to include every job you have ever worked. Be selective about the roles you include on your profile and target them to the line of your work you are aiming to attract. Whilst it may be tempting to include every job you have ever worked on your profile, you want to hold a potential connection's interest until the end and not bore them with several unrelated jobs you learnt little from. However, this doesn't mean to say you shouldn't include unrelated job roles. Some may demonstrate your diverse range of skills and experience. If you are a recent graduate, including any employment during your studies is important as it shows potential connections your ability to manage your time efficiently and successfully amongst other things.

Offer advice and include a call to action

Engaging with potential connections before they send you a request is a top secret to creating a stand-out LinkedIn profile. If you are promoting your special expertise in a particular line of work, offer connections the option to message you and ask questions by connecting through LinkedIn. This not only helps you to appear knowledgeable and approachable but may also lead to new potential work or career progression for you in the future.

Add external links

This is a really important way to create a stand-out profile. If you have a personal website, blog or online work profile, include a link in your profile. If someone is interested this allows them to gain further information about you from the click of a button. It also creates the impression that you are very established and professional in your line of work.

Similarly, if you have created any articles or blog posts regarding your line of work or have been mentioned by others on their websites, make sure you include links to each in your profile. These provide examples of your work and back up your profile.

If you have examples of work not available online that will also support your profile and demonstrate your skills and experience, upload these to the media section. Here you can upload various external documents, photos, videos and presentations. This is also a great way to include PDF versions of any testimonials you may have.

Get endorsed

Endorsements are key to creating a stand-out LinkedIn profile. These are the skills that existing connections can endorse you for and promote you to other potential connections. Whilst it might be tempting to list every skill you possess, it is important to keep your set of endorsements specific to your line of work.

Hide your competition

A sneaky but essential LinkedIn tactic is to hide your competition from viewers visiting your profile. LinkedIn offers a visible section 'viewers of this profile also viewed', which shows other LinkedIn users with profiles potentially similar to your own. If you are using LinkedIn to secure yourself some work, the last thing you want is for a potential connection to click on one of these faces instead. Go to your privacy settings and change the option for 'viewers of this profile also viewed' to appear.

Personalise each invite

Each time you invite an individual to connect with you, ensure you send a personalised messaged and not a generic sales pitch. The idea of LinkedIn is to connect, and you are less likely to secure work if you cannot make the time to type a personalised message. Include why you are interested in connecting with the individual. Do you have something you could offer them? Have you noticed they recently completed a project with a particular client and you think you may be of benefit in the future?

Use these steps to help make sure you are getting the most out of using LinkedIn and secure new career opportunities and clients.


How to maintain professionalism online

Check your Privacy

Firstly, check that all of your personal profiles remain on private settings. On sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, ensure your page does not divulge too much information.

Allowing posts to be public invites others to see them – this includes prospect employers or business partners. One reported case of social media blunder involved a girl called Cella commenting on how she was starting a job the following day – and she made clear her negative feelings towards it. The store’s manager was quick to reply to these comments and subsequently fired her before she even started.

If you believe that you can uphold a professional appearance in all posts and photos then you may not think this necessary. However, be cautious of the friends that you are connected with as they may tag statuses or photos involving you. To control these postings, ensure that you change your privacy settings to seek your approval of anything you are tagged in.

Separate Profiles

If you own your own business and need social media as a marketing tool, it may be worth setting-up two separate pages. By doing this it allows you to post information that relates directly to the business and will avoid over-sharing with business contacts. If this is not possible, keep posts neutral and rant-free. For example, it was well documented when Labour front-bencher Emily Thornberry was sacked by Ed Miliband after appearing to mock working-class voters.

Do Not Talk About Work

Even if your social media pages remain private it is a good idea to refrain from posting about work. You will most likely be connected with people from work on your account therefore there is a high possibility that they will see such posts. The BBC were reported to have sacked two employees for criticising their boss online. Keep to the general rule of, “If you wouldn’t say it to them directly, don’t say it on social media.”

Overall, it is important to think when posting on social media. Stay private, neutral and do not say anything you would not say in person. If used properly, social media it is a great way to connect with friends, family and business contacts. It can be used as a tool to shorten distances and share content.

When managing social media for a company, make sure that the brand colours, fonts, guidelines & tone of voice are used.  Our social media management services are run by trained, accredited PAs who have experience in social media strategy and implementation to ensure your company is represented the way you would do it yourself.