Every second, two more people join LinkedIn. That steadily growing and rapidly expanding social network is not one that you want to miss out on. Here are a few ways to make your profile stand out among the masses.
1. Use your profile header to show off your personal brand or to gain exposure for your company. This is the place where you’re going to make your first impression, so put extra thought into it. Keep the JPEG to less than 4MB and be sure to create an image with the right dimensions, 1400×425.
2. Use a professional head shot as your primary profile photo. This is your digital introduction to everyone on LinkedIn. People want to do business with someone they can see. Make sure your photo is up-to-date, too.
3. Draft a headline as though you were making the title for your own story in a newspaper. Make sure it’s eye catching and reflective of who you are or what you do. The purpose of the headline is to entice people to take the next step and check out the rest of your profile.
4. When you’re a professional, one of the best online marketing tools at your disposal is LinkedIn. By including website links in your profile, you can direct traffic to your other social media accounts, your online store or your blog. Change the anchor text of the links to make them more appealing to readers.
5. The summary is another highly important section of your LinkedIn profile. If people move on from your headline, this is the next place they’ll look. This is a short section to fill in, but it has a big purpose. You can highlight all of the information you’d want people to read if they never made it on to the rest of your profile. From the summary, many people will choose to connect with you.
6. Don’t neglect the skills section. Everything you add to this section is linked and searchable. When a recruiter is looking for someone with your specific skills for a job, the words and phrases you add to this section will play a large role in whether or not your profile is seen.
7. Continue adding keywords to other important sections in order to optimize your profile. The main areas where you’ll want keywords are the title, both current and past experience, the summary and, of course, the skills section.
8. Reorder the layout of your profile so that the most important information is at the top. For example, if you’re a recent college graduate, your job experience may be limited, so you’d want to put your honors and awards or volunteer experience at the top. Or, if you don’t have a lot of publications but you’ve been in your industry for years, you’ll want to highlight your career experience.
Take advantage of LinkedIn and use it for what it’s there for: to make more industry contacts, attract new clients and develop partnerships.