We get it, LinkedIn isn’t as “fun” as Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. You don’t poll your audience on how delicious your lunch is, plan your dream home or scroll through videos of adorable puppies (if your Facebook feed is anything like mine). But LinkedIn is incredibly valuable to your professional growth, credibility and relationships.
It’s a common misconception that you only need to keep your LinkedIn profile updated and active if you’re actively job searching. Let’s just bust that myth now.
Say a business is thinking about partnering with the agency you work at. While researching the agency, they come across your LinkedIn profile and compare it with the profile of a staff member from another agency. If your competitor is posting relevant industry news, sharing their expertise and insight, engaging with others and has endorsements from clients, and your profile has a tumbleweed rolling across it with a vague description of what you do, who do you think that business is going to work with?
So now that we’ve established that it’s actually important to keep your LinkedIn updated, where do you start? Here are a few simple ground rules for perfecting your LinkedIn profile and using it well.
Start with a quality headshot
There are two rules I like to follow when it comes to taking a good headshot: 1. Take it against a clean background without any distracting designs and 2. Wear something that’s appropriate for your industry. If a business suit is what you wear to work every day, wear that. If you show up in a jean jacket and blouse, wear that. LinkedIn is about putting your best foot forward, but it’s not about trying to appear to be someone you’re not, so wear what you feel comfortable in.
Add a banner.
This is a detail a lot of people forget about, and it’s a great way to tell a little bit more about you or your company. For example, my LinkedIn banner is branded Imagine Media with our tagline “Build relationships, not profiles.” It’s short, simple and eye-catching, while giving people insight into what I do and the company I’m a part of.
Update your headline
Your headline should have keywords that relate to your industry and position while giving people a clear and concise description of what you do. For example, although my technical position is an “Account Coordinator,” my LinkedIn headline reads “Social Media Marketing Coordinator” to clarify my role and industry. You can even add additional competencies like “Content Creator,” “Relationship Builder,” or something else to expand on what you specialize in.
Introduce yourself in the About section
The “About” section gives you a little bit more creative freedom to introduce yourself to anyone visiting your profile. Here’s your chance to tell people more about what you do and why you do it. You can expand on your experience, share your passions or even explain your personality — your hopes, pet peeves, favorite things — qualities that makes you feel more like a human, not just a profile.
Post relevant content and share your thoughts
Don’t just Google an article that’s relevant to your industry and slap it into a post. Be thoughtful about what you post and share your thoughts. Do you agree with the article? Disagree? What has been your experience with the topic?
Genuinely engage with your network
LinkedIn recently came out with a set of reactions (similar to Facebook) that allows you to quickly and easily react to your colleagues’ posts. Use them to celebrate others’ success, let people know you found their content interesting and inquire about the subject. And don’t just go down your feed and “react” to every post. Take the time to read some and leave comments, whether it’s as simple as “Love this idea!” or share more of your thoughts on the post.
Expand your network
The purpose of LinkedIn is to inspire and connect businesses and business professionals, so make sure you’re connecting with your peers and clients. Often times, you might connect with someone you met at a networking event, but are you connected to your desk-mate? When you meet someone in a professional setting and see the potential to work together or learn from one other, make sure you follow up and connect. And don’t hesitate to send a short note with your request!
As I said before, most people don’t give LinkedIn a second thought until they’re job searching, but it’s important to stay active on a weekly basis. Set a reminder for yourself to share something on LinkedIn once or twice a week so it stays top of mind. Staying active can only benefit you and your network.
Again, make sure you’re being authentic in your thoughts and not just adding noise to an already crowded digital space. Stay true to yourself and your industry and make connections that will not only benefit you but benefit others in the future. Oh, and if you want to connect with me, just shoot me a note! I’d love to hear from you.
Story By: Rachel Knights