Making the most of your Linkedin profile

Business network on LinkedinLinkedin, the world’s largest and most respected professional networking site, celebrated its 10th birthday earlier this year, and is perhaps the most effective way to promote yourself and your business to a worldwide audience. And with the world watching, it’s important to look your best. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re using Linkedin to its best advantage.

1.    Review your photo and summary

As we all know, first impressions are vital, and your Linkedin profile is no exception. Employers and recruiters will use your photo as their first indicator of what sort of person you are, so make sure you choose it wisely, striking a balance between the staid, soulless headshot and the wacky personal shot. Try to convey something of your personality and energy, and make sure the image is well edited. The same goes for your summary text. This is your chance to stand out, so avoid a long list of all your achievements – stick to the most recent and the most significant.

2.    Clear out the buzzwords

If a word is on everyone’s lips (and Linkedin profiles), chances are it’s already had its day, and nothing will make prospective employers doze off like a long list of empty buzzwords. According to Linkedin, the most overused buzzwords are ‘creative’, ‘organizational’, ‘effective’, ‘motivated’ and ‘extensive experience’. Try to find a more original way of conveying these attributes, and you could be onto a winner.

3.    Go beyond the office

It’s important to give a good impression not only of what sort of person you are outside of your working life, but of what sort of person you aspire to become, both professionally and personally. Try to convey this in your profile by paying attention to how you list your activities outside of the office (especially any voluntary work you might have done), and in the groups you join. It’s also a good idea to follow some of Linkedin’s executive ‘thought leaders’, and to follow employers you’re interested in, promoting your personal brand by commenting on their news streams.

4.    Optimise for search

You’ve already done it on your website, but did you know that SEO (search engine optimisation) can also be applied to your Linkedin profile? By optimising your profile for SEO, you’ll not only ensure increased traffic to your profile, by making it more discoverable, but you could also boost the visibility of the pages you link to (such as your company website), meaning that they also benefit. The easiest modification to improve SEO is to customise your Linkedin URL with your name, which means that your profile will be more likely to rank in searches for your name, since search engines look at keywords in URLs as well as text within the site.

5.    Visualise yourself

In May 2013, Linkedin announced an exciting new development to its services – users are now able to customise their profiles visually, not only with images, but also with videos and slideshows. Don’t lag behind – make sure you boost the visual recognition of your brand, and coordinate your Linkedin profile with your website and other social media.

Now much more than just an online CV, Linkedin is a dynamic way of connecting you to people within your industry, and to the business world at large. Follow these tips, and you’ll be linked in to your network like never before!