This is the first post in a series of three on how to properly set up your LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn profile is an extremely important piece of online real estate. Filling it out the right way will help you more easily with connections you want, allow people to find the information they need easily, get found more easily in searches and ultimately allow you to get more business.
Let’s start at the top of your profile with the header as shown below. There are several important pieces to this, so let me break it down for you to make it easy. I encourage you to edit as you read so you can make the changes you need. Be sure to be in the ‘edit profile’ view.
Your profile picture is really important. This is your first impression, so make it a good one. Use a professional headshot. If you don’t have one, I highly suggest getting one. The investment in a professional headshot will pay off down the road. This is not the place to upload a picture of you cropped out of your family picture, or you on vacation. Keep it professional and keep it classy.
It’s important that you use your full name that people know you by. If your first name is William, but you go by Bill, then use Bill. Or if your name is Steven, but you go by Steve, use Steve. This will help people find you if they know you or met you at a networking event.
LinkedIn automatically fills in this with your title and your company name. For example, mine automatically says “Director of Operations, Katie Wagner Social Media”. However, this is one of the main places that LinkedIn looks at when it is determining search results. So, I would recommend using something a little more descriptive about what you do. For example, Katie changed hers to say “Social Media Management | Social Media Strategy | Trainer and Speaker”. This way, if someone is searching in LinkedIn for “Social Media Management”, Katie is much more likely to show up in that search result than if she didn’t list this in her title.
Location & Industry
Right below the title, if you click the edit icon, you can choose your location and your primary industry. If you live in a different city than you work in, I recommend using the location where you work. This will help people locate you better if they know you work at a certain company and their office is in a particular city. For industry, just make sure to choose the best fit.
If you go to the bottom of the box, there is a URL. If you have not set a custom URL, it will have LinkedIn.com/in/ then it will list a bunch of numbers and letters. If you click ‘edit’ next to it, you will be able to set a custom URL for your profile. If you can, I recommend using your first and last name. If that isn’t available, you are going to have to get creative. I used my first name, middle initial and last name.
To the right of your URL, there is a button that drops down all your contact information. This is one of the most commonly overlooked parts of a LinkedIn profile. This is also one of the most important parts of your profile, because it allows people to know how to contact you!
Be sure to fill it out completely using your work information. If you are on Twitter, you can link to it here as well. Also, you can list up to three websites. When you put in your website, choose the “other” option and it will allow you to write a custom title for the website. So instead of it simply saying “Company Website”, you can call it the name of your business. For example, I simply titled mine “Katie Wagner Social Media”.
Next time, I will focus on your summary, work experience and education. In the meantime, see if you have all these parts of your profile complete. If you run into any questions, please ask in the comments below!
Also, I would love for you to follow our LinkedIn company page. We provide a lot of great tips and advice for using social media for business!