I’m a big advocate that every professional MUST take their LinkedIn profile seriously.
Your profile is, after all, a public web page about your professional identity. And if you are employed, you also represent your employer and team.
Assuming you have an existing profile, I recommend the four-step approach outlined below.
Start with your strategy — what do you want out of your LinkedIn profile?
Add new or update existing information.
Refine existing information and sections for polish and consistency.
Look for out-of-date or no longer relevant information and delete it.
1. Get Clear
A great LinkedIn profile begins with a strong strategy. Get clear on your goals, audience and message with these questions:
What are your professional goals?
What audience is essential to perform and achieve your goals?
What do you want them to know about you and your organization?
What action would you like them to take? (i.e. “follow me,” etc.)
What “voice” will you use in your profile (first person, third person, or impersonal like a resume)? I recommend first person as it gives you more flexibility to insert personality and is more approachable.
2. Add New, Essential Information and Copy
It can be hard because we don’t always “know what we don’t know.” But sometimes we have to pause and ask ourselves: What’s missing from my profile?
The About section is usually the most underdeveloped part of a profile. There are different approaches, but an absolute must is to communicate your who, what, how and why.
Update or complete your experience and write a short blurb to represent your role, the organization, and anything else that aligns with your goals.
Get a headshot and banner/background image. A professional headshot is an essential element. While the banner is optional, it polishes your profile with a visual element. You can use a site like unsplash.com for high-quality, royalty-free images.
If you are missing relevant credentials, education, professional development, associations, significant volunteer experience, or boards, add them.
3. Refine Existing, Relevant Parts of Your Profile
The focus here is polishing your copy, ensuring consistency of structure, and getting visual elements where possible.
Revisit your headline — this is your profile’s most crucial text phrase. How can you elevate it to have more impact and align with your professional goals?
Get the logos for employers and education/association affiliations. Visual elements go a long way to polishing your profile. You do this by watching for the drop-down menu when you type in an organization’s name. Select from the drop-down rather than typing it manually to connect to the database.
Clean and refine the wording and formatting of earlier professional experience sections. Ensure consistency of formatting across your experience blurbs. At the time of this writing, the only formatting available is bold text. You can also use symbols to create a bit of structure.
A common mistake to watch out for: Ensure that you have a consistent voice/pronoun throughout your profile!
4. Prune Anything That is Out of Date or Irrelevant
This one is easy — delete anything that is out of date or no longer relevant to your current goals and aspirations!
Critical Next Steps
Beyond what’s been outlined above, I highly recommend the following:
Get Recommendations to support the “know, like, trust” factor.
Decide on Skills & Endorsements — whether to keep or delete and if keep, which to highlight as your top 3, which to add/purge, and how to get more endorsements.
Integrate keywords into your copy for better SEO (search engine optimization). Your job title, professional area and industry, and any rare skills will be your best bets for keywords.
Customize your profile URL and optimize your settings.
You can add media to your experiences. Consider whether there’s something that would add to your story.
Consider adding the Feature section to your profile to “pin” your most important posts.