Is your LinkedIn profile ready for 2019?

Avatar by Amy Steinberg Published Jan 8, 2019 Last updated Jan 8, 2019

LinkedIn is all about connecting, but before we connect, we look for what we have in common. That’s the key to putting together an updated profile that jump-starts conversation and inspires people to trust you, contact you and, ultimately, connect with you. Think of your profile as a way to promote your brand – a professional permalink, a fixed point on the web to promote your skills, your knowledge, and your personality.

Brands build trust by using an authentic voice and telling a credible story, so make sure you are telling your story by following these ten tips from LinkedIn:

1. Don’t cut and paste your resume

LinkedIn hooks you into a network, not just a human resources department. You wouldn’t hand out your resume before introducing yourself, so don’t do it here. Instead, describe your experience and abilities as you would to someone you just met. And write for the screen, in short blocks of text with visual signals.

2. Borrow from the best marketers

Light up your profile with your voice. Use specific adjectives, colorful verbs and active construction (“managed project team,” not “responsible for project team management”). Act naturally: don’t write in the third person unless that formally suits your brand. Picture yourself at a conference or meeting. How do you introduce yourself? That’s your authentic voice, so use it.

3. Write a personal tagline

That line of text under your name? It’s the first thing people see in your profile. It follows your name in search hit lists. It’s your brand. Translate your professional personality into a more eye-catching phrase, something that at a glance describes who you are.

4. Put your elevator pitch to work

Go back to your conference introduction. That 30-second description, the essence of who you are and what you do, is a personal elevator pitch. Just like in a passing conversation, you have 5-10 seconds to capture your audience’s attention. The more meaningful your summary is, the more time you’ll get from readers.

5. Point out your skills

Think of the Specialties field as your personal search engine optimizer, a way to refine the ways people find and remember you. This searchable section is where that list of industry buzzwords from your resume belongs.

6. Explain your experience

Help the reader grasp the key points: briefly say what the company does and what you did or do for them. Picture yourself at that conference, again. After you’ve introduced yourself, how do you describe what you do, what your company does? Use those clear, succinct phrases here – and break them into visually digestible chunks.

7. Distinguish yourself from the crowd

Use the Additional Information section to round out your profile with a few key interests. Add websites that showcase your abilities or passions. Maybe you belong to a trade association or an interest group; help other members find you by naming those groups. If you’re an award winner or are recognized by peers, customers or employers, add prestige without bragging by listing them here.

8. Ask and answer questions

Thoughtful questions and useful answers build your credibility. The best ones give people a reason to look at your profile. Participate in discussion groups and make a point of answering questions in your field. Doing so will establish your expertise, raise your visibility, and most important, build social capital with people in your network – you may need answers to a question of your own down the road.

9. Improve your Google page rank

Pat your own back and others’. Get recommendations from colleagues, clients, and employers who can speak credibly about your abilities and performance. (Think quality, not quantity.) Ask them to focus on a specific skill or personality trait that drives their opinion of you. Make meaningful comments when you recommend others. And mix it up – variety makes your recommendations feel authentic.

10. Build your connections

Connections are one of the most important aspects of your brand: the company you keep reflects the quality of your brand. What happens when you scan a profile and see that you know someone in common? That person’s stock with you soars. The value of that commonality works both ways. So, identify connections that will add to your credibility and pursue those.

A final note:

As you add connections and recommendations, your profile develops into a peer-reviewed picture of you, of your personal brand. Make sure it’s in focus, well-composed, and easy to find. Remember that permalink? Edit your public profile’s URL to reflect your name or tagline, then put it to work: add it to your blog, link to it from your website, include it in your email signature. Then go start a conversation.

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