Create a knockout LinkedIn profile
Updated December 2021
LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media network targeted specifically towards professionals. Australia has 12,500,000+ registered LinkedIn users (March 2021). If you want to be found in professional circles and appreciated for what you do and how you do it, you need to be on LinkedIn.
Why do people create a LinkedIn profile?
There are a number of different reasons people create a LinkedIn profile but some of the common ones include:
- Sharing your knowledge, experience or views;
- Building connections with like-minded people and/or people you want to learn from;
- Staying in touch with colleagues – in or out of your own business;
- Engaging with LinkedIn groups;
- Recruiting – to be found and highlighted for career opportunities.
The primary things to consider when creating a performing LinkedIn profile
This is a short piece of text which displays immediately below your name. Many people will simply add their current job title here.
Others include what they deliver; for example:
“Helping companies achieve their financial potential”.
And others write what they’re looking for; for example:
“Looking for opportunities in the not-for-profit sector”.
Make sure your headline clearly articulates what you want the viewer to know about you in a short one-liner.
Images – your photo and your background image
Although you’re not expected to go out and hire a professional photographer, your profile picture should be of a somewhat professional nature. That said, it should also depict “you”; your style and your personality.
Keep an eye on the latest “social media image sizes” (these change reasonably frequently) and ensure you size your profile picture appropriately. Heads and chins cut off is not necessarily the best look. In 2021, the LinkedIn profile picture size is best to be 400px x 400 px.
You also have the option to add a background image. If you do not add a background image, LinkedIn will apply the basic blue wallpaper. That looks a little lazy on your part so we recommend you add a suitable background image. This would be a generic image or something that reflects you or your interests. Your background image should be sized to 1584px x 396px.
Hot tip: Getting your image sizes right for the intended use; the recommended image sizes for "personal pages" is different from the sizes for "company pages".
Your profile summary ("About" section)
This is a critical component of your profile. Many users give it insufficient credit. This is your opportunity to talk about yourself, the way you want others to see you.
It’s not so much about your work experience and work skills but more about you, the person. Share a little personality and talk about what makes you stand out from the crowd. What life experiences have you had and what makes you tick.
You have 2,600 characters to do this so make sure you use them wisely.
Write your summary in the first person; you are telling a story about yourself. And finally, you don’t have to be boring to be professional.
This section is where you complete your work experiences – in chronological order.
You need to add the company or employer. When adding an employer, you can check first if they have a company LinkedIn page. If they do, check what that page is called and start typing in their page name. They should appear in a search results box and you can select them from there. This way, their company name and logo will appear against your entry.
Add the location you worked. Simply a town/city and country will suffice here.
You should include clear dates for both the commencement in a particular role and finishing in that role. If you are still in that role, you can select “I currently work in this role”.
You have a maximum of 2,000 characters to explain the role. You can include a small snippet about the company but the primary emphasis here is on your experience; your achievements, results, skills, tasks.
Finally, you will have an option to upload media files. This could be a company brochure, a website link or perhaps some papers you wrote.
Hot tip: You can include relevant/substantial 'volunteer' roles here like Board appointments, committees etc.
This should be pretty straightforward. Include any tertiary education, high-level secondary education and vocational training. There is no need to include your primary school or (and yes this does happen), your kindergarten.
Include the institution you attended, the dates you attended and the qualification you achieved.
If you volunteer or have volunteered, this is a great opportunity to show off your sense of social responsibility. You can use a similar process to how you created your “experience” sections. Be clear and concise about your tasks and the experiences you had. Include all relevant volunteering.
There are two schools of thought with this section – love it or hate it.
Endorsement of your skillset comes from your connections (those people you have linked with). At times, it can be quite easy to accidentally endorse someone for skills, including skills they don’t actually have. If this happens to you, you can go into your profile and remove that endorsement.
Likewise, you can set how skills are managed. To ensure your skills are well thought out by those giving them, we recommend you turn off “Include me in endorsement suggestions to my connections”. You can do this by clicking on the three dots to the right of the “skills ” section and going to settings.
On the opposite end of the scale to endorsements, recommendations are an excellent addition to your LinkedIn profile. When someone gives you a recommendation, they have to take to the time to go in and action it; think about it and write it.
You will get a notification of any endorsements and you can choose to publish them or not.
We recommend you actively encourage endorsements for your LinkedIn profile. This could mean actually asking for them. Be brave.
There are some other options for adding additional information; for example, languages, accomplishments, certificates etc. These can be added at any point.
In late 2021, LinkedIn also offered the opportunity to add your pronoun and any additional name you may wish to be known by. These two features are in the introductory section of your profile, accessed by clicking the "writing pen" immediately below your banner image.
The major components outlined above, are where you should be concentrating your efforts.
Most importantly though, the more complete your profile is, the harder it will work for you. Ensure you complete ALL the major sections fully.
Once you’ve completed all the necessary components of your profile, it’s time to get some connections.
You can start by searching for, and connecting with, people you work closely with. Then move on to people in your wider circle. As you meet new people where you experienced a professional connection or are interested in what they do or how they work, you can add them to your list.
When sending connection requests, you will have an option to include a personal note. We recommend you do this most times, particularly with people you don’t know. Otherwise, how will they know why you want to connect with them?
For example, you could say:
“Hi Mary, I attended your presentation today at ABC and found it very intriguing. I’d like to connect with you to stay in touch with what you’re doing in this space”.
You will receive connection requests from time to time. It is up to you whether you choose to accept or not. That said, don’t simply reject a connection request because you don’t know the person. As it suggests, the idea is to build connections. Have a look at their profile and see if they are someone that may add value to your experiences on LinkedIn.
Publishing on LinkedIn
This is a whole new subject and you can read our blog, "How to publish articles on LinkedIn" for everything you need to know.
If you want to make your LinkedIn profile work hard for you, give it the time and effort it deserves.
And remember to update it whenever anything changes:
- Your physical look – change your photo
- Your interests – change your background image
- Your job – update your “experience” (and remember to change the finish date in your most recent employer)
- Your education – add your latest achievement
- New volunteer role – add it to LinkedIn
- Your summary – give this a general review a couple of times a year.
Finally, remember that LinkedIn is regularly changing the way profiles appear and what options you have for additional content to add to your profile. So, it's a good idea to consider hopping into your profile a couple of times a year to ensure you're taking advantage of all the options that could work in your favour.
Happy LinkedIn profile creating.
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