LinkedIn boasts 875 million members across the globe and is growing at an exceptional rate each year.

Talk about being a small fish in a big pond. 

Or, instead of feeling minuscule, we can look at it this way:

LinkedIn has an ocean of opportunities waiting to be caught.

How can you be the best bait for those opportunities, though?

The answer?

Create a profile that starts with a bang.

Dynamic Photos

You won’t find a single article on the internet about how to make a great LinkedIn profile that doesn’t mention having a good background and profile photo.

This is key. You cannot skip this step. 

The background photo has many functions. It creates the first impression for someone looking at your profile all while enhancing your personal brand. It also helps you stand out.

Best of all, you can use it like a digital business card.

This link will take you directly to customizable LinkedIn banner templates. Once you choose your template, you can change anything you want on it, including adding your business contact information to make it easier to connect.

As for your profile photo, you can head to this article that did some digging and discovered “88% of business owners admit they are likely to dismiss a profile without a picture.”

Yes, get your smiling face up there. If you’re concerned a company won’t hire you based on race, sex, age, etc. have no worries. That company isn’t worth working at if they struggle with bias. 

Be Captivating

Of all pieces in your LinkedIn profile, the headline and about sections are two of the most important elements. 

Together, they make up your summary which, aside from the pictures, is one of the first things a visitor to your page sees. 

Really focus in on your headline. Why? Because if someone were to Google you, they see your headline in the search results. Let me show you:

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So, be captivating, but professional. Here is a great article that goes in-depth about LinkedIn summaries with some inspiration to get you crafting your headline and about section.

Per this study and article by career and professional development experts at Harvard University, the perfect LinkedIn summary follows these guidelines:

  • Skimmable in under 30 seconds
  • Headline is below 120 characters and About is below 2,000 with a focus on your career and components of your work
  • Includes industry related keywords, skills, and talents
  • Professionally written with zero errors
  • Answers questions that provide the reader with insights into who you are

Targeted Content

When writing in general, the advice is torn between writing what you know and writing about what you love. 

Your LinkedIn profile, and posts, gives you the opportunity to do both, but with your target audience in mind.

Whom do you want to draw to your profile? A recruiter? Clients? Employers? Collaborators? 

A profile aiming to catch clients will look different from one trying to gain a recruiter’s attention.

Whomever you happen to be writing for, please write in the first person. Use I, me, and my. It sets a conversational and approachable tone to your profile. 

Here are some quick tips on figuring out how to write a targeted profile:

  • Review member profiles in your industry with goals aligned to yours for inspiration.
  • Start broad, then narrow down.
  • Create two to three parameters of whom you want to target. 
  • Find mutual professional activity interests with top leaders at organizations you admire to include in your profile. 

BONUS: Get Personal

The ultimate goal here is to create a memorable profile, so once you’re found, your reader will want to stick around. 

Resumes are formal and need to focus on, and highlight, the unique skills and talent you’ll be brining to the table. I like to compare it to having your suit on and jacket buttoned.

Cover letters are a little less formal, but they still need to hold an air of professionalism. Your suit is still on, but you’ve undone the jacket button for a more relaxed look.

LinkedIn is the perfect place to inject your personality while still being professional. Now your suit jacket is slung across the back of a chair, your sleeves are rolled up, but your tie is still tight.

It’s okay to let people know what you’re interested in personally, as well as professionally, on LinkedIn. 

Make it sincere and you’ll have a winning profile in no time.

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