Authored by Raquel Guarino
The 2018 Texas Conference for Women is an annual event designed to empower, inspire, and advise women as they advance in their careers. Content Strategist Raquel Guarino attended the conference and came back with a wealth of new knowledge that anyone could apply to their career or business. In this series called "Women Share Wisdom," Raquel will divulge the tips, tricks, and advice she gained from the successful women she encountered at the event.
Most professionals know the basics of LinkedIn, but that doesn't mean they're making the most of it. Think your profile is up to snuff? Award-winning marketing manager Amanda Healy provides tips on how to make your profile stand out.
It's Not Just for Resumes.
The biggest misconception about LinkedIn, says Healy, is that you should treat it like your online resume. Healy explains that instead of pretending it's a virtual resume, users should use LinkedIn like their own personal website. That means creating content and curating your page to reflect who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
Think of Yourself as a Product.
When you think of yourself as a product, the exercise of personal branding becomes easier, says Healy. According to her, your personal brand is generally a mix of actual and aspirational content (who you are today mixed with whom you hope to be in the future). Marketing yourself as a brand thus productizes all of the various components of your profile. This reframing gives you the opportunity to ask yourself, "How can I offer a unique value proposition in a competitive market?"
Here are the most important sections of your profile Healy says you should focus on:
Like it or not, the number one most viewed portion of your LinkedIn profile is your photo, says Healy. Because your profile picture is your "product photo," it's important you use it to your advantage. Conversely, without a photo, people are more likely to think you are a bot or spam profile.
When picking a picture, Healy has a few suggestions:
- The photo should be recent
- It shouldn't be a detriment to your personal brand
- It needs to look like you (a LinkedIn catfish will create distrust)
- If possible, it should be taken by a professional
- If you're doing it yourself, use natural lighting from outside
- Smile. Not smiling comes off as unapproachable
- Use the same profile picture consistently across professional social channels.
The best compliment you can get, Healy says, is that you look just like your picture. That's why it's so important to bring your authentic self to your photos.
The second most viewed component of your LinkedIn profile is your headline. Healy says it is your value statement. It's also one of the driving pieces when it comes to search. Before you settle on any old tagline, she suggests planning it out and doing some testing first.
- Ask yourself, "What are 10-15 keywords that I want to associate with my personal brand?" You can use tools like Hashtagify, BuzzSumo, and even the Instagram search bar to come up with ideas about which terms are trending and what will attract people to your profile.
- From that list, create four different value-driven headlines (ie. "I help companies do XYZ").
- Use A/B testing to see which headlines are most effective. Take your first headline and apply it to your profile and leave it up for a set period of time. Do the same for all of your headlines. Keep track of how many people are visiting your profile, requesting to connect, and sending you messages. From there, you can see which headline is most effective for attracting the audience you want.
The summary is the place where your CV comes to life, explains Healy. This is the section where you can tell a story about where you've been, where you are now, and where you hope to be in the future. Rather than listing off your tasks and daily duties (and boring everyone to death), your summary is where you bring the audience in and remind them that you're a person with ideas, experiences, and aspirations. She says the key to a good summary is to identify the common thread that weaves all the things you do together. While your experiences may not be entirely relevant to each other, most people have a value, a lesson, or something else that connects all of their past efforts.
In addition to finding that common thread, Healy says your summary is the perfect place for SEO. Be sure to use the exact same keywords that your headline uses in your summary, along with other relevant keywords. This boosts your ranking up on both LinkedIn and Google searches.
Healy recommends adding a variety of media, too. Visual components, such as videos, pop out immediately. To stand out from the competition even more, you can even create a quick "About Me" video. Here's how to do it.
- Grab a tripod or some kind of stabilizing mechanism.
- Make sure your video is filmed horizontally.
- Create a quick script for the video but speak from the heart. When writing the script, picture someone across the table from you asking who you are and go from there.
- Keep the video brief--30 seconds is perfect.
- Post the video to YouTube first (it has richer analytics than LinkedIn).
- Treat the video as part of your personal marketing campaign. Post it as a status update, ask others to share it, create a blog post for it, and promote it on your social media.
Skills & Endorsements
The next most-viewed area of your profile is the Skills & Endorsements section. Healy explains that the best LinkedIn users are the ones who understand how important this section is for SEO; when someone types in "social media," for example, Healy's profile rises to the top on both Google and LinkedIn because of the relevant skills listed in her profile. She suggests having at least 15-20 skills on your profile. The most important part of this process is curating which skills appear. You can figure out which skills to use by going to the role you were hired for and looking for the skills required for that position. You should also look at people in your industry whom you admire and see what their skills are.
If you don't have a lot of endorsements for your skills, she suggests asking friends and colleagues to endorse you. When someone skilled in one area endorses you for that same skill, it boosts your SEO and makes you rank higher in searches.
Last but not least are recommendations. Recommendations are important because they help others understand what value you bring to other people. A best practice for this is at least one recommendation per role (two is even better!). When asking for a recommendation, Healy suggests being prescriptive about what specific things you'd like to be recommended for. Include a particular project, keyword, or element that you'd like the person to incorporate in their writing. And if you're not completely happy with the recommendation? She says it's OK for you to ask for small adjustments--just make sure you're specific about what parts you'd like revised.
Commit to Change
No one is going to do the work of updating your profile for you, says Healy. That's why it's so important that you take just a little bit of time out of your day to keep your profile updated and complete. She advises scheduling 20-30 minutes out of your day everyday to look at your social media, think about what you'd like to do over the next week, and set tangible goals. If you make it a daily habit, you will inevitably reap the rewards.
Did you find these LinkedIn tips helpful?