A lackluster or copycat profile will work against you when you’re trying to create a powerful first impression and build relationships on LinkedIn. And with LinkedIn membership moving closer and closer to a billion, standing out is absolutely essential. Here are five of my favorite tricks that will give you an edge in this crowded yet vital digital space.
1. Double Your Message
Your headline is one of the most important aspects of your LinkedIn profile. Why? Because it acts like the headline of an ad. Its job is to attract attention and get viewers to want to know more. However, the challenge with this element is that LinkedIn only gives you 120 characters to attract viewers – that is, if you use the desktop version of LinkedIn to create or update your headline. But, when you use the mobile app instead, you get double the amount of space for typing those crucial words. That’s right, instead of the 120 characters, you get 240 on the app. It’s likely just a programming a glitch, so this spacious upgrade may not be valid forever, but right now, you get more space to introduce yourself than you thought.
2. Start Your Summary (About) With Likability
In most summaries I have read, people start out by repeating themselves. “I’m the director of marketing for xyz corp.” There are two things wrong with that. First, you have already established relevance with your headline – it should clearly state your current role and company. Don’t waste space repeating it right below. Second, you do nothing to get someone to want to know more about you if your summary focuses on job titles. The latest iteration of the LinkedIn profile format only shows viewers the first two or three lines of your summary. A viewer needs to click “see more” to get the whole story. So skip the credentials and kick off your About with something interesting, provocative or intriguing. Here are some of my favorite “About” kick-offs.
3. Prioritize Pictures Over Words
The way your profile is displayed, people see your multimedia more than your text. If you want to influence people who are checking you out, establish your multimedia strategy for your profile.
Do that in these two ways: Add images to your About. As I said above, when someone looks at your profile, they only see the first two or three lines. And what they see in addition are multimedia content that you added to your About. You can include things like videos of you speaking or images of you doing your thing or PDFs of whitepapers you have written. Replace the boring blue standard background with an image that expresses your unique promise of value. It’s the easiest way to make your profile one-of-a-kind. Create (or have a designer create – you can use services like Fiverr or Upwork to get it done very inexpensively) a custom image that helps you exude your personal brand.
4. Write An Article
You may not be focused on building your thought leadership or perhaps you think you don’t have anything to say, but take it from me: having at least one article in your LinkedIn profile is extremely valuable for two reasons. First, it shows that you have something to say. Use it to help showcase that for which you want to be known. Second, it features prominently on your profile – it’s the fourth content box – before your Experience. That’s some pretty important real estate. Both the title and the image are visible. Even if people don’t click on it, it makes your profile look different, adding some visual appeal.
5. Lead With Your Most Important Skills
When someone checks out your profile, they only see the top three skills for which you have received the most endorsements. You need to make sure that the top skills in your profile sit at the intersection of these two criteria: You actually possess them and they help position you for what’s next. That means they need to be both authentic and aspirational. So take a look at your profile and ask yourself this question: Are my three featured skills the ones that will be most helpful to me? If the answer to that question is no, don’t worry. Here’s a trick. When you’re in edit mode in LinkedIn, you can change the order of your endorsements so the most important skills show up on top. Just go into editing mode, click the pencil icon in the skills section, and then you’ll see three horizontal lines on the right of each skill. Reorder them so you lead with the ones that will be most helpful to you.
These five tips will have a big impact on the power of your profile – without having a negative impact on your time and energy.
William Arruda, Contributor, Careers, Forbes, 9 Dec 2019.