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5 Steps To A Great LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the place to be for professionals.

It is the largest professional networking site, so you need to not only join, but make sure that you have a great profile so that you can make the most out of it.

Your profile is often the first impression that you make on employers and networking contacts that you meet online.  As the saying goes, first impressions are lasting impressions.  Given that reality as well as the fact that the job market is still tight, you need to make a great impression with your LinkedIn profile.

Here are some tips to make your profile shine:

1)     Put your best foot (or face) forward.  A photo makes your profile more personable.  It helps you make a more personal connection with people who view your profile.  You should have a headshot that shows you smiling.  A smile makes you seem more inviting.  Also, if you do not have a photo on your profile, other LinkedIn members may see you as suspect.  They may wonder why you are hiding your face.

2)     Create a dynamic and engaging professional headline.  Your professional headline should say something about what you have to offer to a potential employer.  If you are a trainer, for example, you might say this, “Trainer/Instructional Designer – Increasing Bottom Line Profitability Through Learning Strategies.”  If done correctly, your professional headline will pique the interest of the reader and entice the reader to delve more deeply into your profile.

3)     Make your case to a potential employer.   After you have grabbed the attention of the employer through your professional headline, you need to go a step further and substantiate your claims.  You should include your accomplishments on the profile under your different positions.  Don’t expect a potential employer to believe a claim that you have not substantiated.  Increase your credibility and your appeal to employers by supporting any statements that you make and demonstrating your value.

4)     Show and tell.  LinkedIn has a few applications that give you the option to incorporate multimedia into your profile.  You can use Box.net to upload audio files as well as Word and PDF files and SlideShare and Google Presentations to upload video as well as PowerPoint presentations.   You can either use an existing PowerPoint presentation or create a new one that illustrates your expertise.  For example, you can show growth in sales by including a chart that shows a spike in sales over time.  Including multimedia on your profile will add more life to it and give potential employers a more comprehensive view of you as a candidate.

5)     Keep me updated.  You should offer something of value to your network through your status updates.  Perhaps you can share an article that others would appreciate or offer your expertise.  People will start avoiding you after a while if you are simply sharing personal information or if all you have to say is that you are looking for a job. 

By following these five steps you can increase the value of your profile and be on your way to a new position.


Cheryl Palmer, M. Ed. is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.