This week, I have been actively updating my LinkedIn profile. Why? Try this experiment.
Open a new Google search window.
Search for your name.
Is your LinkedIn profile in the top 3 results? In my case it's number 1 - and in the case of about 50% of the 30 friends I tested this on it was number 1. Whether you want it to be or not, your LinkedIn profile is a key part of your personal branding.
You should block some time on your calendar to update these items.
A Great Profile Photo Matters
I believe that everyone should have their own media kit which includes, at a minimum, two excellent hi-resolution headshots of you and a biography. One of those headshots should be your LinkedIn Profile photo.
If you don't yet have a media kit, add it to your task list, but for now, let's talk about getting a great Profile Photo. First, you MUST use an actual photo of yourself. The LinkedIn terms of service actually require that you use a photo - you cannot use avatars or other representations.
First, your face MUST be the focus of a great profile photo. A good rule of thumb is that your face must take up at least 60% of the frame.
Second, you need to be dressed for the job you want. No matter what you do today, the photo should reflect you dressed for what you want to do.
And finally, you MUST connote the mood you want. I like smiling photos but if you're trying to connote confidence, thoughtfulness, etc. - these might be the mood you want to strike in the photo.
If you don't have a great photo right now, find a good friend with a reasonably recent iPhone. Ask them to go out with you about an hour before sundown. Wear something you'd wear to the job you want. Find a spot with loads of light - but not direct light. Have your friend put their iPhone in portrait mode and shoot 10 - 15 photos from a couple of different angles - making sure your face takes up most of the frame.
Your Headline Should NOT Be Your Job Title
Your headline should state who you are in a single sentence. You are NOT your job title. Spend some time writing a headline that describes you - and not your job.
Your headline should also be forward thinking. This is not about describing ONLY who you are now - it's about who you are constantly trying to become.
I think a bit as the headline as a personal values statement.
You edit the header using the little pencil icon here on your profile.
Use Featured To Highlight Your Most Important Work
The Featured section of LinkedIn is entirely underused. You should keep two very important and/or very popular posts there. You can add a number of different types of media here and you can use your own posts.
You can feature two things - so choose thoughtfully!
Your Summary Tells Your Story
Your summary should be easy to read and should tell your story.
Use bullets (or emojis) and easy to read statements rather than long meandering paragraphs.
My story is in transition but this is my About as it stands today.
There is a really easy way to get recommendations - ask for them. I just sent out another batch of recommendation requests. I always offer to reciprocate when anyone gives me a recommendation.
No matter what you do, keep your profile up to date. You should set a recurring appointment with yourself no less than once a month to check your LinkedIn Profile and see if you want to refresh your highlights and/or see if there is anything else you need to update.
I'd love to know if this article was helpful for you. Please comment with any changes you made or questions you have.