First Impressions: How to make a great one on LinkedIn

With a sea of hundreds of millions of LinkedIn users, it can be hard to stand out among the crowd. But there are several simple adjustments you can make to your LinkedIn profile to polish your presence and boost your profile to the top of searches. LinkedIn is one of myMarketing Cafe’s best website referral sources. Because of our profiles, and the content we publish on LinkedIn, we see visitors click over to our website every single day. Here are a few of the tactics we’ve implemented.

1.  Include a professional image.

LinkedIn is a professional networking website. The primary purpose of LinkedIn is to showcase your professional expertise and connect with like-minded professionals. Your profile image should be a head shot of you wearing what you would wear to an important business function. How would you look if Forbes wanted to include you in an article? It’s not the place for family images, children, pets, and provocative clothing (unless you are retired or that matches your profession.) The first thing I review in a profile is an image. It’s important to have one. It helps establish trust with your audience and shows you are serious about the LinkedIn network.

2. Optimize your LinkedIn job title.  

Most people type in a simple title such as Vice President Marketing, District Manager, or Owner, but take this opportunity to include keywords that members would search to find someone like you.

LinkedIn - Optimized Job Title

Test: Type in keywords someone would use to find you in the search field of LinkedIn. Does your profile appear near the top? Try this again after optimizing your title with keywords.

3.  Add the location where you work.

While some businesses serve clients all over the world, it’s still beneficial to include the location of your office.  Doing this will help boost your business to the top of searches for that area. Include your location in your title, if it’s where you do most of your business. Here’s an example: West Village Real Estate Sales Agent. Now, anyone searching for real estate in the West Village of New York will see this person’s profile appear. See how much more traction you get than from simply entering real estate agent?

4.  Optimize your website listings with keywords and important websites.

In the Contact section of your LinkedIn profile, there are options to provide three websites.  Use this opportunity to showcase your company, your portfolio, bodies of work, or professional social media sites.  Instead of choosing one of the predetermined titles offered by Linkedin, choose “other”.  Then type in a title to the website, and optimize it with keywords. For example, instead of choosing “Company Website,” I entered “Small Business Marketing.” That is my field of expertise and it better explains the website than the words Company Website.

Website LinkedIn Optimization_2Website LinkedIn Optimization


5.  Create a Summary that showcases your expertise.

The summary of your LinkedIn profile is the first section a viewer will read. It is one of the most important sections of the profile because the information here, if well-written, will lead viewers to other sections of your profile.  Include a detailed summary and tastefully showcase your expertise.  Include one to two examples of your best career work. Do this by linking to a Slideshare presentation or a specific webpage, or uploading a file, such as a Powerpoint presentation.

*There is one catch, LinkedIn chooses the image from the webpage you enter, and you aren’t able to select what image is used. Ensure the pages you link to include proper images for LinkedIn to choose from, and if linking to a Slideshare, ensure the first slide is a relevant image.

Optimize the Summary section with bodies of workTo upload presentations, while in the edit mode, select the “add a video or image” icon (shown below).  Each sample you add can be edited to include a detailed description, hyperlink, and title.

Add a Body of Work or Portfolio

Use this feature to enhance each career position in your LinkedIn Profile. Pay careful attention to optimize each with a strategic title, relevant keywords, and your very best work.

Career Position Summary - LinkedIn Example

6.  Invite important contacts to serve as LinkedIn references.

The number of references you include in your profile is not as important as who is providing the reference and what they say.  It’s important to include a variety of references from people you reported to, those who reported to you, clients, and colleagues. Following this strategy demonstrates you work well with others, are team-oriented, and respect all levels of positions. In addition, create a list of your best professional attributes, and work to identify a reference who can attest to these attributes.

7.  Use the Publications section to feature additional contributions and work.

Whether you contributed to an article, wrote an article or blog post, or were cited in another form of publication. Use this section to highlight these types of work examples. This might also include items you’ve written or contributed to such as newsletters, white papers, case studies, guest blog posts, and product reviews. The Publications section is used to showcase you as a source of information to others, contributor to a publication(s), and your own writing style and expertise.

LinkedIn Publications Summary

8.  Showcase your profile on your other channels.

LinkedIn is used for networking. Use it to learn about prospective clients, to benchmark competitors, and to grow your network. Share with others that you are on LinkedIn. Do this by including a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature, resume, author bio, professional bio, professional websites, and other internet-based bodies of work. You never know how or where someone will come across your information, so make it easy for them to connect with you on LinkedIn.

This is only the beginning.

Now that you stand out among the competition, read our post on LinkedIn etiquette to learn how to truly make a great first impression.  What you do when people contact you, and how your treat people who contact you, is just as important. Follow these strategies to grow a valuable, successful network.

LinkedIn Banner Ad copy