Imagine if your LinkedIn profile helped you become friends with people you’ve wished you could work with. Maybe there are experts, leaders or gurus you’ve been inspired by. Or there are peers you’d love to influence.
How would your life change if your LinkedIn profile brought you new opportunities, career changing connections, speaking and consulting gigs?
As exciting as this possibility is … there’s one big problem. You’re not quite sure how to use LinkedIn to achieve this.
It’s not as self explanatory as other social media networks. We all know how to connect with friends on Facebook. And it’s super easy to binge on your favourite shows on YouTube.
But LinkedIn feels like an unsolved mystery.
When it was founded a decade ago, you were told to use it as an “online resume.”
But now it’s evolved into the go-to community for professional networking, becoming a thought leader and attracting new career opportunities.
Yet most professionals don’t know how to get the most out of it.
Because creating a stand out profile that’ll help you become known for what you do and attract powerful connections is very different from writing a resume for a job description.
Here are 5 things you need to do to move with the times and make your LinkedIn profile stand out so you can get the opportunities very few people get.
#1 – Write a Magnetic Headline
A mistake I’ve seen users make is use their job title as their headline.
I hate to break it to you, but no one is interested in your job title or who you’ve worked for.
People are usually connected to WIIFM… aka “What’s In It For Me” radio station.
In other words, people’s ears prick up when they hear what you can do for them.
For example, let’s talk about Shannon. Shannon is an HR professional. Her headline could be “HR Manager at ABC Company.”
Or… her headline could say “HR Manager helping companies identify and recruit top-level talent into management.”
If you were looking to network with, learn from or hire an HR manager, which of these headlines seems more intriguing?
The latter headline is almost as juicy as the headline on the front page of a newspaper. These headlines make people buy the newspaper or click on the article.
You want to create a headline that makes people want to click on your profile and learn more about you.
#2 – Get raving reviews
Who do you trust more? Someone who says they’re amazing? Or someone who has testimonials that show they’re amazing.
You’ve got it! Testimonials are more powerful than your word. You can get testimonials and build credibility on your profile by getting “recommendations.”
Think about it like Amazon. The more positive recommendations you get, the more you like a hot commodity … or shall I say the person everyone should know.
The easiest way to get recommendations is to gift genuine recommendations to friends, colleagues, your mother and anyone you can think of. It has to be genuine, like a gift and don’t expect anything back.
When you write a sincere recommendation, people will feel so warmed by it some will feel more inspired and motivated than ever to gift you a recommendation too.
#3 – Do a photoshoot
The worst thing you can do for your profile is to have a “bad” profile photo.
I’ve seen some crazy examples. Like a fully pregnant woman skiing half naked in the alps with her belly showing. Or a guy wearing shades making him look super unapproachable. Or even a senior professional wearing a quick bun that looks a little messy, making her look unpolished.
The truth is, while you might think any old photo will do… (it certainly does on Facebook) … this does not work on LinkedIn.
Professionals want to connect with YOU. They want to see who you are… your eyes, smile, nose, dimples, hair… because all of these things give them an insight into whether you’re a genuine and authentic human being worth connecting with.
The easiest way to do this is to get professional photos taken of you. You don’t necessarily need to hire a photographer.
But you definitely need to shower, sharpen up, dress as your best self and have someone take a headshot with a simple background. And no selfies!
You may think this sounds over the top for a tiny little profile photo, but it’s worth it. According to LinkedIn, accounts with a profile photo are 36 times more likely to get private messages. And profiles with professional headshots get 14 times more profile views than non-professional headshots.
#4 – Blog about what you know
Most people I know don’t blog on LinkedIn. And it’s such a shame because the platform makes it so easy for you to share your ideas and expertise on certain topics.
When you blog, your colleagues and people within your field will notice your thought leadership and value it.
When you write a blog post that teaches the reader something, people will be drawn to you and want to connect with you.
#5 – Engage with the community to get over 500 relevant connections
This may sound obvious but few people do this.
Actually, LinkedIn has one of the lowest engagement rates in social media. According to Pew Research, only 18% of users log in every day and 51% login less than once a week. In fact the average user logs in for 17 minutes a month.
However, 76% of Facebook users login everyday and only 7% use it less than once a week.
In other words, most people don’t engage with LinkedIn the same way they do with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or Pinterest.
And this is your advantage.
If (or shall I say when) you become one of the original members to engage with the community, you’d be like the friend who turns up to a quiet party. It’s less crowded, your comments are more appreciated and you’re more likely to build real connections.
That’s what makes LinkedIn different and perfect for networking. It’s personal.
When someone connects with you on LinkedIn, it’s almost as intimate as someone asking for your email or number. As opposed to Facebook or Instagram where everyone follows everyone and few real connections are made.
When you start making real connections with people, some of whom matter or will matter in your career, it opens up career opportunities for you. And the more relevant connections you have, the more well connected you’ll be in your field and the more influential you’ll become.
My intention is to help you gain a deeper understanding of how to use LinkedIn. So please leave a comment below sharing what you too have learned about LinkedIn.
Hundreds of incredible people read this blog every week and your comment may help someone else get a breakthrough on LinkedIn too. I can’t wait to read your comment.