Career Woman

Does your LinkedIn profile speak to your target audience?

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Now that you have a personal brand (check out this easy three-step article if you haven’t), it’s time to optimise your online profiles. An important one of those, especially if you’re selling a service or utilising your reputation, is your LinkedIn profile. Profile optimisation is about ticking off the profile creation to do list while making sure that you’re speaking to your target market every step of the way. As LinkedIn is often the first place that businesses vet professionals and candidates it’s critical that your profile represents your personal brand. Having a catchy, easily discoverable profile will help businesses find you online. Here are nine quick steps to get you started – let’s go!

1. Profile photo

This is your first impression and should match how you present yourself professionally. It’s worth it hiring a photographer (or swapping services) for a professional headshot. I recommend good lighting, standing an appropriate distance from the camera (not arm-length), and wearing what you would wear to a business meeting. This is the moment your personal brand receives a face. For example, if your personal brand emphasises creativity consider showcasing that in your headshot. Using the same headshot across your professional profiles will give your personal brand a consistent look. 

2. 100% complete profile

LinkedIn tracks your profile progress and will prompt you regularly to complete your profile to 100%. And with good reason. Having a full profile increases your visibility in LinkedIn search results. Make your way through you profile utilising every field available and take the time to join some LinkedIn groups relevant to your profession. 

3. A targeted resumé

A common mistake with the LinkedIn information section is that people list e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, including their babysitting experience as a teenager. Curate a professional history that accurately represents your personal brand by only including what is relevant to your professional career. If your professional work history is varied, frame those experiences with skill-based summaries that align your experience to your personal brand. For example, retail experience can provide insight into supply chain logistics that could benefit a logistics management career goal. It’s also a good idea to include facts and figures like ‘increased efficiency by 34%’ that your profile visitors can make quick sense of.

4. The power of your summary

Your LinkedIn Summary sits front and centre, making it three to five paragraphs of typed gold. Utilise this space to share your qualifications, industry experience, and unique skill set. The goal is to have those reading your profile want to form a connection with you and learn more.

5. Your custom URL

A custom LinkedIn URL can be shorter or more targeted than the one that LinkedIn generates by default. Visit your profile and edit your Public Profile & URL by entering your preferred URL suffix. LinkedIn will then drop the number chain at the end of your URL and replace it with your preferred alternative.

6. Hide “people also viewed”

Your profile’s sidebar has a section titled ‘People Also Viewed’ by default. This can attract the eye of visitors to your profile and drag them away to another potential professional or candidate’s profile. Turn this option off easily from the Privacy section in your LinkedIn settings.

7. Freelancer? job seeker? make it known

Make it known that you’re open to new opportunities by setting your profile as visible to recruiters. You don’t need to be searching for a new job to utilise this feature (you may be a freelancer), but if you are LinkedIn takes steps to keep the fact that you’re searching for work private from your current employer to give you confidence to put yourself out there. Again, this is an easy toggle change in your Privacy settings.

8. Target your headline

Aligning your headline with your personal brand is a powerful way to override your current job title. It’s also important to utilise skill-based keywords in your new headline, but limit these to two to three. For example, your headline might be ‘Fundraising Specialist with a focus on Strategy, Public Relations, and Events’. Your core skill set has been highlighted and it leaves a profile visitor interested to learn more.

9. Engage, engage, engage

LinkedIn isn’t simply a billboard for your personal brand, it’s a powerful networking platform with a community of professionals eager for you to engage with their content and share your own. Like, comment on, and share articles that relate to your field of expertise, publish posts, write your own articles, and share media that you have been featured in. 

Follow these nine easy steps and you’ll be well on your way to a successful LinkedIn presence that amplifies your personal brand. When approaching LinkedIn, remember to not only generate leads for yourself but embrace the opportunity to contribute to an International community of professionals. While a complete profile will help other professionals find you, take the time to locate others and consider collaborations and opportunities that will further your respective careers. You can’t know what opportunity is around the corner, but you’ll never find it if you don’t put yourself in its path.

About Kylie Williams

Kylie Williams has a marketing agency background and divides her time between being a self-employed international Communications & Marketing Consultant and the entrepreneur behind the gift registry start up GVLOV

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