LinkedIn has been the platform for professional networking for longer than I’ve been in business, but I have only come to really appreciate it within the past year. I enjoy the conversations I have and the connections I’ve made. So whenever I hear from someone who hasn’t had the same experience, I get curious.
Maybe this is obvious, but LinkedIn works best when you use it — regardless of your industry, your niche, or your specific goals. Still, a lot of people give up on LInkedIn and claim that “it doesn’t work” after only a few weeks. That’s why I recommend making consistency your one and only goal for at least a few months before making any hasty judgments.
Now, beyond consistently commenting on others’ posts and creating your own comment-worthy posts, you’ll also want to write a memorable LinkedIn profile. Not only will new and current LinkedIn connections look at your profile, but LinkedIn profiles also tend to rank highly in Google (usually among the top 3 hits). So this is valuable real estate in the digital world.
Let’s take a look at five easy steps you can take today to make your LinkedIn profile unforgettable.
Memorable to whom?
The first question to ask yourself is, “memorable to whom?” In other words, who do you want to attract? Whose attention are you going after? Who do you want to remember you? Whether you want to focus on your ideal client, customers, or potential employers, you’ll want to study the words these connections use.
You can choose a few connections who match your criteria and study their profiles. But even beyond studying how they write about themselves, pay attention to how they talk. Literally listen to your target audience and consider how you can speak their language in your LinkedIn profile.
Keep in mind, though, being memorable is not about blending in with everyone else. So as you’re listening, make sure you’re also considering how you can carve out your own space. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope or challenge the status quo if that’s part of the personal brand you’re creating.
Once you’ve figured out your target audience and taken note of how they communicate, it’s time to get to work. You don’t need to spend a lot of time researching. The best LinkedIn profiles are authentic and fresh. So sit down and start creating from the heart.
1. Create an eye-catching cover.
The top banner behind your profile photo is a great place to showcase your brand if you’re a business owner. If you’re a job seeker, you can use your cover to show some personality. I’ve seen speakers and consultants use this space to show themselves in action.
Hint: Canva has several templates you can play with to create a unique cover.
2. Post a current headshot.
If you haven’t updated your profile photo in a year or more, it might be time to switch things up. The best photos are from the chest up, high quality, and show your face taking up at least one-third of the area of the photo. Remember that most LinkedIn users access the platform via the mobile app, so your photo will often display quite small.
Hint: You can also use Canva to add a bright background to make your photo pop.
3. Customize your URL.
LinkedIn gives you the option to customize the link you share to connect with others. If your current URL has a long string of numbers, you can edit it just as you would edit the rest of your profile. Of course, you’ll need a unique, but professional “handle” to use.
Hint: Try firstnamelastname or firstnamelastnamejob.
4. Write a compelling headline.
Use your headline to show some personality and build your personal brand. Rather than simply adding your job description or title, take the opportunity to write a memorable headline. Think of your headline as the tagline for your personal brand. It’s the first thing people will read when they land on your page.
Hint: LinkedIn gives you 220 characters, but when you comment on posts, only the first 60 characters show, so try to make those first 60 a complete thought.
5. Polish up your “About” section.
The “About” section is your chance to really shine. You want to be professional, but you also want to grab the attention of your target audience. Talk about your values, passions, strengths, opinions, and personality. If you’re a business owner, make sure you clearly state how you support your clients.
Spend most of your time writing and editing this section. Start with a paragraph or two about your work, then write a paragraph about the most distinctive thing about you. Do you know how to juggle pineapples while riding a unicycle? Causally drop that in somewhere. End with some bullet points and three hashtags.
Hint: Write your “About” section, then sleep on it for a night or two before editing and posting.
It pays to create an unforgettable LinkedIn profile if you want to use LinkedIn to build a personal brand and get in front of your target audience. I will continue to sing LinkedIn’s praises as long as the platform continues to help me meet my business goals.
If you’d like help ramping up your LinkedIn presence, this just happens to be the cornerstone of my ghostblogging + content marketing offer. Interested in finding out more? Let’s chat.
Emily Crookston is the Owner and Decider of All Things at The Pocket PhD. She’s the ghostwriter for rebels, renegades, and mavericks. She loves helping experts who are long on ideas, but short on time write business books. Find out your writer type with her Writer Profile Quiz.