A well composed personal profile is the key to maximizing your experience on LinkedIn. By displaying a compelling and accurate portrayal of your background, interests and abilities, you will be more likely to attract valuable connections for professional growth. It’s important to be straightforward, honest, and concise about who you are, what you do, and what you hope to achieve with your time on LinkedIn.

1. Put yourself out there

A great LinkedIn profile will give anyone who visits a clear picture of who you are. Starting with just that, a picture! Your profile image should be a professional and clear picture of your face, with an appropriate background context. Use an image that shows your best smile and invites people to want to connect with you. Once your smiling face has opened the door to their interest, tell your new connection what you enjoy accomplishing and how you stand out from the competition. Convey excitement and purpose about your objectives in your summary to set yourself apart from the crowd. Save the bulleted lists for your career-specific accomplishments further down the profile. Your summary is the introduction that makes the rest of your background compelling.

2. It’s much more than a resume

Resumes have their place, and your profile has many similar features to the standard CV. However, this is your space to really delve into the parts of your professional experience that have shaped you into the person you are! In addition to the more personal nature, your profile also allows you to display relevant projects and accomplishments, boast about your favorite things about the companies you worked for, and highlight any details that the standard resume might not have space for. Include media links, images, and relevant LinkedIn connections you worked with to make a powerful statement about your value.

3. Keep it simple

It may be easy to go overboard with details about the many things you’ve accomplished in your career! Try to keep your viewer engaged by giving enough detail to explain yourself without dragging on too far. Some simple writing structure techniques go a long way in keeping your profile interesting. Avoid run-on sentences, use thoughtful paragraph spacing to separate different ideas, and keep language concise to avoid being too lengthy. Aim to make your profile as enjoyable and easy to read as possible while highlighting the most important aspects of yourself. Another great idea to simplify your profile is to customize your URL to be very consice. Under Edit Profile, find “Your public profile URL” and change it from all that gibberish into something easy to spell out such as “linkedin.com/in/brettablair”.

4. Cater to your audience

While composing your profile, think about what your goals are on LinkedIn. Are you perfectly happy in your position and looking to maintain your professional relationships? Are you seeking a new opportunity? Who do you want to connect with you, and why? Write with purpose to attract the connections you need to accomplish your goals. Aim to make your profile engaging for anyone who comes across it, but target the ideal connection with language that displays your expertise and desire for development.

5. Use keywords

Your summary and descriptive paragraphs should be packed full of terms that are unique to your industry, position, and experience. This thoughtful use of keywords adds credibility to your profile from anyone knowledgeable in similar areas as you. These keywords are also a very intelligent way to make yourself easily locatable through search functions that recruiters and hiring professionals use to locate exceptional talent. If you were looking to hire a person just like yourself, what works would you use to search for them? Do they appear in your profile somewhere? If there are multiple terms that you’d like to include, but they don’t fit well into your descriptive paragraphs, make a keywords section at the end of your summary. Example “Keywords: SEO, Search engine optimization, website development, social media, marketing” etc…

6. Proofread, refine, and edit.

When you’ve completed your initial profile draft, read through the whole page. Scan for errors in every block of the text including dates, job titles, company names, and the paragraphs explaining your accomplishments. Simple grammatical errors are easy to overlook but just as easy for foreign eyes to spot. Don’t let these minute details impede on your potential success! Read through the eyes of a stranger and ask yourself if you’d be excited to learn about the person who you are reading about. Refine any areas that don’t flow nicely or leave confusion in the mind of your audience. Read, refine, repeat.

7. Get recommendations

Recommendations are a fantastic way to add credibility to your profile. Asking familiar connections to write some words about their experience working with you is the equivalent of getting your 5-star google review! It’s a great practice to return the favor, and write some complimentary insight about that person on their profile as well. The recommendation feature is a wonderful example of how LinkedIn helps foster professional growth for every user. Don’t be shy to ask the people who enjoy working with you to bolster your credibility!

8. Join Groups

LinkedIn groups appear at the end of your profile, and will display the companies, industries, and organizations that matter most to you. Joining groups relevant to the experience mentioned above in your profile will provide proof about your personal and professional interests. Groups are useful beyond the profile in that your profile visibility increases, and group members are able to contact one another without the need for a 1st degree connection.

9. Tell your connections how to reach you

You’re almost on the path to being a LinkedIn superuser! But wait! How will people connect with you? Do you want them to simply send an invite? How about a message to your personal email address? Should you provide a phone number? These are all things to consider, but ultimately you should make it clear how you want to use these newfound connections. Provide as much contact information as you feel comfortable with, and include somewhere a call to action for anyone looking to get in touch.

10. Be proud, spread the word, and use it!

You’ve done it! Your profile is a shining example of your skills and abilities, providing anyone who comes across it with an accurate and compelling overview of who you are. Now that your profile is complete, you can be proud to direct people to find and connect with you on LinkedIn, give you a recommendation, and introduce you to valuable contacts they may have. Your solid LinkedIn profile should be easy to find from anywhere people interact with you online. Post a link from your website, Facebook profile, or even your business card. You are now ready to make the most out of LinkedIn!