Two weeks ago, we shared a quick guide on how to perfect your LinkedIn profile. And while it’s a great way to get your profile published, we wanted to break the steps down for you even further. After all, we love a good blog series around here. 😊
Today, we wanted to dive deeper into the first step in creating an optimized LinkedIn profile: Filling in your basic details. The idea here is to create a solid backbone you can use to build out the rest of your profile. Let’s jump right in.
Understanding Your LinkedIn Profile Details
If you take a nice stroll through LinkedIn, you’re bound to happen upon profiles with missing information. Some profiles don’t have photos while others don’t include any contact info. Unfortunately, it’s these details that help you reach the right audience on the platform.
Let’s start with your basic demographics. If you haven’t yet created a LinkedIn profile, this is the information you’ll fill out first. If you’ve already created an account, you’ll find the majority of these details using the pencil icon right under your cover photo on your profile. Simply click and you’re ready to fill in your:
- Name: We recommend using the name you use for business, whether that’s a shortened version of your name, your first name, middle name or a combination. If you have a difficult name to pronounce, we recommend using LinkedIn’s name pronunciation tool, which allows you to record the pronunciation and add it to your profile. Nifty, huh? You can do this using the LinkedIn mobile app.
- Additional demographics: It’s important to fill in your country or region as well as your location if you’re comfortable. This is especially useful if you own or work for a service-based business that serves a specific geo-location or area.
- Industry: Your industry is a required detail on LinkedIn and for good reason. It helps LinkedIn connect you with other people in the same industry. For example, our profiles fall under the Marketing & Advertising industry. There are many industries to choose from such as Legal Services and Management Consulting.
- Contact info: In your details, you’ll also find a dedicated section to contact info. Fill out as much of this as possible to give potential customers and colleagues an easy way to reach you. Contact information includes your website URL, phone number, address, email address, social media and even instant messaging apps like Skype.
Focus On Your Photo
Your photo is one of the first things visitors will see. It’s important to make it count. The goal is to ensure your visitors see the same person they would see tomorrow if you met. This means you must showcase who you are as well as your personality in your photo. How do you do it?
- Use a current photo: Your high school senior photo won’t cut it (put those bangs in the past). Use a current photo that looks like you. This means if you wear glasses normally, wear them in your photo.If you enjoy purple streaks in your hair, showcase your purple streaks.
- Upload the right size photo: LinkedIn recommends a profile photo size of 400 x 400 pixels. Avoid smaller images, as they tend to be blurry and off-putting.
- Try a headshot: You want your face to be the focus of the image. So, try a nice headshot—an image taken from your shoulders, up.
- No selfies, please: Have someone else take the photo for you. Selfies are great for Facebook, but not so much for LinkedIn.
- Don’t be afraid to smile: Most of the time, the work we do isn’t as serious as we make it. Don’t be afraid to share a smile, a smirk or even a laugh.
Fill in Your Work Experience
The next step is to fill in your work experience. Now, remember two weeks ago when we said your LinkedIn profile isn’t a recycled resume? It’s true. As you fill in your work experience, there are some things to keep in mind.
First, make sure you fully explain why a certain position supports what you do now. After all, you’re telling a story of the experience you’ve gathered to get to where you are. Outline what you did, the results you achieved and how those translate to your current work. Check out this excerpt from Cari’s LinkedIn profile:
Also, if you’re well into your career, you may have a lengthy list of experiences. Just remember that your high school summer job at the Dairy Barn doesn’t need to be listed (unless ice cream is your niche—then go for it).
Share Your Educational Background & Certifications
Your education section should follow the same format as your work experience. Why? Potential customers, colleagues and partners will want to see how your education supports what you do now.
List the education you have in detail and provide additional info such as awards and scholarships. Also, include any activities or societies you were involved in during your time at the college or university.
If your education includes a trade school or specialized training, it’s also a great idea to include some samples of your work. LinkedIn allows you to do so easily under Media in the Education details section.
Don’t forget to add in your certifications and licenses that help support what you do. This may include certifications you’ve received through online courses or even industry licenses.
To finish up your details, add some accomplishments to your profile. LinkedIn categorizes accomplishments into several categories, including:
- Honors & Awards
- Test Scores
If there’s something that doesn’t quite fit elsewhere in your profile, but you still feel it’s important, this might be a great place for it. For example, do you know another language? Add it here. Have you completed an industry-specific course recently? Add it here.
Struggling With the Details? We Can Help!
Filling in these details will help you create a LinkedIn profile that not only tells your story but also captivates your audience. If you’re struggling with the details, we can help! Send the Word Nerds a message today!