The Forgotten First Step to Building the Perfect LinkedIn Profile
Almost every digital marketing expert has written a blog article about optimizing LinkedIn profiles. Many talk about having a professional photo, perfecting the headline or writing a summary that attracts both readers and searchers. However. 99% of these experts miss the most crucial step that should occur before you even log in.
The Forgotten First Step
Are you a college graduate searching for your first job? Are you a seasoned professional looking to landing that pinnacle position in your career from which you will once retire? Are you a thought leader? Author? Salesperson? Entrepreneur? Executive? Before you can begin to build the perfect LinkedIn profile, you must define who you are, what your goals are and who you are trying to attract. The first step in building the perfect LinkedIn profile is the same as building any digital marketing campaign – to create a plan or strategy.
The Perfect LinkedIn Profile Plan
The perfect LinkedIn profile for someone seeking their first job looks much different than the profile of a thought leader in a very specialized industry. Start your LinkedIn optimization process by taking a moment and writing a personal brand statement. This statement may never appear in your profile but will drive every piece of information that makes up your profile from your headline to your endorsements.
Here are a few sample personal brand statements that may help you build yours:
• I am a hard-working, passionate, recent college graduate that is eager to start my career in marketing.
• I am an experienced, knowledgeable financial advisor that helps entrepreneurs manage their existing wealth.
• I am seasoned sales professional in the print industry helping alleviate the stresses of marketing professionals related to producing high quality business collateral.
Each one of these statements is different. Yet they all are excellent examples of statement that should be used to create the perfect LinkedIn profile. Once you have defined who you are, you can better sell yourself to the audiences you need most.
Make Your Plan Your Driving Force
Now that you have defined your personal statement and created an accurate picture of who you are online, you can begin to optimize your LinkedIn profile. While doing this, your personal brand statement must be the driving force between every piece of content on your LinkedIn profile.
• Profile Graphics – LinkedIn offers you two opportunities for profile graphics. When building your profile be sure to use graphics that support your brand statement. If you are a hard-working college student seeking your first position, your photo should be professional and impress the recruiters who may look at your profile.
• Headline – You have 120 characters to make a first impression. That’s less than a tweet so choose your characters carefully. Review your personal brand statement and create a succinct headline that will resonate to the audience that you are targeting.
• Summary – The summary is one of the most important parts of your profile. Here you have 3,000 characters to plead your case. It’s important to realize that the first 200-ish characters will be shown to viewers until they click on a read more link. Be sure to include the most important messages in those first 200 characters. Summaries also allow you to include rich media content (like documents, presentations, photos, links, etc). Take advantage of this and create a summary that reinforces your brand statement.
As you can see by these few examples, there is a common theme. From the photos, headline and summary through your endorsements and recommendations, each element of your LinkedIn profile should reinforce that personal brand statement you wrote. If you start with the correct content, you will be very successful in building a stellar profile that makes the impression you desire.
ONE MORE NOTE – If you are using LinkedIn to find a job, incorporate this personal branding statement into your resume, cover letter and talking points for prospective interviews. You will be amazed at the results.