Whether you’re trying to find a new job, put your new venture on the map, directly market your services or increase awareness of non-profit work, LinkedIn can be an excellent tool to help you work toward your professional goals.

In metaphorical terms, LinkedIn is the Savannah for recruiters, hiring managers and businesses looking for new partners, ventures and talent. A LinkedIn profile tells a story about a person, and having a well-crafted complete story can help you take advantage of opportunities.

I’ve seen profiles that have convinced me to buy and profiles that have turned me off completely, here are a few simple tips that will help you craft a beautiful story and push success in your professional life.

Step One: Build a profile for your target audience.

Ask yourself two simple questions: What do you want people to think of you? What does your profile present you as?

Key tools to bridge this gap are word usage, and self-branding to be the ideal candidate for the job you want to get.

Step Two: Have a Strong Self Summary

Anyone familiar with the concept of the “Elevator Pitch” will know that you have about 15 seconds to grab a viewer’s attention and demonstrate your value.

You want your self-summary to be potent, targeted, to the point. Express your skills and ambitions without hesitation.

Step Three: Make your profile pleasant to read

Remember that like any written work, you want the reader to end up with a pleasant feeling, you’re writing for humans.

A complimentary concept to this, proofread your profile, read it out loud to yourself, make sure it has no grammatical errors and it sounds pleasant.

Step Four: Don’t Lie about ANYTHING

If there’s one thing you want to avoid, it’s being caught lying, and often this jeopardizes any chance of a job offer and may even get you blackballed in certain closed industries.

Make sure your job experience is accurate, you want your resume to match your LinkedIn profile, and both of those should stand up to any reference check that may be conducted on you.

Step 5: Go for 100% profile completion

LinkedIn indexes all information in your profile, the more searchable you are, the more you show up in searches.

Try to include any professional certifications, major projects, work experience, causes; anything that paints you, as a person, in a positive light.

Step 6: Get a series of good recommendations

Like a testimonials page on a company site, recommendations can instantly prove your worth to a prospective employer or business partner.

Make sure to get recommendations from satisfied clients and colleagues, often the best practice is to give a recommendation if you get one, it’s simple good karma and proactively writing someone a good recommendation may instigate one in return.

Step 7: Have a Strong Profile Picture

The key to a good profile picture is using one that’s flattering and appropriate.

When in doubt, a recent, high resolution picture that appropriately portrays you in a role in your desired industry is a safe bet.

Step 8: Keep Settings Updated to Invite People to Contact You

Your profile page shows the communications you’re willing to receive, make sure they are updated to avoid filtering out otherwise potentially good communication.

  • Settings -> Communications -> “Select the types of messages you’re willing to receive”

Step 9: Customize your public profile URL

This allows you to easily link your URL in your email signature, resume, or even remember it so you can deliver it to someone over the phone.

Your Profile Page -> Edit button next to the profile URL below your Picture -> “Customize your public profile URL” -> Set a URL (mine is set as my FirstnameLastname)-> Set

Think About Your Target Market

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for networking, finding jobs, backing up your credentials or finding new business opportunities.

But a lackluster profile can shoot you in the foot, make sure to follow these steps in order to make yourself stand out in the crowd.

Recommended Resources:

The Ultimate LinkedIn Cheat Sheet – A great resource to help you quickly create the perfect Linkedin profile

The LinkedIn Guide to Building the Right Connections – A good guide on why connecting to anyone and everyone can be counter productive

Tips for Professional Networking, Business & Marketing – A good guide that highlights some of the platform’s hidden features that don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve.