You don’t have to be actively seeking employment or be a recruiter to use LinkedIn. In fact, the best reason to use LinkedIn is for networking and lead generation in the B2B space. Creating your best LinkedIn profile means you go over every piece of your profile and optimize each section. Think of your LinkedIn profile like a page of your website that you are going to optimize for Google to search – SEO (search engine optimization). Each section matters to being found through search within LinkedIn and to ultimately being chosen first by your ideal client. These are the 8 pieces of your profile that you need to take care of for the ultimate LinkedIn profile.

1. Put Your Best Photo Forward

LinkedIn is not the place to put your favorite photo of you and girls out to the bar with everyone cropped out but you. It’s not the place to put a photo from 20 years ago either. Upload a high-quality, headshot. Don’t try to put your full body into the photo – let people see your smile! Keep a clear background for minimal distractions. If you use a poor image, you may lose people right away and never get the chance to recover!

Take a look at what author, speaker, and certified life coach, Towanna Freeman has done with her profile picture – she’s doing it right:

Towanna Freeman's LinkedIn Profile Header, Headline, and Profile Picture

2. Put Keywords in Your Headline

When someone searches for someone like you, what words will they use? If you’re in the social media space it might be “social media manager,” “social media strategist,” or “community manager.” Make sure those words are in your headline if that’s what you want to be known for online but don’t just list your job titles. Tell us more about who you serve and what you do. You have 120 characters to use in this space so you’ll have to be creative.

Heather Heuman of Sweet Tea Social Marketing does an excellent job at giving who she is with keywords and showing some personality by distinguishing herself as a Periscope Broadcaster.

Heather Heuman's LinkedIn Headline Example

3. Use LinkedIn Pulse to Publish Blog Posts

LinkedIn Pulse allows you to add blog posts within the LinkedIn platform to set yourself apart as an influencer in your industry. But don’t worry, I’m not telling you that you now have two blogs you have to keep up with – one on your website and one on LinkedIn. You can use the same content from your website’s blog on LinkedIn. I know, it sounds like a no-go for duplicate content but the best LinkedIn trainers and influencers around like Stephanie Sammons and Viveka von Rosen have both confirmed that you can reuse your content on LinkedIn Pulse.

My suggestion is that after you post on your website blog, head over to LinkedIn Pulse a week or two later and then add your content again. Allow your site to do some work for you so the bulk of your new traffic goes to your site. And don’t forget that when you do publish to LinkedIn you should add a link back to your site crediting your original posting.

4. Write Your Summary in the 1st Person

LinkedIn is not your resume. I repeat, LinkedIn is not your resume. You know what – tweet that.

[clickToTweet tweet=”LinkedIn is not your resume. #smtip” quote=”LinkedIn is not your resume.” theme=”style4″]

When people come to your profile, and scroll down to get more information about you, they will stop at your summary. Write TO that person. Talk to them. Tell them about what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for. When I’m done reading, I should know if you’re the person I want to do business with either by hiring you, you hiring me, or maybe I have a great referral for you. I don’t want to read a biography about you. I want to get to know you in those few minutes I’m dedicating to your page. Keep my attention!

LinkedIn expert, Melonie Dodaro does this really well by telling you exactly who she works with in her summary. You know right away if Melonie is a good fit for you and your company. Check it out:

Melonie Dodaro's LinkedIn Summary Example

5. Add Media Throughout Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn really lets you showcase your work with the option to add media to three sections of your profile including:

  • Summary
  • Work Experience
  • Education

This is your opportunity to add either a:

  • Document
  • Photo
  • Link
  • Video
  • Presentation

You’ll see this option when you go to edit you profile:

Add Media to Your LinkedIn Profile

Showcase your past work, articles you’ve written or been featured in, videos showcasing your skills as a teacher, presenter, or speaker – really the possibilities are endless. If you hop over to my profile you can see that I added 3 of my slideshare presentations, an article from Kim Garst that named me as one of the Top 30 Women in Social Media, and a case study that Heyo did on my company after using their software to run a contest on my Facebook page.

Steph Nissen's LinkedIn Summary Media Additions

6. Collect Recommendations from Clients, Coworkers, and Employers

Recommendations are a gold mine on a LinkedIn profile. And guess what? You won’t get them if you don’t ask. When was the last time you logged into your LinkedIn profile and thought – “You know what, I’m going to go write a recommendation for some of the people I’ve worked with just to be nice.” – Never, right?

Send requests to influential people in your industry, clients, coworkers, and employers – assuming you have a good relationship with all of the above – to write you a recommendation. Be specific with each one and tell them what you’re looking for in that testimonial. For example, reach out to someone who’s attended one of your classes and specifically ask for them to review and recommend you as a presenter and educator. It’s something that person can speak to directly.

7. Keywords Matter In Several Places

Remember those keywords we talked about earlier. Here are the places you need to make sure your keywords show up:

  1. Headline
  2. Summary
  3. Work Experience Title
  4. Work Experience Descriptions
  5. Skills and Endorsements
  6. Interests

The more places your keywords show up, the higher you rank in search results within LinkedIn. But even more important to remember about keywords is that:

“Remember it doesn’t matter what keywords you think you should have, but rather that you use the keywords that your ideal clients will use when searching.” – Melonie Dodaro, author of The LinkedIn Code

8. Complete Your LinkedIn Profile As Much as Possible

This means, fill it in! It’s so straight forward – there’s a place for everything. Put in where you went to school, any volunteer experience you have, honors and awards, and join relevant groups (this show up on your profile so be picky!).Turn Off Notifications on Your LinkedIn Profile for Updates

If you decide to go through your LinkedIn profile and make several updates all at once, do your network a favor and turn off your notifications. If you’re making one update, leaving this feature on is beneficial to you to get more eyeballs on your page. But if you’re walking through your profile alongside articles like this one, turn it off. Just flip the switch!

What Now?

Do you have questions about LinkedIn? Maybe you’d like someone to review your page and give some feedback? Comment below with your LinkedIn profile link and I’ll take a look and give a quick tip on something you can update right now.