How do I use LinkedIn

13 tips for a more successful LinkedIn profile

More than eleven million people in Germany, Austria and Switzerland use the LinkedIn business network. Since a well-maintained profile is worthwhile in many ways, today I would like to reveal 13 little tricks you can use to improve your profile.

On a very normal day, in a very normal week, I noticed that I now prefer to be on LinkedIn more often than on Facebook. For me, who comes from the founding Facebook generation (same year of construction as Mark Zuckerberg), this is a very surprising finding.

Because of my studies in Boston, I was on Facebook earlier than on my home VZ. Last year Facebook kindly celebrated my tenth anniversary. In short: The platform was a valued medium for maintaining contact with friends and acquaintances from all over the world.

As far as my professional contacts were concerned, I only had one LinkedIn account until 2014. I assumed that Xing would sooner or later overtake Studi VZ's fate. Only when it was clear that this would not be the case in the foreseeable future did I register.

Personal branding via LinkedIn

Currently, LinkedIn is clearly on the advance in the race of professional networks: In February 2018, the company announced that it had exceeded the 11 million threshold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In October 2016, the number of users was nine million. The platform now has a global capacity of 500 million users!

In parallel to the number of users, the interactions also grow. LinkedIn has now developed into a lively exchange network. In the past year, it saw a 20 percent increase in the length of stay and consumption of LinkedIn content.

As a result, it has become more and more of a personal branding channel and networking favorite. It is much more than just a job search tool.

It is therefore not surprising that there are now even specialists who provide support in optimizing LinkedIn profiles. Friederike Gonzalez Schmitz is one of them. She says:

In the age of digitization, self-marketing on the Internet is simply part of it. Before I listen to the lecture at a conference or attend a seminar, I can research the name of the speaker on Google and ideally find an interesting and meaningful online profile. Since you change jobs much more often now than it used to be, networking on business portals is of particular importance to employees. LinkedIn offers a strategic advantage, especially due to its internationality, an appealing newsfeed and good reach.

Reason enough to check your own LinkedIn profile and give you a few tips for improvement.

1. Appealing profile picture

I am quite surprised with what kind of profile pictures you are sometimes greeted with on LinkedIn: Pixelated, bad pictures that were clearly taken in a non-business situation. So take the time for a photo shoot with a good photographer. You definitely need these pictures for other profiles and occasions!

2. A crisp profile slogan

“You never get a second chance for a good first impression,” they say. In addition to the photo, the first thing that looks at your profile is the profile slogan. This will also be shown to people who are searching for keywords but are not yet connected to you.

So make an effort to optimize it. Fill it with the most important keywords that describe you and your job (s). In this case, this does not have to be a continuous text. You can also just separate the words with a straight line.

3. Vanity URL

When I was asked for my LinkedIn profile for the first time, I noticed that the URL after my name still had a mixed bag of numbers. Then I learned that LinkedIn enables us users to pimp them up with the help of the “vanity” function. To do this, go to "Edit URL" in the "Public profile settings" at the top right.

This is how you get an individual URL.

4. Appealing profile description

You have much more space in the summary than in the header to write about yourself and your professional experience. Be thoroughly detailed here and describe how you got to where you are now, what defines you and in which fields of work you are active.

The LinkedIn expert Friederike Gonzalez Schmitz recommends paying particular attention to the maintenance of important keywords.

Keyword optimization increases the chances of being found by recruiters, customers or cooperation partners.

Should you be self-employed, currently looking for a new position or need support for a specific project, it is worth adding a “Call to Action”. It can look like this, for example:

"Please get in touch if you are currently looking for someone to ... do your PR / design your new website / optimize your social media strategy / do content writing for you etc."

or:

"Do contact me if you are an expert in…. design thinking / PHP programming / social media advertising ... "

5. Add media

Under the profile summary and within each career stage description, it is possible for you to add links or relevant media via upload. Use this function!

Are there any interesting newspaper articles that have been written about you or your company? Have you given interviews or written guest articles on specialist topics yourself? Then it is linked to the section. Of course, small video clips or photos that describe you or the content of your work are also great.

6. List project work

As the name suggests, under “Projects” you have the opportunity to describe your well-known project work and to link the respective websites. This function is particularly suitable for project managers or freelancers (graphic designers, programmers, marketing or PR consultants), but is ultimately also very useful for everyone else who wants to highlight individual special beacons of their daily work.

You will find the project entry on the right side under "Add Profile Section" and then below "Accomplishments". Here you will also find a number of other sections such as "Honors & Awards" or "Certification" that you can add to your profile.

How to add multiple projects to your profile.

7. Customization of the profile

A very useful function on LinkedIn, which can easily be overlooked, is that you can personalize your profile. That means: You can move individual career stages or projects up or down.

To do this, go to the grid below the editing function of the respective section (for example work experience or current roles) and move it up or down.

This is how you customize your profile.

8. Post regularly

Relevant news or interviews that have been published about you or by you, new milestones of your company such as the relaunch of the website or new partnerships (for example with the help of a graphic created for this or a link to the corresponding corporate blog entry) should be posted by you on LinkedIn and so that they can be scattered over your network.

This will keep your contacts informed about you. And who knows: Maybe this will result in new projects or even sales or cooperation inquiries? The analysis function for the posts is very helpful on LinkedIn. Here you can see exactly how many people you have reached, which companies they are employed by and in which position.

Post analysis on LinkedIn.

9. Own LinkedIn articles

LinkedIn also has its own publishing tool that allows us users to post their own articles online on the platform. This is also a great opportunity to draw attention to your specialist knowledge in an expert contribution, to provide information about new projects or to express your own opinion on a current discussion.

10. Update and maintenance of the network

One or two days after every conference, trade fair, or evening event I've attended, I pick up the respective business cards and send a contact request to the interesting people I've met.

So my network is constantly expanding. It is also worth checking the contact recommendations from time to time to see if there is someone we know from previous projects or events.

11. Get endorsements or recommendations

The degree of interaction with others plays a role here: Your contacts can confirm certain skills of yours or write you mini testimonials. This third-party validation strengthens your profile immensely.

Opportunities to obtain this are on the one hand the specific address and request of your contacts. On the other hand, you can confirm certain competencies of work colleagues or partners yourself. They will then return the favor.

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12. Commitment

As with any other platform, there is no point in just uploading your own content. You should interact with your network. So: Like interesting posts, share them, comment on them, introduce people to each other. The more active you are, the more your visibility increases.

13. Profile badges for email and website

So that you can be found by new contacts on LinkedIn, it is worth adding a note to your profile, for example in your email signature or on your website.

LinkedIn offers the function of having your own "Public Profile Badge" created, which you can use for this. Go to your profile and on the right side you will find the tab "Edit Public Profile and URL". If you click on it, you will find the creation function for the button at the bottom right.

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