In the last few weeks, I have been working with a client to rebuild her LinkedIn Profile and it’s been a most rewarding experience. Aside from the English Language issues, the main areas of focus for her have been to think hard of the skills and experience she’s gained and decide what and how she wants to include them in her LinkedIn Profile.

 
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In fact, this latter aspect (skills and experience) is what has taken up most of her and our time in our sessions. Contrary to what most Business English learners think, the language is not the main problem. What needs the most work is reassessing their skills and thinking hard about who they are, what they’ve achieved and what they want people to know about them. That takes a lot of introspection and time but once achieved is most rewarding.
And this is what, for me, being a Business English coach/trainer is all about. It’s about helping my client find their voice and confidence in their abilities to perform their jobs. The English language comes after.
In this post, I want to share with you the 10 steps you need to take to create your winning LinkedIn profile.
Why do you need a LinkedIn profile?
Before I start though, let’s ask ourselves why we need a LinkedIn profile in the first place.
According to Jo Munro in her blog post, you need a LinkedIn profile for the following reasons:
  • Because the point of LinkedIn is to act as a place where people can do business with each other.
  • You can write loads more on your LinkedIn profile than you can on your CV and you get to show exactly how you’re good at what you do and why someone might want to work with you.
  • LinkedIn groups not only provide a ton of information but are full of people who would hire you, collaborate with you or recommend you.
  • LinkedIn’s SEO is so good that if someone Googles you, your LinkedIn profile will come up at the top of page one and before your own website (if you have one).
  • If you’re a freelancer then people will Google you.
 
With such reasons, what are we waiting for?
 
Step #1: Decide Who This Profile Is For
Who do you want to read your profile and what do you want them to know about you?
Like presenting, when you write you must always think of who your reader is and what you want them to do with the information. The same goes for your LinkedIn profile.

With your LinkedIn profile, what do you want your reader to know about you? Imagine your profile as your career window display. It should showcase all the great experience that has shaped your career and you professionally and given you the skills that you’re most proud of.

Summarise the skills you used, the result of your efforts and any key achievements so people can see your true value.

Mention the types of clients you worked with, the size of budgets you managed, the people you worked with and the level of return you provided so people can see the scope of your experience and how good you are at what you do.

Imagine arranging that window display in your mind – what does it look like?

What would make shoppers stop and take a look?

This is not an easy thing to do but it’s all about selling yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will.


Step #2: Build a Multimedia Profile
Your LinkedIn profile can do so much more than a CV or resume.
Don’t just use plain text. That’s boring. Make your profile visual.
You can now add videos, PDFs, links, photos, presentations and much more for each job you’ve had.
Make your profile stand out and showcase your creativity.
 

Step #3: Go For The Detail

Unlike a CV or resume, you can write as much as you want in your profile.
 
You can add the odd job, the volunteering job you did, a success story.
 
You can even add coursework you did – that will show people you’ve gained the necessary skills to enhance (improve) your career.
 

Step #4: Organise The Information
Of course, by adding all this detail your profile could become huge so you’ll need to control how you organise the information.
 
What you want to do is to make your descriptions easy to read and here your secret weapon is to use bullet points!
 
They will save your life.
 

Step #5: Don’t leave Any Sections Blank!

There is nothing worse than an incomplete LinkedIn profile. It says you’re lazy and unprofessional.
 
Make sure you complete ALL the sections.
 
You can always hide your profile in the settings until you’ve completed it.
 
And make sure you have a good professional photo( – not a silly photo, please!)
 
If I see people trying to connect with me don’t have a photo, I ignore them. 
 
Recruiters and potential employers want to see what you look like. They may not expect it in a CV but they do want to see it on a LinkedIn profile.

Step #6: Write an outstanding summary and headline
Whatever you do, do NOT leave these sections blank.
The headline and summary sections of your profile are the first things a potential connection, employer or client will read and often show up in online searches of your name.

Make sure your headline is engaging and accurately reflects your professional identity. Typically, you’ll only have 5-10 seconds to impress, so be concise and accurate.

[ctt template=”8″ link=”vkdbn” via=”no” ]First impressions count![/ctt]

The summary is your chance to be creative, describe who you are and what you’re passionate about.
Make it personal by highlighting your key accomplishments.
More to come: I will be writing more about how to write an outstanding summary and captivating headline in a future post. This will include using keywords so your profile and name show up top in a LinkedIn search.  So stay tuned.
Step #7: Act naturally

Don’t write in the third person. You wouldn’t do speak in the third person in an interview.
 
When writing take a professional but approachable tone. Use the active voice and  “I” and not just “was responsible for”.

Be authentic and inject some of your personality in the language you use. You can do this even if English is not your first language. 

Step #8: Connect, connect, connect

Try to establish at least 50 trusted connections on LinkedIn. These will maximise your networking opportunities.

When I first started out with my profile, I’d search for former colleagues on LinkedIn and invite them to connect with me. I did it a little every day and soon built a good network of connections.

Your connections do make a difference – you never know who could help you in the future or who you could help.

When you do invite people to connect, don’t send the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”.

Make it personal. Use their name and if you know them, add a personal note (“It was a pleasure to meet you at the conference last week. I’d love to add you to my professional network here on LinkedIn. I hope to hear from you. Kind Regards, Shanthi”).

We’re more likely to connect with people who took the time to personalise their invitation, aren’t we?

Step #9: Get and give recommendations/ endorsements

People who receive a lot of recommendations or testimonials are people who have given a lot so it’s worth spending time writing recommendations to help your fellow professionals or clients. Giving recommendations also establishes you as an authority.

Receiving recommendations makes a huge impact on your LinkedIn profile. If you know people would recommend you, ask them if they’d do it on LinkedIn. However, don’t use the LinkedIn feature. Ask in person or in writing.

When asking, ask your contact if they can specifically mention a skill or outline how you work as it’s better for a testimonial to say that you are efficient, reliable and cost-effective than that you were friendly or nice to work with.

Endorsements are the skills that LinkedIn suggests you have to your connections. These might not be things you actually want to be endorsed for.

Joanne Munro says: “It’s best to have a select skill set rather than a load of random ones as you might end up getting endorsed for things you don’t want to do any more and it can dilute your image. So make sure the skills are key things you want to be known for rather than that you’re good with Excel for example.” (Source: Joanne Munro )

Step #10: Network in LinkedIn Groups

Groups show up in your profile and demonstrate your interests. But apart from that, LinkedIn groups are a great way to meet people in your industry and have a meaningful conversation. 

These groups are a valuable resource, so use them! 

When you run into a problem you don’t know how to solve, find a group of similar professionals who’ve likely had a similar problem. Ask for help. And help others in return — they’ll remember the favour! Helping others through groups and discussion threads will also establish you as an authority in your field.

More to come: I will be writing more about how to write an outstanding summary and captivating headline in a future post. This will include using keywords so your profile and name show up top in a LinkedIn search.  So stay tuned.

Need to write or rebuild your LinkedIn Profile in English?

Would you like me to help you?

I offer a 1-1 4-week coaching programme tailored to your needs.

Why not drop me a line at shanthi@englishwithatwist.com to discuss your needs further?

If you think a colleague would find this post useful, please share it with them or on social media. After all, sharing is caring.

Ciao for now
Shanthi

Sources used for this article:

Telegraph Article

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