A guide on how to ‘rock' your LinkedIn profile

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LinkedIn calls the 675 million users, 50 million companies and 90,000 schools registered on its site ‘a map of the real life global workforce’. 

We’d call it ‘reasons why you can’t not have a LinkedIn profile’.

Everybody from a junior professional to a high flying CFO can benefit from a LinkedIn profile, whether to find a new job or market a business, recruit the next finance whiz or meet other professionals.

But what’s worse than not having a LinkedIn profile? Having a bad LinkedIn profile.

So here’s our guide, with a little stat-based support from LinkedIn, to creating the perfect LinkedIn profile, or in other words, telling your professional story.

1) Your photo

If you have a corporate shot from your company, use that, if not, just a nice photo of your face or head and shoulders. Try to avoid anything silly or a photo from a friend’s birthday party – keep it simple.

LinkedIn says

Members with a photo get up to:

  • 9x more connection requests
  • 21x more profile views
  • 36x more messages

2) Your industry

Let people know the sector or industry in which you work or have the most experience, eg aerospace, food & drink, banking, NGOs, government or financial services, and so on.

LinkedIn says:

  • Members with industry information receive up to 9x more profile views
  • More than 300,000 people search by industry on LinkedIn every week

3) A compelling summary

This is your ‘elevator pitch’, your chance to succinctly sell yourself to the world. Focus on career accomplishments, core skills, areas of expertise and aspirations.

LinkedIn says:

  • No fewer than 40 words makes a good summary (but also don’t write an essay, so ACCA Careers recommends 100-200 words)

4) Detail your work experience

One of the great things about a LinkedIn profile is that you can go into more detail and provide more evidence and context than you can in a CV. Again, don’t write an essay, but clearly describe your current and previous roles, including key responsibilities and accomplishments – and if you saved or made a company money, say how much – potential employers love to see evidence.

LinkedIn says:

Members with up-to-date positions receive up to:

  • 5x more connection requests
  • 8x more profile views
  • 10x more messages

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5) Include examples of your work

By uploading photos, presentations, videos, projects and publications you give a dynamic, visually appealing representation of your professional story. It also makes your profile look fantastic!

6) Education

Add all your qualifications, this can include degrees and professional certificates, such as ACCA. Tell people where you achieved them, which schools or universities, this can help you connect with alumni who might make useful professional connections.

7) Awards

Include any professional awards you’ve won, such as skills medals from your employer, or industry awards you might have won individually or as part of a team.

8) Volunteer experience

Any kind of volunteer experience you’ve done, whether it’s for a local or national charity in whatever capacity (it doesn’t have to relate to your profession) looks great to employers and potential connections. It’s a way to show a bit of your personality.

LinkedIn says:

  • Members who add volunteer experience and causes get up to 6x more profile views than those without

9) Add skills, get endorsed

List all your skills and add them to your profile. Then ask people who can verify that you have these skills, such as colleagues, clients, university friends and other professional connections, to endorse you. It shows that your skills are real.

LinkedIn says:

  • Members who add 5 or more skills receive up to 17x more profile views

10) Recommendations

Now, once your profile is looking shiny and complete, it’s time to start really engaging people on LinkedIn. A great way to do this is by asking acquaintances for written recommendations. Approach people who you have good professional relationships with. Especially powerful recommendations come from bosses and clients, but teammates too can provide an honest recommendation and validation of your skills and qualities.

The power of networking

As you use LinkedIn more often to make connections and engage with people, the site gets to know you better and gradually starts showing you more relevant people and content. So connect with friends and family, current and former colleagues, managers and alumni.

Try also to strategically target people, such as those you have something in common with, who work in roles, sectors or at companies you’re interested in, and who may be able to connect you with people who can help you achieve your career goals.

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