Now that your first impression is likely to be delivered online, you need to focus your attention on your LinkedIn profile. That’s because it’s the place people will go to learn about you when they’re checking you out in a professional capacity. And that’s great news. It means you don’t have to Tweet like Kim Kardashian and publish YouTube videos like Justin Bieber to influence those you seek to impress. By focusing on just one social platform— LinkedIn—you can deliver a powerful, authentic and differentiated first impression. A compelling profile sits at the intersection of likability and credibility. In this previous post, I shared ideas for upping your likability on LinkedIn. In this article, I focus on the things you need to do to make sure your profile exudes authentic credibility. Here are the five areas to pursue:
1. Are you professional?
Nothing screams “unprofessional” like a profile that’s not complete or is riddled with typos and grammatical errors. Your credibility wanes the second people spot that first glaring typo which screams “this person does not possess the brand attribute “attention to detail.” And a profile that’s not complete or is out-of-date says that you aren’t taking your career seriously. To make sure your profile looks professional, check it several times or have a professional copy editor look at it. You can find inexpensive copy editors on sites like Upwork. In addition, make sure your prose is properly formatted and has the right amount of white space (in your About, for example) so it makes it easy for the reader to consume. And lastly, take the time to complete all relevant sections of your profile. It’s an investment that will pay off.
3. Are you an expert?
One way to show people you are a leader in your field is to be clear about your expertise. That means not trying to touch all bases—that makes you a jack of all trades but an expert in none. Make it crystal clear in your profile what your expertise is. Make sure your top three endorsements are for the skills for which you want to be known. Also include all relevant details in the Experience section of your profile to reinforce your expertise—using all the right keywords that will reinforce your domain. Don’t just make a generic one-sentence statement. Be specific. And use the Accomplishments zone (certifications, courses, awards, projects, publications) to highlight those activities that feature your expertise.