Marben Bland

Speaker WriterStrategist

  7 Steps to A Great LinkedIn Profile 

1. Great Picture

SmilingWoman The first impression anyone searching for a LinkedIn profile gets is from the photo that pops up with your profile headline. Make sure it's a recent photo. Make sure it looks professional. That photo your frat brother took of you from the tailgating party last fall is awesome, but not for LinkedIn.

Related: Your Profile Picture

2. Great Headline

Truman Most folks think your profile headline has to be your job title. That's not necessarily true. Ivey suggests you treat it like a headline, just like LinkedIn calls it. Can you get your elevator pitch down to eight words? If so, then you have your new LinkedIn profile headline. Instead of "East Coast Sales Manager," there's nothing wrong with "IT Solutions Provider/Cloud Computing Expert" or "Assists Fortune 500 Companies with IT Solutions" as long as it's a true statement.

Related Your Professional Headline

3. A Great Story

You have your headline, now tell the story behind it. If you can't boast about yourself, who will, right? But you don't want to come off like a chest-pounder. Just state the facts clearly and concisely like a good news story. Include the Who, What, Where, When, and, most importantly, How. If you want to stand out, don't simply list your job description. Make it compelling, yet truthful. Make me want to network with you or hire you.

4. Use LinkedIn to become a Great Networker

Jeff LinkedIn If you're a networker, then write your summary and job descriptions like a networker. If you're looking for a job, then write your summary and job descriptions for potential employers. You can't have it both ways.

Related: How to use LinkedIn to Build A Great Network

5. Know the Great Keywords for Your Profession

Keywords are the fuel for any search that you expect to go the distance. Ivey deals with folks in the IT world, so terms like cloud computing, cybersecurity, malware, and virtualization show up often. Make sure you know the keywords in your industry, and make sure they appear in your summary and job descriptions. If that doesn't help your Google search, at the least it will improve your LinkedIn search results. Last year, there were 2 billion LinkedIn people searches. If you haven't updated your profile with keywords lately, now seems to be a perfect time.

6. Great Updates

LinkedIn instituted a personal update feed similar to Facebook and Twitter feeds. The LinkedIn personal update feed appears when folks first log in to LinkedIn, so make it good. One thing Ivey loves about the LinkedIn personal update is that when someone comments on it or "likes" it, the update appears at the top of the feed again, even if it's days old. That's another reason to make it good. Your LinkedIn personal update could be as simple as a piece of advice or a question of folks in your industry. If you really want to keep it simple, just say what you're doing, like "Preparing my presentation for next week's event in Orlando" or "Looking forward to meeting with Soandso Inc today." You'll be surprised how often folks will comment on your updates, especially if you travel to their city or mention their company.

7. Great Content

LinkedIn has become a powerhouse for great professional content. Thought leaders like Sir Richard Branson, T. Boom Pickens and Bill Gates have all shared their blogs with the professionals on LinkedIn. A survey from the University Texas Center for New Media reveals that LinkedIn has emerged as one of the top web sites for relevant content that can help us in our professional lives. Start sharing and producing content for your contacts on LinkedIn.



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Marben Bland
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Marben Bland is a Writer, Speaker and Strategist focused on working with emerging biotech and high tech companies. Comment on this post at

He writes the weekly How to be a LinkedIn Ninja blog and is a popular speaker at trade shows and seminars. Call Marben today at 608.358.1309 to have him train your company or speak at your next event.


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