Some people think it’s only important to have a solid LinkedIn profile if you’re searching for a job, but the social channel can be very valuable for your personal brand. Even if you’re happy with your current job, people are going to find you on LinkedIn. When I search “Andy Morris Hook & Blade,” my LinkedIn profile is one of the first few search results.

If you’re in a business development role or position where you’ll interact with individuals from different companies, people are likely to search about you to see who they are talking to. Here are five tips for presenting yourself in the best possible fashion on LinkedIn:

Customize your profile URL

One of the first things you should do (and possibly the easiest) is claim your custom URL for your profile. Creating a custom URL will make it easier to share and include in your e-mail signature and other social media channels. The ideal URL would be linkedin.com/in/yourfullname. This could also help your personal branding and help you show up easier in search engines for people looking for you.

Click here for a good how-to on creating your custom URL.

Choose Quality, Professional Photos

Your LinkedIn profile isn’t the same thing as your Facebook profile. A professionally done headshot works best for this social media channel. If you don’t have one of those, select a recent photo that clearly shows your face. Don’t zoom in on a group shot of you and your friends either. It’s 2015. It’s not difficult to find someone to take a photo of you. For some good laughs, take a look at this post of the 10 worst type of LinkedIn profile photos.

LinkedIn also allows you to post a cover photo. In my opinion, the guidelines for this photo are bit more open-ended. You can create an image that highlights one of your skills (public speaking or photography, for example) or something that relates to one of your hobbies. For my cover photo, I chose to use a panoramic shot of Anfield because I’m a Liverpool FC fan and I enjoy traveling.

Detail Matters

You’ve accomplished a lot in your career. Don’t sell yourself short in your LinkedIn profile. Take the time to explain your achievements in the experience section.

If you’re planning on making a lot of changes to your profile at once, turn off the Activity broadcast feature so your connections don’t get notified for every change you make. You can do this by visiting “Settings” and “Privacy Controls.” Once you make your changes, you can choose to turn it back on.

Optimize Your Profile with Keywords

This is a tip that can make a big difference in being found on LinkedIn. Every company uses different job titles so it’s common for people in the same industry to have completely different job titles, but do the same tasks. Think about the keywords that describe what you do instead of your actual title. If you’re an Account Manager at a digital agency, consider making your headline something like “Digital Marketing | SEO | PPC.”  Be sure to use those keywords throughout your experience section as well.

Take Advantage of the Summary Section

Don’t discount the summary section of the LinkedIn profile. This is your elevator pitch about yourself and usually the first thing people will read when they get to your profile. You’ve got 2,000 characters to tell your story, so why not use them?

Think about the audience you’re speaking to when you’re drafting your summary. Consider these important questions:

-What do you do?
-Why should they hire you or work with you?
-What you want them to do?

Write a draft of your summary and have a few of your peers read over it to make sure you’re conveying the message you want. I’d recommend spending the most time on this piece of your profile. A well-written LinkedIn summary will make people want to connect with you.

Bonus Tip: Publish on LinkedIn to Share your Expertise

LinkedIn’s publishing feature gives you the opportunity to enhance your personal brand with thought leadership content. Think about helpful topics related to your industry and create some content to share with your connections. You don’t need to write a novel. 500 words of solid content is enough to keep you top of mind with your network.

If you’d like more advanced training on how you can use LinkedIn as a sales tool for yourself and your team, we’re happy to schedule a session. If you’re interested in content development for thought leadership, we’re also glad to help. Contact us today.