It’s a common misconception that LinkedIn is just for job seekers and recruiters. The reality is that, as a business owner, LinkedIn can also be a powerful marketing, business development and talent acquisition tool.
Globalisation has given us access to skills and talent all around the world that we previously would not have been able to connect to. Engineers are no longer limited to geographical boundaries when it comes to pitching for projects or engaging other external stakeholders. This is where a strong online presence - including a well-presented LinkedIn profile - is really important.
To get maximum value out of LinkedIn, simply having a profile is not enough. Part 1 of my 2-part LinkedIn series for engineers details my top tips for building an optimised profile. Part 2 will look at how you can use it effectively for maximum benefit to your business.
Ready? Pull up your LinkedIn profile and follow these steps to creating a compelling LinkedIn profile:
1. Select keywords for your profile
First of all, think about who your ideal client is and what kind of things they may be searching for. What problems are they trying to solve or what kind of business suits their needs? Note them down. These are the words that you should focus on including in each section of your profile.
2. Make sure your profile is completely complete!
If you do an online search for a professional associate of yours, their LinkedIn profile is likely one of the first things that appears in search results. What kind of message are you presenting to potential clients or project partners who are searching for information on you? Ensure all relevant sections of your profile are completed and up-to-date:
- A professional snap: Ensure you have a recent photo that presents you in a professional way. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a professionally taken photo, but it should be a headshot so your face is clearly visible. Put it this way: if someone saw you at an event or meeting, would they recognise you from your photo? Try to avoid a party snap from your university days, a grainy vacation shot or one where you’ve cut others out.
- Headlines matter: Your position description is one of the first things that people will see about you on your profile, so get creative with your headline. You are not limited to just one position; “Engineer” is not going to cut it - there are so many engineers out there, how are you going to stand out?
Keywords matter here too, so try and use as many of your keywords that relate to you or your engineering business as possible. You will make it super easy for people searching for your services to find you.
For example, my headline is: ‘Copywriter | Content Creator | Web Content Editor | Online Marketing Content Writer’
Customise your URL: You’ll likely have a default URL that includes your name and a series of numbers or letters. You can customise this to make it easier for people to find you. Ideally it should be your first and last name, but if that’s already taken include something appropriate. For example, my URL is: linkedin.com/in/monicashepherdnzChanging your URL is easy: simply click on ‘edit profile’ on your profile page then look for the grey box beneath your profile picture. Here you will see the link for your LinkedIn URL with an ‘edit’ button. Click the edit button and amend your URL as desired.
I suggest making your profile visible to anyone. This is a professional site so you don’t need to include personal details, and you have a choice on who you wish to connect with.
- Summarise your story: Your summary should include a compelling outline of your career, professional motivations, achievements and skills. This is your time to shine! It must grab a reader’s attention so that they continue to read the rest of your profile. It should come across as a genuine representation of you, but don’t be shy about bragging a little bit here.
Make mention of:
- What you love about your business or your current role
- What makes you unique
- What motivates you in business
- Clients you love to work with
- Employees you love to work with
- An outline of the services you provide
Always talk in first person here, and don’t just fill this section with boring details like your education or employment history. This is about you and your contribution to the industry. Don’t forget you can also add media in this section - such as a link to your website, blog, video or a publication you are featured in.
Experience: Please do not simply cut and paste your resume into this section on your profile. Use these entries to present a strong picture of your skills and achievements.
- You can keep these sections fairly brief, but again always use first person and make it easy for a reader to quickly scan the content - making use of bullet points is helpful here.
- Include your keywords in the position title and in the skills/services that were core to this role.
- Again you can add multimedia to these sections where relevant.
List all your skills: Include a list of all the skills that are relevant to your career. Your connections can also suggest skills for you, but if you don’t want them to appear on your profile then don’t accept them. Your connections can provide an endorsement that can be seen alongside each skill, that looks something like this:
Elaborate on your education: As an engineer, there are likely to be many courses, certifications, specialised training courses, workshops and industry qualifications that you have achieved over and above your tertiary study. List all of your academic achievements as well as all additional education you have pursued throughout your career.
Include your interests: Give some insight into the type of person you are outside of your professional interests. You’ll be surprised how many people may connect with you for a project because they can start a discussion based on a common interest.
Advice for contacting you: Be specific about who you want to contact you and for what reason. Are you seeking enquiries from a certain type of business? Do you want to connect with others in a specific industry or area? Are you looking for new employees to fill particular roles? Include details about the best way to make contact with you.
3. Yes, all those extras are important!
- Projects - I think this is a particularly important section for engineers as it gives you a chance to showcase the depth and range of your company’s skills.
- Publications - list any articles, blog posts, white papers or presentations that you have written or been interviewed for.
- Organisation memberships - listing professional memberships adds credibility to your image.
Once you’ve optimised your own profile page you will be ready to start building connections, leveraging your networks, strengthening your business profile and seeking out recruitment options - we’ll discuss that in Part 2 so keep an eye on the blog for the next installment.
Was this post helpful for getting your LinkedIn profile complete? Don’t forget to share it with your colleagues if they need a little nudge in the right direction!