Since you’re reading this, you probably don’t love networking and are wondering what the hype…
This is the second part of my LinkedIn blog miniseries. As I did for part 1, I’ve also included a brief companion YouTube video with this post, in which I cover what’s known as “above-the-fold” LinkedIn content and share helpful tools I use, so you know how to handle it step by step.
In a recent post on updating your LinkedIn profile, I discussed the importance of having killer above-the-fold LinkedIn content. As I mentioned there, the term “above-the-fold” has historically been used to refer to information on the first page of a newspaper that’s above the fold; it’s the most important information that you don’t want anyone to miss.
The content at the beginning of your LinkedIn profile is similar. It should captivate your reader and compel them to keep reading. Here’s a step-by-step process to help you achieve this.
8 Steps to Create a Killer Above-The-Fold LinkedIn Content
Step 1: Create and upload a custom banner.
The LinkedIn banner is the horizontal background image that appears with your profile photo. You can upload a custom LinkedIn banner that supports your professional brand. Whether you’re a Chief Medical Officer, a property manager, or a scientist who studies kelp (real example of a former client), showcase that in your choice of banner. Use this space to help people understand who you are and the value you bring. You can upload a picture or use a design tool like Canva to create a graphic. Bottom line: You want something other than LinkedIn’s default background banner.
Step 2: Assess your profile photo.
Consider who you want people to see when they look at your profile photo. A 10-year-old photo of you, or a recent photo that accurately shows what you look like? In addition to keeping your photo updated, make sure you look approachable. Who looks more inviting to contact—a person who isn’t smiling and looks stern, or a person whose genuine smile touches their entire expression? Remember, LinkedIn is a professional networking tool, so looking friendly is important.
Step 3: Craft a catchy headline.
The headline is the text (up to 220 characters) that appears immediately below your name. There are several approaches to using this space effectively. Four examples are below; choose which one feels right for you, while keeping in mind that this is an important place to incorporate relevant keywords.
- Option 1 – Use LinkedIn’s default option of showcasing your job title and employer. This option tends to work well for people who have a coveted job title at a well-regarded employer. With this approach, you can also use the extra character count to add additional keywords that speak to your expertise.
- Option 2 – State your professional identity, include a range of keywords, and highlight the value you bring. For a sales professional, this might be something like: “Global Sales Executive leading high-performing teams and delivering record-setting sales | EdTech | Healthcare | IT.” A teacher might choose something like the following: “K-12 Teacher shaping the lives of tomorrow’s leaders | National Board Certified | Math | Science | Bilingual: Spanish/English | Inclusion & Equity Advocate.”
- Option 3 – State your mission. For years, I used my business’s tagline. Another headline for a safety professional could be “Helping manufacturing facilities comply with federal safety requirements | Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries by preventing disasters.”
- Option 4 – Make an elevator pitch. People who are self-employed or business owners might use this space to highlight their value and solution they offer. For instance, “Are you struggling to reduce employee turnover? Build a healthy, engaged workforce | Owner of HR Solutions | DM me today or call 555.555.5555.”
Step 4: Update your contact information.
Review your contact information and make sure it is current. As I’ve written before, many people forget to update their contact information (email addresses, websites, social media handles) and then are surprised later when they find it is not current.
Step 5: Record your name pronunciation.
Did you know you can record a 10-second welcome message on your profile? Using the LinkedIn app, you can state your name and welcome the person to your profile. People will know the proper way to say your name and you will start building rapport with them by sounding friendly and enthusiastic. Note: As of this writing, you can only record your name using the LinkedIn app.
Step 6: Add your pronouns.
LinkedIn offers the option to include your preferred pronouns.
Step 7: Review your geographic location.
Review this information and update it as necessary. More than once, I’ve worked with clients who had forgotten to update their information after relocating.
Step 8: Set your “open to” option.
Read the “open to” section and fill it out as it applies to you. You can set up job alerts to keep you informed about opportunities, and you can also showcase whether you are hiring or providing services.
This detailed plan will help you craft killer above-the-fold LinkedIn content, which is crucial to an effective profile. This is where first impressions are made. What does your profile say about you?