It still surprises me how many people have a very superficial LinkedIn Personal Profile.

The lack of a photograph, sketchy information and a brief one-line work history is unlikely to impress customers, prospects, business partners, or candidates if you’re recruiting.

On the other hand, a couple of hours spent updating your LinkedIn Personal Profile will pay dividends over the weeks, months and years. It will present you much more professionally, make you more findable, and be more engaging. Having a smart profile, and dressing for success online in LinkedIn probably has the most impact on results you achieve. As the saying goes;

Dress for Success Online. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Here is a quick run through of the ten steps to move from a minimal profile to a LinkedIn Personal Profile that will pay dividend and support your network building and lead generation activity in LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Personal Profile Checklist

Optimise your profile in these 10 areas so it’s professional, engaging and has social proof.

1. Photograph

Upload an image that makes you look friendly and approachable. It doesn’t need to be formal and stuffy, but it should project you as professional. You can add logos to it if you wish. A crisp, clear professional photograph is impressive, but a well composed one taken on a decent smartphone will do the job very well.

2. Headline

This is a really good opportunity to make a strong first impression by highlighting your value to customers and prospects. This is what you leave as your calling card when you comment in discussion groups and like other people’s comments, It’s what shows up in searches as well as when people visit your profile. Highlight your expertise and the customer benefits you deliver. Add your job title and company at the end. Include keywords that you want to be found for. You have about 60 characters so make full use of them.

3. Summary

This is your opportunity to shine, especially in the first 80-200 characters, for mobile and the new user interface. If you are in a sales role don’t focus on sales achievements. Focus instead on demonstrating your ability to add value to client businesses, along with evidence of business benefits achieved if possible. If you are the business owner provide a mix of personal and company messages, and highlight customer value, along with your ambition for your business and ways others might be able to help you, for example specific introductions you would value. Including some trigger events that typically start conversations between prospects and you will really make you stand out. Add Specialisations at the end as a way to include keywords.

4. Contact details

It may sound obvious but assuming you want to be contacted by potential customers take a moment to fill out your phone number and address. Make sure it’s your business email address showing and update your LinkedIn profile URL to remove the default numbers. Add your Twitter name, and update the website addresses, choosing the ‘Other’ option so you can update the text descriptions. You could even include a link to your email newsletter subscription page, for example, or your Slideshare or YouTube channel.

5. Current role

This is very prominent in the new User Interface so maximise the message here. Highlight 3-4 major achievements in your current role, along with the areas you are responsible for, or expertise that you possess. As a sales person or sales director, make it clear that your focus is on delivering customer benefits, not just in achieving your sales targets. As a business owner, paint a picture of your value and uniqueness to clients, as well as your roles and responsibilities for running your company. Avoid the temptation to cut and past the ‘About us’ section from your website here. Include evidence and social proof as well, to increase your credibility. Make sure to include keywords in the copy, and a ‘Specialisations’ section at the end.

6. Add video and multi-media

You have the opportunity to add visual media at the end of each section of your profile. If you have video or slide presentations they can be easily added here, as can documents that are hosted on the web. For lead generation, consider creating a short – 6-8 slides – on a topic that your prospects are concerned about, which you can help them with. Avoid selling a solution, but outline the main areas and issues that they should be considering. You can also add slides and video from other sources, so you can enhance your credibility on the back of material from trade associations, research companies, supplier, partners and so on.

7. Review and add skills around keywords

Being at the top of the LinkedIn search for the main fee earning or client solution skills is a great way to generate inbound inquiries. Expanding your skills section to 30, 40 or even 50 skills. Drag the THREE prime skills to the top of the list, via the 3 bars on the right. Then work them into the body copy of summary, experience sections, job titles and headline of your profile so you appear higher in the listing when people search for those skills. Done well and you may also appear toward the top of Google and search engine rankings too. Endorsements for skills are well worth giving and receiving.

Tip: The TOPIC area of LinkedIn is very useful for research.

Start  via the LinkedIn Topic Directory per letter – starting with A at

Change the last two phrases to your target skill eg.  (note the hyphen for 2 words eg /lead-generation/). You may get Topic not found – in which case try another phrase.

8. Join groups where your prospects are

Some people are reluctant to join groups, and others belong to college or former employer groups, and professional and trade groups. Useful though these are, the primary ones to focus on are those where your customers and prospects are more likely to be members.  Sharing news and updates with potential customers is far more worthwhile than reading and commenting on sales and marketing oriented groups, unless you’re looking to partner with them. Update the order of your groups within LinkedIn so the prospect oriented ones appear at the top of your Groups display list.

9. Give and request testimonials

The social proof value of customer endorsements can be very high. When they are given they are circulated around the contacts of both parties. Giving and receiving 10-20 testimonials will provide social proof that you are a generous giver and also that you have delivered value to clients too. For people in sales roles and business owners the value of testimonials from colleagues is limited. Giving testimonials for colleagues and suppliers is a positive move though.

10. Grow your network to 500+ contacts.

As a sales person, sales director or business owner there is much to be gained by getting through the 500 contacts level. This indicates that you take LinkedIn seriously, and it gives you a good reach when you share content as Status Updates. If the growth is with customers and prospects rather than colleagues and people who you are very unlikely to do business with your network becomes a very valuable resource for you.

When you’ve updated your profile LinkedIn will be able to make better suggestions to you about things you may find helpful.

Fast-track your way to an optimised LinkedIn Profile

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Writing our own profiles to an advanced level can be a real challenge.

  • many people struggle to make it client oriented – about them rather than about us
  • we may not recognise our own strengths and achievements
  • it can be difficult to put across our experience to make a strong impression
  • and there are many nuances in the technical settings in LinkedIn


Don’t be one of the many who puts off the task of creating a professional, engaging and optimised LinkedIn Personal Profile.

Get a far better result, in far less time, and much more quickly, by booking a professional LinkedIn Personal Profile Rewrite today.

This is tailored to particular roles, such as Consultant, Business Owner, Sales Leader, Business Leader and Management Teams.

We send out a background form, interview you by phone, submit draft text for review and then post the changes live when you’re happy.

Costs for our LinkedIn Profile Rewrite start from £295.

[highlight]Get a professional LinkedIn Profile for less than the cost of a business outfit – suit/jacket & trousers, shoes and accessories.

If you’re interested in a clearer positioning with an optimized LinkedIn Personal Profile for lead generation and sales then let’s have an introductory chat. Schedule a time to suit you below.

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I look forward to talking with you very soon.