900M members in 200 countries and regions worldwide

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Why LinkedIn?

Building a LinkedIn profile is vital for any professional individual or business. Online presence is becoming increasingly essential to provide credibility. LinkedIn is a unique professional social media networking platform with over 900 million users worldwide. This network aids companies in generating sales leads in a short amount of time, especially in B2B. Here at NextLevel Thinking, we recommend LinkedIn because any time you meet a new prospect or connection in business, they are likely to look up your personal page or company page. Be sure to follow this guide to represent yourself well and maximize your opportunities. Whether you are starting from scratch or you already have a profile, we have everything you will need to get started.

If You Are An Employee

When starting from scratch, the first thing to do is set up an account and create a profile.

Your profile should act as a one-stop shop that describes who you are, what you have done, and what you are doing currently. The more filled out it is, the more official you will look. If you already have a profile with the information filled out, watch the video below to see if you’re making any mistakes.

How to Make a Great LinkedIn Profile - TIPS + EXAMPLES

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Steps to Set Up Your Personal Profile Page

Step 1: Upload a Professional Headshot

Check out 0:29-1:53 of the video. You want this photo to be professional. Avoid using images that are outdated, crop someone out, selfies, or taken in other unprofessional settings. For even more tips, read this LinkedIn article. If you want to see what impressions your photo has on others, you can use this website

Step 2: Upload a Background Banner Photo

Inquire if your employer has a branded banner. As an NLT client, we will provide one for you! Check out 3:17-3:58 of the video. LinkedIn recommends banners with the dimension 1584 x 396 pixels. Avoid generic photos that don’t say much about who you are and what you do.

Step 3: Create a Headline

This is your personal, professional mission statement or one that aligns with your employer’s tagline. One LinkedIn article recommends adding elements of applicable keywords, your unique value proposition, strong adjectives, specific statements, and some appropriate creativity. Check out 5:43-6:12 of this video. You may start with your job title, but be sure to add some specific skills and abilities that you pride yourself on.

Step 4: Customize Your LinkedIn Profile URL

Rather than have random numbers and letters, you can customize your URL with your name to help brand yourself better. For more help, check out this article.

To do this, ensure you are signed in and have navigated to your profile page. Find the following box in the top right corner and click “edit public profile & URL.”

It will open up a box where you can change the end of the URL that opens your profile. We recommend putting your first name, dash, and your last name. If necessary, add another dash and a number if the URL is already in use.

Step 5: Optimize Your Profile By Completing Every Section

There are many sections and subsections that make up your About section.

Click the dropdown arrows below to learn more about each section.

In a few concise sentences, describe who you are currently and how you see yourself professionally. Many advise avoiding the overuse of “I” in this section; some profiles use the third person. Remember, this section is about you, not just what you do in your job. It should provide an overview of your entire profile. We have included some examples within our network with good About sections: 

Justin Garner (Engineering Industry)

Sheryl Lyons (HR & Coaching Industry)

Eric Poerschke (Marketing Industry)

Add all current jobs, past jobs, and internships you have ever held. Provide additional information about what you did during your time. Check out this LinkedIn article for more helpful tips.

Add your educational history, providing information on duration, location, activities, and societies you were involved in. There are additional sections for a description, skills, and media. We recommend adding these sections for higher forms of education where they may be more prominent.

Add any relevant industry certifications you have. All you need is the name of the certification and the name of the issuing company. Add the date of issue and expiration date if possible.

Add the top soft skills and hard skills that best describe you. Hard skills relate to industry and job-relevant knowledge, while soft skills are personal qualities that help you thrive in the workplace. These skills should be the ones you know to be sought after in your industry. You can connect these skills to specific experiences that you have listed. You can also ask colleagues or other connections to endorse your skills.

Add any honors, awards, or accolades you have received. If you do not have any achievements worth mentioning, you can leave this section out.

Add influencers or businesses that interest you. The people, companies, and schools you follow will be public for profile visitors to see. Be sure to follow pages that best reflect your interests

Engaging on LinkedIn

Step 6: Best Posting Practices

Post consistently about your work, the company you work for, and the industry you work in. Connect with people you work with to stay up-to-date on industry trends, news, and updates. Repost content with your take or opinion to become a thought leader for your industry. Check out this LinkedIn article for more advice on what to post.

For more ways to engage on your personal LinkedIn profile, check out our engaging page.

Check out our other LinkedIn training pages to learn more:

Eric Poerschke

In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a psychologist!

What’s the most inspiring part of your job?

My absolute best days are when we’re able to help a client see their business differently. It’s usually at this point when things begin to take off and the effectiveness of what we can do for them begins to be realized both internally and externally in a very powerful way.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is don’t get too high on the highs and too low on the lows. This advice was from my high school basketball coach.
If you could possess one super-human power, what would it be?

I think it would be so cool to be able to fly. The different vantage points would be amazing and the ability to get places quickly would be awesome.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a young fella, I probably wanted to be the usual things like a policeman, fireman, etc. But from high school on, I have always wanted to own my own business. In graduate school, my buddies were sure that I would make a living helping people/organizations see things from a different perspective. They were right!

What advice would you give a candidate who wants to join our team of superstars?

Be prepared to deliver absolute excellence, while being part of a very caring, results-oriented, drama-free work environment.

What one food do you wish had zero calories?

There are a whole bunch of food categories that I wish had zero calories. If I had to pick one, it would definitely be tortilla chips with guacamole, chili con queso and/or salsa.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My favorite thing to do, by far, is to hang out with my family…Tracy, Erin, Trey and Kyle. My peeps!

Which of the three NextLevel Thinking core values resonates the most with you?

I think giving the client what they need, not just what they want really defines NextLevel Thinking. We have seen some extraordinary results from those clients that have really embraced this collaborative approach.