They say nothing comes easy, but here’s an exception: Your LinkedIn profile should be bringing you job leads and recruiter connections without you having to lift a finger. The key is to create a LinkedIn presence that is interesting, engaging and really sells you as a professional copywriter. How? Read on, my friend, read on…
Today’s question comes from Rhonda P. who asks, “I have a LinkedIn profile, but I kind of just pasted my resume in there. What should I do to make it better?”
Great question, Rhonda! And great news: It doesn’t really take that much work to ramp up your profile and make it work hard for you. Here are six little steps to take that will yield you huge returns:
1. Put your URL in your title. Like any website, LinkedIn is constantly making tweaks and changes to improve itself and improve its member experience. Unfortunately, though, sometimes important features get lost in the shuffle. Case in point: Your website URL.
It used to be that LinkedIn included links to any websites in a special section—including, most importantly, a link to your online portfolio. Well, this appears to be one of the features that was unceremoniously dropped. What this means for you is that if you were relying on that section to let people reach your portfolio site, viewers of your profile no longer see it.
This is a fix you need to take care of ASAP; if people can’t see your portfolio, there’s a significantly lower chance of them contacting you for work. Luckily, though, it’s a simple fix: Just put your URL in your title. You could delineate it with a comma “Copywriter, www.YourSiteURL.com” or some other design method, but putting it in your title puts your URL front and center—exactly where you need it to be.
2. Create a gallery. In a move to stay competitive with sites like creativehotlist.com and behance.com, LinkedIn recently added new gallery to profiles—and this is perfect for creatives like us.
Use the gallery on your profile to highlight 3-4 of your very best copywriting pieces to whet the viewers appetite. However, since you don’t want to be constantly updating this profile and your online portfolio, include an image at the end that says something along the lines of “View more of my copywriting work at www.YourSiteURL.com”. This lets the viewer know that you’ve got more to show and it’s one more opportunity to direct them to your site.
3. Include your USP and your personality. As you know, your USP (or Unique Selling Proposition) is crucial to helping you sell yourself as a copywriter and differentiating yourself from your competition. At the same time, you also want to give the reader a feel for your personality and what style of professional you are.
The very best place to get these elements across on your LinkedIn profile is in your summary section. This should be the place that the reader can get a quick hit of what makes you who you are and what makes you a compelling job candidate. Chief among these, of course, are your USP and your personality.
And you’re a copywriter, so this section has to be really, really good. Make it interesting, make it easy to read and make it enjoyable to read. This is the place to prove to your profile visitor that you can sell anything—including yourself.
4. Upload a picture. I’m still surprised at how many people don’t have pictures on their profiles. Sure, it can be a little odd to make your picture available to hundreds of thousands of strangers but there’s a simple fact at play here: Humans are visual creatures. They want to know what they’re going to get.
People want to see your picture to help them get a feel for you as a professional. Sure, it’s not very valid, but if a recruiter feels more comfortable getting in touch with a smiling face than not, why bother arguing? You don’t need a headshot from a pro photographer, you just need to look like a nice, friendly professional.
This has nothing to do with gender, age, attractiveness or anything else like that—people just naturally want to see what people look like and are more apt to trust you if you’ve uploaded a photo. There’s no point it fighting it; just pick a pic and upload it.
5. Post your email address. Right now, unless a potential contact has LinkedIn’s InMail fee-based InMail service, they can’t contact you through the site. Which is a problem, of course, because you want people who want to give you work to be able to get in touch with you.
If you’re comfortable doing it, post your email address along with an invitation to contact you at the end of your summary. If someone wants to discuss working with your after just reading your summary, you don’t want them to have to have to take any extra steps to do it. Yes, they can reach you once they click through to your portfolio site, but don’t make them take those extra steps. Give them your contact info and a call to action right away.
If you’re concerned about putting your regular email address up, you could always create a free account that you use only for LinkedIn—just be sure to check it daily. Sometimes work goes to the fastest responder!
6. Get testimonials. Nothing sells any product better than social proof—after all, that’s why sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Angie’s List are so popular! So get in on the trend and get some social proof for yourself.
All you have to do to get recommendations is to draft a simple letter you can have at the ready to send out after you’ve completed work for a company. It could be as simple as, “Hi NAME, I really enjoyed my time at COMPANY and I hope that the work I contributed continues to help. If you wouldn’t mind, would you be willing to write me a short recommendation on LinkedIn? You could upload it right here [include link]. It’s completely at your discretion, of course, but I’d appreciate any insight you can offer. Thank you!”
You can expect that some people will forget to write one or just generally don’t offer recommendations, so be sure to send out these emails to a couple of people at the company. Obviously, they need to be with people you directly worked with, but it’s a good rule to send a request to a direct supervisor, a coworker and a design partner. Combinations of testimonials from these three groups help to show how valuable you are to all members of a team.
Okay, if we’re going to be honest here, I actually just thought of a seventh important element, but didn’t want to go back and change the page title and URL. So, in this case, bonus/laziness, tomato/to-mah-to.
Anyway, this is one element you absolutely need to incorporate into how you use LinkedIn: You must change the auto-invite copy in your connection invitations. You’re a copywriter! If you don’t bother changing “I’d like to add you to my professional network” to something more compelling, how can anyone trust you to write great copy?
Be careful though—LinkedIn has set it up so that some kinds of invitations allow you to change it and some automatically send their copy. Currently, clicking on “Connect” below a title in the “People You May Know” right hand module on your profile page lets you change the copy, but clicking on it from the “People You May Know” page doesn’t give you that option if you click on it—you have to select “Add a personal message”.
Your turn! What have you done to optimize your LinkedIn presence? Let us know in the comments below!