A young woman with light brown shoulder-length hair sits at a wood-topped table in front of an open laptop. She uses one hand to operate the trackpad on the laptop's keyboard and holds a pair of glasses with her other hand, which is raised to her chin in a thoughtful gesture. Behind the woman are floor-to-ceiling windows, partially obscured by sheer white curtains.
When filling out the About section on your LinkedIn profile, make sure to go beyond listing your skills and qualifications. Tell a story about yourself and your work experience. — Getty Images/Pinkypills

LinkedIn is invaluable for entrepreneurs, providing access to a network of professionals and potential clients. Your LinkedIn profile showcases your work and talents while building your credibility as an industry leader. However, poorly crafted summaries, incomplete profiles, and low-quality images can affect your reach.

Make LinkedIn work for you by updating and optimizing your profile. You can turn a good page into a stellar one with a few tweaks. Use these tips to increase your visibility and memorability while distinguishing yourself from competitors.

Understand your target audience and goals

LinkedIn has over 850 million members, and it’s impossible to appeal to everyone. Instead, focus on your target audience and LinkedIn objectives. First, think about your main reason for using LinkedIn. Do you want to connect emotionally with current and future customers (relationship building)? Or do you want to drive traffic to your portfolio or e-commerce website? Alternatively, you may want to expand your network to include other entrepreneurs in your industry.

Next, consider the attributes that make up your target audience, such as:

  • Geographic region.
  • Company size.
  • Number of employees.
  • Seniority level.
  • Industry.
  • Specific job titles or skills.

Lastly, learn why and how your ideal audience uses LinkedIn. Are they hunting for a new job or wanting to improve their current skills? What challenges do they face, and how can you help them? Use this information to tailor your profile content to your target market.

[Read more: The 6 Elements of a Successful Personal Brand]

Start with a compelling headline

Your LinkedIn headline is crucial for highlighting your role and industry while differentiating your services. Indeed, 46% of respondents to a LinkedIn poll by career coach Bob McIntosh chose the headline as the most important part of a profile. A headline can have 220 characters on a desktop and impacts search engine optimization (SEO).

Edit your headline to include:

  • Your current job title.
  • Job roles or positions your audience searches for.
  • Your industry, niche, or area of expertise.

Also, consider describing your value proposition. While it may not improve SEO, it can spice up your headline and grab attention. Conversely, you can add your value statement to the beginning of your summary. Avoid using slash marks between words, such as “Freelancer/Entrepreneur,” as search engines view this as one word. Instead, use “Freelancer / Entrepreneur” or “Freelancer | Entrepreneur.”

Your LinkedIn headline is crucial for highlighting your role and industry while differentiating your services.

Write a narrative-driven LinkedIn profile summary

The LinkedIn summary, now titled “About,” is like a digital elevator pitch. Profile viewers will see the first two to four sentences (around 300 characters) and can click to see your whole About section (up to 2,600 characters). HubSpot recommends outlining your summary to improve readability and cohesiveness. Also, use storytelling techniques to increase credibility, engagement, and memorability. Check out compelling CEO profiles or entrepreneurs in your niche to see what you’re up against.

Your LinkedIn summary should:

  • Be easy to read with minimal jargon.
  • Use quantitative data to back up your story.
  • Mention well-known clients.
  • Reference industry expertise and skills.
  • Have a call-to-action (CTA).
  • Include SEO terms.

Design your services page

Over the years, LinkedIn has added many informational components to profiles, including a services page for entrepreneurs. The “Providing Services” callout box is located under your headline. Potential clients can learn about your services and request your assistance. Also, former customers can leave a review. You can add up to 10 services, eight media formats, and 500 characters to the About section.

[Read more: Understanding LinkedIn Stats and How to Measure Success]

Fill out your LinkedIn profile completely

Go through your LinkedIn profile, starting at the top, and complete all relevant sections. For starters, click on the writing tool icon at your profile's top right. You can add more than a dozen sections like education, recommendations, publications, and skills here. Use the work experience section to back up your headline and summary.

Don’t forget to upload a professional headshot for your profile photo and background image. The profile photo should focus on your smiling face, whereas the banner can highlight your industry, interests, or personality.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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