5 Steps to set up your LinkedIn Profile

Many professionals turn to LinkedIn to connect with other professionals, engage in thought leadership and meet potential clients. LinkedIn can be an outstanding source of information, networking connections and business referrals. It can also be a way to increase awareness of your firm and grow your business.

There are ways to set up your LinkedIn profile so you can be found in more searches, which further increases your reach. Here are some tips to setting up a professional LinkedIn profile that will attract your target clients.

Change your URL

LinkedIn URLs automatically come with a combination of your name plus some numbers. So your profile URL might be JaneSmith4033121. Your URL is actually searchable, and you want it to be something memorable so it’s easy to share. Choose a URL that includes your name or your business name, your speciality and an identifying feature (such as location, niche, or special service). Separate all the words by a hyphen so they can be read as different words by the search engines.

For example, you could use Jane-Smith-Toronto-Accountant or Jane-Smith-accounting-for-doctors or even Jane-Smith-healthcare-accountant

Here’s how to change your URL

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Click View profile.
  3. Click Edit public profile & URL on the right side.
  4. You’ll be redirected to the Public profile settings page.

  5. Under Edit your custom URL on the right side, click the Edit icon next to your public profile URL.
  6. It’ll be an address that looks like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.

  7. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  8. Click Save.

Read more about your LinkedIn URL here.

Use a profile picture

People are on LinkedIn to connect with others and they like to see a person’s face to foster that connection. Make sure you use a professional-looking profile photo. It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot–you can take a decent photo with your smartphone if you like. But make sure your full face is clearly visible, including your eyes, and close enough that viewers can see your features.

Here’s how to change your profile photo

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage
  2. Click View profile
  3. Click the profile photo circle
  4. Click Add photo
  5. Select either to take a photo with your computer or add a photo from your library

Have a custom banner

The banner is the top section of your profile, just behind your profile photo. It’s tempting to leave it blank but it’s actually a great space to give important information about you without them having to scroll through your profile. Create a banner that shares your contact information (your website, email address and phone number). That way, even people who don’t have access to your profile can see how to get in touch with you.

Here’s how to create your banner

You can create a custom LinkedIn banner using a free account on Canva. Go to Canva, search for LinkedIn banner templates and create your banner there. Put your contact information on the right, opposite to where your profile photo is. Once it looks the way you want it to, download it to your computer.

On LinkedIn

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage
  2. Click View profile
  3. Click the pencil in the top right corner of the banner
  4. Click Change photo to upload your banner
  5. Drag the banner around to reposition it

Write a searchable headline

The headline is the line underneath your name in your profile. This section is searchable, so you want to include words that your ideal clients or people you want to network with would use to find you. This can include your services, your speciality or your niche. While it’s tempting to be clever here (such as using phrases like “I sweat over your numbers”) if your clients wouldn’t use those words to search you, then it’s ultimately not helpful.

Separate each of the keywords with a vertical line | to break them up for searches. You might use Accountant | Toronto | Healthcare | Legal | Professional services or Financial planning | Estate planning | Retirement planning.

You can also write it as a sentence if you can keep the sentence short and specific. For example, “My accounting services help doctors in Toronto better manage their practice.”

Don’t use too many keywords here. You want your headline to be fully visible to anyone scanning it, so keep it to two lines at the most. Try to be specific, as well. If a lot of other people would use the exact same keywords, add something more specific. For example, a lot of people might have Accountant | Toronto. Fewer would have Accountant | Medical practices | Toronto.

Here’s how to change your headline

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn profile
  2. Click View profile
  3. Click the pencil underneath the banner
  4. Write your new headline

Note that this same editing form can be used to change your industry, position and contact information.

Write your LinkedIn summary

Your summary section is where you get to talk about you, what you do and who you help. When you’re writing this, focus on the results you provide. Do you help your clients cut costs? Increase profitability? Stay up-to-date on their accounting? Achieve specific financial goals. Where possible, talk about your clients and how you’ve helped them.

Avoid just writing a list of your services. Instead, relate your services to your clients’ needs. For example, “After conducting an audit of a hospitality clients’ financial procedures, I was able to identify areas where spending could be reduced, saving them 20% within the first two weeks of implementation.”

The more you write about your clients and how you help them, the more engaging your summary will be.

Here’s how to write your summary

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn profile
  2. Click View profile
  3. Scroll down to the field that says About
  4. Click the pencil at the top of that field