How to Create an Appealing LinkedIn Profile

By Jamie Shanks

Who is your buyer? I’m certain your buyer is not a recruiter. Then why, when I read your LinkedIn profile, does it resonate with a recruiter?

Stop to think about what your first impression is leaving:

  • Quota-crusher
  • Sales negotiation expert
  • President’s Club winner, three years in a row

Your buyer doesn’t care about that! None of these statements do anything to aid the challenges your buyer is facing in their business.

Everything you do socially needs to better serve your buyer. Period. I fully appreciate that you may not work at your current employer forever, but what message are you sending your future employer? To me, the message sounds like: “I don’t use social media in my current job and I’m most likely not going to leverage it at your company either, as I’m keeping my options open.” The very first step to developing an ideal social profile on any platform is taking a moment to accomplish two steps.

Step 1: Take an objective look in the mirror.
Open your social profiles and read them aloud. Read your profiles as if you were a buying CFO, CIO, and so on, and ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” Do your buyers feel comfortable that you understand their business? Are you sending the message that you can add value in their business?

Step 2: Take an objective look at your buyers’ profiles.
Your buyers are leaving clues about their industry all over their own social profiles: keywords, phrases, trends, ways they measure and benchmark themselves. This information can be found on LinkedIn in their summary, their skills and the groups they join. Within Twitter, I find that the photos they take can be a huge gateway into their world. I’m looking at the conferences they attend and the inspirational quotes they share. All of these elements help me think about crafting my social profile to mirror my buyer’s. People buy from people they like, and people like people just like themselves.

Step 3: Craft your “LinkedIn elevator pitch.”
We’ve all heard of an elevator pitch that takes only 30 seconds to summarize and articulate our value. The LinkedIn headline is the exact same thing. It is not a place to repeat your job title again at the top of your profile. Your buyer doesn’t care that you’re an account manager, sales executive, or customer success specialist. They would never Google one of those titles. In fact, many buyers have a visceral reaction to sales professionals; you’re actually making that first impression even more difficult on yourself.

The best way to start creating a LinkedIn headline that resonates with a buyer is to play the elevator pitch game with yourself. Pretend you stepped into an elevator and a senior buyer standing beside you presses the tenth-floor button and, at the same time, bumps into you. As he apologizes, he asks you, “What do you do and how do you add value in your job?” You only have one sentence to respond, so you blurt out a sentence that summarizes some or all of the following:

  • Who you help
  • How you help
  • Why you help better than others

I personally change up my LinkedIn headline on a quarterly basis to experiment and try new things. But ultimately, my value proposition evolves. Here is my LinkedIn headline at this time:

The “Company of Record” for Social Selling / Digital Integration across your sales and marketing org / Sales for Life

Make note that you’ll want to include your company name at the back of the headline. Nothing is more frustrating to buyers than when they see your photo and headline in a small summary, but have no idea where you work.

Excerpted with permission of the publisher Wiley from Social Selling Mastery: Scaling up Your Sales and Marketing Machine for the Digital Buyer by Jamie Shanks. Copyright (c) 2016 by Jamie Shanks. All rights reserved. This book is available at all booksellers.