“If you build it, he will come.” It may have worked for Ray Kinsella, Kevin Costner’s character in the film “Field of Dreams,” but the same can’t be said about your LinkedIn profile. Give it the same meticulous attention as Ray gave to the baseball diamond he created in his corn field, and they will come. If you want to attract attention, or stand out from the crowd in a field of 467 million LinkedIn users (as of 2017), you must build a personal profile that sets you apart from the rest and makes you a unique brand. Here’s how you do it.

Present and define yourself.

To viewers, your LinkedIn profile picture says a lot about who you are. So, make the most of it. Experts say that it only takes one-tenth of a second for someone to draw conclusions about you based on your photo. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Do: Make sure that you use a photo that’s up-to-date.
    Don’t: Use a photo that’s several years old.
  • Do: Use a photo where your face takes up at least 60% of the frame – head and shoulders. People want to know what you look like.
    Don’t: Use a full body shot. Even if it’s a cool pic of you taken at last year’s company picnic.
  • Do: Smile with your teeth and your eyes. You want people to see a warm and friendly expression.
    Don’t: Display a big, unnatural goofy grin. That just won’t work.
  • Do: Dress for success. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit, but do kick it up a bit if sweats are your mode of clothes. Solid colors are always your best bet and photograph well.
    Don’t: Wear clothes that draw attention away from your face. That means stay away from paisley shirts, checker board squares, and Disney-esqe apparel.

Finally, choose a background that’s simple and allows you to be the center of attention.

It’s all in the headline.

Your headline is probably the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. Professionals searching for you are searching on what you do, not who you are. According to LinkedIn expert Colleen McKenna, founder of Intero Advisory, “8 out of 10 people read headline copy, compared to 2 out of 10 who read the rest of [your] story.”

You’ve got just 120 characters to capture someone’s attention, so make the most of it. Consider the keywords that people may use to look for you. Use those terms that are most relevant to what you do and include them in your LinkedIn headline.

  • Headmaster | Educational Strategist | Curriculum Specialist | Staff Development
  • Director of Communications | Marketing & PR Strategist | Writer | Web Content | Social Media

Give your LinkedIn Summary some love.

Your LinkedIn Summary shouldn’t be about your school, your organization, or your company. It’s about you. You are the brand. And, you’ve got about :30 seconds to capture your reader’s attention. If you don’t use the right bait, then you may lose the fish.

Unlike your resume or CV, your personal story can be free of start dates and former titles. It’s where you can put your personal spin on your work experience. To do that, you want to:

  • Be authentic and explain why you do what you do.
  • Demonstrate experience by noting specialties and accomplishments.
  • Share personal interests, avocations and volunteer causes that you support to boost your likeability.
  • Make sure to invite viewers to connect with you and link to your Company Page.

Want to make your summary pop out from the rest? Show off your work by including Slide Share presentations, videos, e-books, online articles, images and other content that truly depict the value of your expertise.

Where experience leads to accomplishments.

Experience is great. But it’s what you accomplished through those experiences that will capture a reader’s attention. Don’t just copy and paste your resume. Use your LinkedIn Summary to focus on and quantify accomplishments within the positions that you held. Numbers, dollars and percentages speak volumes and proves your value as opposed to only listing your responsibilities in previous positions. Remember that using keywords in this section too will help LinkedIn users to easily find you in search.

The power of volunteer experience.

Don’t underestimate the attention that including your volunteer experience may bring you. According to LinkedIn:

  • 41% of hiring manager consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience when evaluating candidates
  • 20% of hiring managers in the U.S. agree they have hired candidates because of their volunteer work experience
  • 27% of job seekers are more likely to hired, when unemployed, if they volunteer.

Today’s organizations and brands are very socially conscience. Noting your social involvement and passions can be the thing that separates you from everyone else in the pack. Whether you tutor children at inner-city schools, work with animals at the SPCA, clean up parks, work at recreation centers in your spare time or raise funds for a charity close to your heart, noting these extracurricular activities cannot be overstated. When people see you’re passionate about making a difference in the world, they’re certain to believe you could possibly make a difference in their organization.

Ask for recommendations.

You know, it’s ok to ask somebody that you’ve worked with to say something nice about you. By doing so, you get something that is customized, personalized and real. And, if it’s real, it’s much more believable than perhaps listing testimonials about your work on your website, a landing page or elsewhere.

Recommendations can come from former employers, colleagues, peers, vendors, customers and those people you’ve volunteered with or for. When you request a recommendation, ask the person to consider the following, and include examples:

  • What is your key strength?
  • What did they enjoy about working with you the most?
  • What word would they use to describe you and why?
  • What problem did you help them to overcome, or what goal did you help them to reach?

Remember to reciprocate the favor and write a personal recommendation for each individual who recommends you. It will increase your value ten-fold.

You now have six ways to boost your LinkedIn presence and increase the likelihood that you’ll be found if you build a personal, authentic and descriptive profile. How have you used LinkedIn to enhance your career? Share your story in a comment.

Kalix Marketing is here to help you build-out your professional LinkedIn profile. Contact us today.

Gerri Baum is Digital/Social Media Director for Kalix Marketing. 

Check out the rest of our Summer Marketing Series here:

#1 What is your Word of Mouth Saying about your School?

#2 7 Easy Ways to Take the Blah out of Blogging for Your School

#3 Best Ways to Work with Graphic Designers

#4 How to Execute a Social Media Audit for Your School

#5 What’s Your Position on Brand Positioning?

#6 Showing Your Website Some Summer Lovin’

#7 The Value of a Facebook Ad Campaign for Independent Schools

#8 11 Essential Photography Tips for Independent School Marketers

#9 7 Ways to Measure Enrollment Marketing ROI