As a financial advisor, LinkedIn is your first impression in the world of business and social media. If a potential client is considering you to become their financial planner, they will often look beyond your website to places like LinkedIn. However, it is no longer enough to just have a LinkedIn profile, you need to have one that stands out from the competition.
As a working professional, it’s important to make a strong first impression with your LinkedIn profile. These five tips were designed to help with just that.
5 Steps to Creating a Strong LinkedIn profile:
1. Choose a Professional Photo
The addition of a professional photo is the best way to provide a great first impression. It adds personality to your page and can be followed up by your bio for instant human connection. Putting a face to a name is wonderful in establishing a connection between a potential employer and an employee. It’s also useful for clients who want to know who they’re working with. People want to know who they’re talking to, so a fully fleshed out LinkedIn page will make people much more comfortable.
In a series of experiments studying judgement from facial appearances, Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov found it only takes 100 milliseconds to form an impression of someone from just looking at a photo of their face.
When choosing a photo it’s recommended that it be a professionally taken headshot. You should be wearing either business formal or business casual attire. Next, choose an image that is 450×450 pixels. This way the photo can be zoomed in on and you’ll avoid a gray outline around your photo. Images, where the background or other people are clearly cropped out, are unacceptable for LinkedIn. Remember this is your online business persona, so choose a business-appropriate photo.
For your LinkedIn Photo:
- Smile with teeth showing
- Accentuate your jawline
- Dress for success
- Make eye contact
- Head to shoulders or head to waist in frame
- Wear “loud” or distracting colors
- Wear too many accessories
- Overdo it with makeup
- Use an outdated photo
But most important of all, be sure to look your best so you can impress.
Schad TenBroeck, the founder of Sequoia Financial, is a great example of a strong headshot on his LinkedIn profile. He has a friendly smile with professional clothes in neutral tones. He is making strong eye contact with the camera and it’s been taken shoulders up.
2. Create an Impactful Headline
The default headline LinkedIn generates for you based on your most current job title is never enough. It doesn’t have a strong enough impact to really impress or inform those who come to your LinkedIn page.
Try creating your own informative headline to enhance your searchability. LinkedIn generously allows you to include up to 120 characters to describe who you are before anyone even clicks on your full profile. Write a headline that will intrigue potential clients and entice them to want to learn more about you. Include both job title and area of knowledge for best impact. This along with your profile image is one of the first impressions you make, so make it a good one.
To separate titles and phrases, use a comma ( , ) or a vertical line ( | ). Your headline should accurately and quickly convey who you are and what you do.
Ivanhoe Sánchez, founder, and CEO of Outright Financial Strategies has a strong headline that doesn’t just say “Financial Planner” or something basic. It says “Providing Financial Strategies, Growing Net Worth and Reducing Risk.” You understand exactly what you will be getting when you work with him before even diving deeper into his profile page.
3. Personalize Your LinkedIn Address
When you first create a LinkedIn profile the site will automatically generate a generic web address for your page. The address typically contains your name, dashes, and a series of random numbers and letters. To improve your SEO, it is best to make changes to your URL to make it more readable. Good URLs tend to contain just your name, your name + your title, or your name + your certification. Below are some samples of SEO-optimized URLs:
It also helps to have a personalized LinkedIn address to help you stand out from the crowd. It shows your attention to detail and willingness to go out of your way to make a clean impression. To clean up your LinkedIn web address follow these directions.
4. Make A Great Impression with Your ABout Section
The About of your LinkedIn page is one of the best ways to make a good impression. It’s your chance to tell any page visitors your story and what makes you unique. While LinkedIn does carry a certain expectation of professionalism, it doesn’t hurt to personalize your About section with a mix of work and life experience. The number one tip is to use an authentic voice so you can let other professionals see who you are, what you care about, and what you can personally bring to the table.
How to Make a Strong About:
- Start strong, LinkedIn only shows off the first three sentences
- Make use of LinkedIn keywords such as job titles and skills
- Open about your career trajectory and accomplishments
It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, LinkedIn is a social media site for sharing information about yourself and the companies you work for or with. Don’t be afraid to mix in personality to enhance the about section. It’s meant to grab the attention of page visitors and get them interested in what you have to say.
Mark Sharp retirement planner at Mark Sharp Retirement, LLC has a brief yet informative summary on his LinkedIn page He discusses how they are a fee-only firm helping clients in retirement and then lists the website for additional information.
5. Show off Your Responsibilities
The section on your current position should be the most detailed description on your page. It’s ideal to let your current position have the largest and most detailed description as it shows off what you currently do. Describing your current responsibilities is a great way to inform prospective employers about what you currently bring to the table. It’s almost like a way to brag about what you can without actually having to brag.
When adding in your experiences be sure to include:
- Your current job title
- The responsibilities you hold
- Who your employer is
- What dates you’ve worked there
Dave Grant, CFP®, founder and financial planner at Retirement Matters, Inc. describes his responsibilities under each position so that visitors can really see what he did at each job or position, so they can really see his expertise and skills, and how he can help his future clients.
Pro Tip: When making these changes, you may want to consider turning OFF your LinkedIn notifications. If you do not, your entire network will be alerted that you have an updated “job title” – which may lead to some confusion if you still have the same position. For instructions on how to change your LinkedIn profile without notifying your connections click here.
Editing note: This article was originally published on April 24th, 2020and has been updated to ensure consistency.
Does Your Profile Have What It Takes?
We hope our tips will be able to provide you with some helpful insights to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level. First impressions are everything and standing out helps you to distinguish yourself from others in your industry. Be sure to use these tips and make yourself stand out from the crowd.
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About the author
Blair is a digital marketing assistant at Twenty Over Ten and has a passion for uncovering what drives online traffic and the highest engagement. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her daughter, Grey.