How to look your best on LinkedIn

Linked In

Hello!

After my previous blog (how to be freelance), I thought I would just run through a few hints and tips that I have picked up along the way regarding LinkedIn. People who aren’t looking for a job should still put time and effort into their profile because you never know who is looking at it.

In my line of work, a lot of clients come through on a personal recommendation and although I have a business website, the majority of my new business comes from looking at my LinkedIn profile. I’m the first one to say that my profile isn’t perfect and does need a bit of work BUT it does have the following things that somehow enables me to get me client referrals:

  1. Complete the whole profile: Make sure that you have answered every single prompt – no need to waffle but add concise notes when required. Make sure to list any prestigious events, awards or voluntary work that you do/have done in the past. It all matters.
  2. Profile photo possibility
    Here is a profile photo that I could use but I feel it is too informal for LinkedIn

    A decent profile photo: This shouldn’t be the one that you use on Facebook or Instagram (unless both are business related accounts) but should show you looking professional and approachable. There are photographers that specialise in profile headshot – personally I like a colour image but I know a lot of people use black and white.

    Profile head shot alternative
    This is a more formal profile headshot

    You can use ‘action shots’ of yourself as well – such as giving a presentation or accepting an award. Personally I like to keep it simple and just show who I am.

  3. Background image: I like to use something that reflects my work and also my personality. Currently I have a beautiful vivid painting by one of the artists that I promote.

    Cutaway of a painting by Lucy Ash
    This is one of my preferred backgrounds
  4. A concise headline: That bit of text under your photo should be used to explain what you do. For me, I’m: Publicity and Marketing specialising in Arts and Publishing.  You can add in details – award winning sales director etc… instead. This is what future clients will be looking at.
  5. Examples of your work: I like to feature coverage of books or artists on my profile (although I’ve just noticed that these need refreshing!) or a project that you are particularly proud of that you think others may find interesting.
  6. LinkedIn recommendations
    Always ask for a Recommendation

    Recommendations: So important. Ask your clients or people that you have worked with in the past to endorse you in skills but also give a testimonial. You can give one back to them. This does help to solidify your profile.

  7. Add in the occasional update: I know people who use LinkedIn every day and add in a status update. This isn’t really my thing but I do comment on other people’s news or published articles. That way your name is seen by others and you are being supportive to your contacts.
  8. Contacts:  I believe in quality not quantity when it comes to contacts. I do know that in jobs such as Sales then being connected with as many people as possible is important but to me, I like to know my contacts or at least have someone/thing in common. I tend to have industry contacts only – not friends or neighbours unless it is really warranted. I do LinkIn with colleagues from the past a lot – they are my best referrals. They know how I work and my results. You never know when one of them might need a publicist…
  9. Get your personal LinkedIn URL
    Get your personal LinkedIn URL

    Get a custom URL: Really easy to do – just go through the prompts on your edit page. You can click here for help. That way you can use the link to direct clients straight away, on your emails and also it helps with Google. Everyone “googles” everyone before they meet or sometimes even talk so showing up on the first page is vital.

  10. Treat LinkedIn as your CV : Focus mostly on the work stuff. People are able to discover if you love running or cycling through their internet search of you. I would just use this platform to highlight your career.

Extra reading?

There are LOTS of articles out there that can help you with your LinkedIn profile. Videos and Instagram accounts that will show you how to add attachments, check the language you use and all sorts of things. I have found this article useful and this one has even more tips on getting your profile just right!

How to look your best on Skype

Hi! I realise that this may not be for everyone that reads this blog but in my line of work (Publicity), I do an awful lot of Skype calls and visual conferencing. Especially when I am starting with a new client.

SkypeWithin my client base are authors that live in South East Asia and Australia which leans towards using Skype for initial chats before I start working for them. I like to show that I am professional, knowledgable at my job and am generally ‘with it.’ First impressions really do count and therefore I thought I would share my method which can be applied to Skype job interviews as well.

  1. Your username – make it professional and somehow linked to your business or an easy composite of your name. No @cutefluffybunnys as it doesn’t really give the best impression.
  2. Check your wifi – make sure that your bandwidth is up to it, especially if you are calling at peak usage – 9pm at night. Also perhaps ask everyone not to stream or download at the moment you are using Skype. I think it really does make a difference.
  3. I use the room with the largest window in for my Skype calls. Not my everyday desk.
    I use the room with the largest window in for my Skype calls. Not my everyday desk.

    Find a room that doesn’t have any distractions and that the door can be shut. Lots of natural light helps as well. I use our back room (or the Library as my husband calls it – we have a lot of books in our house as we both work in publishing) where there is a large window in-front of the desk, a desk lamp and I can shut the door. (keeps the dog out!)

  4. Think about what the camera sees – check you aren’t showing clothes, kitchen stuff or a bathroom behind you. Try and find a blank wall or something relevant to your
    This is where I usually work - the camera would show the kitchen detritus behind me. And it is dark. Not good!
    This is where I usually work – the camera would show the kitchen detritus behind me. And it is dark. Not good!

    work. (I have the book shelves in my background)

  5. Have your computer camera at eye level or a little higher. You look better when you are talking up – it helps with your posture as well.
    I use an old box to raise my laptop to eye level. And a cushion to help with my posture!
    I use an old box to raise my laptop to eye level. And a cushion to help with my posture!

    Nobody likes to be talked down to. I initially use a box on my desk to lift the camera on my laptop and I also use a cushion on my seat. It does work!

  6. Think about your appearance – I’m not a daily make up wearer but if I have a Skype call scheduled then I defiantly stick a bit on. I find adding lipstick, darkening my eyebrows and tying my hair back helps me stand out more on screen.
    This is my usual look! Not great for a Skype call.
    This is my usual look! Not great for a Skype call.

    I also add a scarf (nothing too fussy) or a good statement necklace (mine are from Stella & Dot) as well to a plain top. I wear a lot of blue and that seems to work with the screen.

    I added a scarf, tied my hair back and popped on a bit of lipstick. Much better!
    What the camera sees: I added a scarf, tied my hair back and popped on a bit of lipstick. Much better! You can also see the books in the background.
  7. Silence all other mobiles, iPads and lock the door so that you don’t have any neighbours popping in. I have been known to pop a note on my front door saying I’m in a meeting and to leave a package by the door. It has worked!
  8. Be ready at least 5 minutes before the call and make sure your Skype account says that you are online. It always gives a good impression that you are prepared.

 

Lastly, I do have those moments when a client suddenly decides to call me and in those circumstances, I usually whip a scarf on (my house is cold anyway so I’m usually wearing one) and take my laptop into the other room. Then I’ll answer. Sometimes I’ll request an audio call or ask to call them back in 5 minutes.

All ready for my Skype call

Skype is a great business tool when you work from home and are not close to a big city. Living in the countryside means that my trips to London tend to be once or twice a month but using Skype enables me to keep contact with my clients. And I’m a huge believer in face to face contact. Even if it is from behind a screen.

 

 

INSTAGRAM POST ALERT!

New Instagram post!
New Instagram post!

I’ve also posted a series of videos onto my account showing you my behind the scenes set up for Skype! So you can see the method in my madness.

@Laura_the_9_to_3