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by Kevin Micalizzi, Data.com Social Media Marketing Manager

When you come across someone new in your daily routine as a sales person, I'm guessing you look them up on LinkedIn to get a better idea of their background.  Correspondly, a lot of your customers and prospects are checking you out on LinkedIn and it's crucial to convey a that you are good at your job and a sales person they can trust.

However if you follow the majority of the LinkedIn profile advice that's been published, the chances are you look more like you're job hunting than like you are successful at selling.

With the recent LinkedIn profile redesign, you have a great opportunity to put the right image forward, so here are some tips for making sure your profile says the right thing about you. 

1. Show some personality (and your face)

There's plendy of advice out there about the perfect LinkedIn profile photo.  The most important to me is that people connect with people.  Make sure your photo clearly shows your face.  Unless you'rein an industry where everyone dresses formal, use a more business casual photo.  It lets you  appear approachable while still looking professional.  And make sure you smile.


2. Rock it with a great headline & summary

Your headline is one of the first things people see about you.  Go beyond your job title.  Most job titles never truly describe what you do anyways.  Use the keywords your customers would search for, not the terms your company may use.  And remember, professional headlines sell.

My favorite advice on making your profile a marketing workhorse for you is to use the summary to add a personal intro about your goals, what you’re passionate about, and what you love to do in life. This lets people see you as a well rounded person.

3. This isn't your resume, don't drown us in details

I recomend removing job descriptions from your past experience.  Unless you're job hunting, I see this section used more often as a way to verify that you're not new to your current sales role and that you're reliable.  You want your experience to help emphasize you're not going to sell something and then vanish.

4. Share your skills

You've probably seen people endorsing your skills on LinkedIn, I know I have.  It's an interesting new feature but honestly, not all the "skills" LinkedIn is suggesting to people are things I'd consider important.  Add some key skills to your profile to ensure LinkedIn is asking your connections to endorse you on things that are relevant to what you do.

5. What do your groups say about you?

We've all joined LinkedIn groups we find interesting and/or relevant.  Take a look at your public profile to see what groups are listed.  Do they reflect the image you want to portray?  For any that aren't adding value to your image, go into Your Settings for any of the groups you belong to and uncheck the "Display the group logo on your profile" option. Some people may disagree with me, but I put college and company alumni groups in this category, your profile already shows your employment and education history.

6. Are you like-able?

With LinkedIn, once you pass 500 connections, your profile will show 500+ connections.  Try to get past 500, even if you're only slightly over, it helps you to appear well connected.  Recommendations also give you a bit of "social proof", letting people who don't know you see that others feel you are worth working with.  Make sure every one is a real recommendation.  No one is fooled by a number of people recommending you with things like, "she's awesome", or "he was great to work with."  If you ask for a recommendation (or get one without asking), don't be afraid to ask the person recommending you to talk about something specific.  In my experience, if they're willing to write a recommendation, they're happy to give it some focus. And the more focused the reviews are, the more meaningful they'll be to people who check out your profile. 

What else have you found helps your LinkedIn profile work for your sales?