LinkedIn is such an amazing business tool and it’s getting more robust and more useful all the time. If you do nothing else to promote yourself online, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a complete and professional LinkedIn profile. Even though profiles are completed on the individual level, it is a critical tool for promoting yourself and your insurance and/or benefits agency.

I look at many, many profiles, and I’ve seen them all across the quality lines. It’s quite simple to put a good profile together, but there are a few things of which you need to be aware that will make it a much more useful tool for you.

Take a few minutes to review your profile in comparison to this list, and see if you need to make any changes.

Some things you might be doing wrong to get the best out of your LinkedIn profile:

  • Thinking this is a resume and that it’s about you. The only people who want to read a resume are hiring managers – and they don’t even really want to do it. Readers aren’t looking for tactical bullet points; they want a couple of brief sentences describing how you helped the company. Because what your readers (clients & prospects) are looking for is information about how you can help them. They want to know what experience you have that is going to help them achieve their goals.
  • Not filling out the profile completely. Don’t leave blank holes on the profile or experience. We’re social creatures. We want to learn about people, and we want to see faces – your face (only). Include a good shot of your face so someone will recognize you when they see you in person.
    • Websites. At minimum, add your company website and label it. If you have other sites you use professionally like a blog or Facebook, include those as well. Letting people easily find content that you or your company produces is a great benefit.
    • Education. Remember that this is for professional purposes. We don’t need to know where you went to high school (or anything earlier!). Save that for connecting with old friends on Facebook. Here, stick with college and any other professional training.
    • Summary. This is a valuable section where you should tell people who you are professionally, what you do for your clients, and what they get as a result of working with you. Make it easy for people to get a sense of your professional self. Carefully craft your message and beware of these pitfalls:
      • Simply rehashing what we can read in the Experience section.
      • Writing in 3rd person. We know you wrote it – talk directly to us.
      • Writing it about your company instead of yourself. Even if you own the business, this profile should be about you personally. Use Company Pages for your company description and promotion.
  • Not making yourself as accessible as possible. The more people you are connected to, the more connections that will be available for you to see. Which in turn, makes your prospecting research significantly easier.
    • Privacy settings. The point of LinkedIn is to make professional connections. You can’t make those connections if people can’t see your profile, so open it up and make it publically available.
    • Outdated information. Be sure to always have your most current contact information included on your profile. If it’s not updated, any messages and invitations will be going into the abyss of dead email accounts.
  • And finally, not proofing. It’s easy to type it and forget it, but that leaves you vulnerable to the unintended errors of the fingers. Take the time to read through everything.

This is quite possibly your first impression – let’s make it a good one.

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