Does your profile show the powerful proof of who you are?

As a press photographer for an established newspaper in Sydney, my husband Toby Zerna has been covering major news, sporting, political and celebrity events for almost 20 years. He’s been on tour with the Royals (Harry and Meghan) in Sydney, to the Football world cup in Russia and South Africa, he’s been to Afghanistan, to earthquakes and flood zones, and snapped just about every Hollywood celebrity who comes to town (for set-up shots not paparazzi style, it’s ok).

When he went to the World Cup in Russia in 2018 I could not believe how much gear he brought with him. As he waved goodbye and disappeared through the doors at Sydney International airport, I marvelled at the two trolleys he was attempting to manoeuvre; weighed down with lights, cameras, lens, laptops and any number of other props and things.

And yet, no matter how much gear he had or even whether he looked the part, there was one essential thing that he MUST have with him or he would not be allowed to step foot in the World Cup stadium. Can you guess what it was?

And no I don’t mean his camera…

It was his access pass.

The access pass that would hang around his neck on a lanyard was his key to enter. It was PROOF that he was the real deal; that he was credible and belonged.

And what did it say? It had a photo of him. It said his role. Where he was from, and gave evidence that he was cleared for entry. Not only did it give him access, it also created a first impression with all who met him and would serve to validate what he was there to accomplish. Oh you’re a photographer, and not just any photographer – you’re a professional photographer appointed by a global news company. Right, come on in.

Proof is in the Profile

Just like the access pass to enter the sporting event, your profile is absolutely a compelling test of authority. It is the first impression that you’re creating online and is the first step towards establishing credibility.

Think about it, when you’re going to meet with a new client and they google your name, what do they find? A blank page, no photo, sparse details? How could you use your access pass – your credentials – quickly validate what you do and who you are to show the PROOF that you are the real deal?

Pointers for a Powerful Profile

What are the basic must-haves for your LinkedIn profile?

A. Your Profile needs to be updated.

Well, it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised. Making sure you have a photo, put some detail in the summary and some jobs listed. It’s not also not a set and forget. You can change your profile based on what you’re working on or what you’re doing at the time. If you’re traveling, then reflect it. If you’re working on something new then add that on.

B. Your photo is important.

This is a professional platform, so consider what impression that you want to make. Even though you looked dashing at your 40th birthday party, it doesn’t mean it’s the right pic for your profile. Think about how you want clients, peers and future employer/employees to perceive you.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Pick the image based on how you want to be perceived. Are you serious and professional? Fun and carefree? Helpful and humble? Wild and adventurous?
  • Frame your head and shoulders so they take up the majority of the space. Your head is the hero of this shot.
  • Use a background that’s not too crowded.
  • Choose contrasting colours so that you stand out.

C. Host a Happening Headline

This is your PRIME real estate on LinkedIn. Don’t just use the default name from your most recent job.

What are the key search terms for your role and industry that could be included in your profile? What are the BIG wins that you want to include, e.g. awards or significant projects?

Some examples:

  • Professional Speaker | Board Member | Kerry Nairn Scholarship 2017
  • Business Futurist & Innovation Expert | World’s highest rating speaker on LinkedIn | 500+ recommendations
  • Executive Director Finance | MBA |Master eCommerce | Law

The other thing that’s on trend is using a statement that will attract your ideal client, e.g. “Equipping small businesses with accounting systems that will grow as you do.”

D. Don’t undersell your summary section

Here lies the true treasure of your profile. So where do you start?

First decide, how will you write. While you can write in third person, the profiles that are written in first person are also “on-trend.” Given today’s lean to being relatable and real, speaking in first person seems more authentic and personal.

Here is my guide for writing a cracker summary, that you should include:

  • An opening statement that shows your clients how you help them
  • What Are you Known for? (e.g. your key service offering/ unique area of expertise)
  • Your Credentials (How can you show that have demonstrated experience in your field of expertise?)
  • Stand Out awards/achievements
  • How they should engage you
  • Call to action/giveaway

If you’d like to receive a more detailed template for how I structure the LinkedIn profile, then send me a LinkedIn Message and I’ll send it to you.

E. Don’t forget to Add Media

The small button that asks you to add media, is possibly the most overlooked section and yet it plays a huge role in establishing your authority.

What are the key videos, PDFs, white papers, websites that promote and show what you do, that you could include? This is the place to add them on.

About Kirryn Zerna

I’m on a quest to help ideas, leaders and brands stand out (without selling out) in this age of online influence. I’m a conference speaker, a masterclass presenter and creator of the Stand Out Effect: a modern-day quest to uncover what makes brands stand out without selling out. What’s unique about me is that I understand the nuance of business from a large corporation to a small business and can translate the challenges and opportunities of the power of social media in each context. I draw on deep experience of working within corporate and public sector environments, and I also have had the privilege of working with over 2,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs in the last year.

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