LinkedIn Tips Part 1: Getting Your Profile Right
By Mark Lee
- Having your profile on LinkedIn makes you easier to find when people are looking for you or for an accountant like you.
- Once registered on LinkedIn, you can make potentially useful connections with other accountants, professional advisors, business people, prospects, and suppliers.
- You can also use LinkedIn to identify prospective clients and to find out more about people before you meet with them.
There are other potential benefits, and none of them is unique to accountants starting up in practice. The only difference is that all start-up practices need to grow. Using LinkedIn effectively can help. More established practitioners may be less concerned about growing and see less need to do whatever they can to boost their marketing and networking efforts.
- Includes a headline title after your name that describes your role and approach rather than simply saying something boring, such as "Accountant." You can try different headlines, but something distinct will invariably be more useful than something generic.
- Displays your full name.
- Includes a professional quality photo – one people could recognize you from if they met you in real life; they'll feel they already know you from your photo and online interactions.
- Makes clear you're an approachable, experienced, and fully rounded person in the Summary area. This should be written in the first person and also refer to your new practice and your key focus or niche.
- Includes all of your skills and expertise. You want people to find you easily when they search LinkedIn for an accountant with your specialist experience. Include the words and phrases that people might use when they search.
- Includes in the Experience section the same name of each of your previous firms as your colleagues used so that you're all linked to the same firm in each case. (Mergers and incorporation as LLPs or limited companies can cause problems here. This is all especially important for recommendations, as I will explain in the next week's article.)
- Includes your business e-mail address rather than a personal, Gmail, or Hotmail address. The latter are more common for job hunters than for someone who has started a real accounting practice.
- It's up to you how much of your personal job history you include on your profile. But as a start-up practice, you'll want to demonstrate your prior experience and provide evidence of your expertise in your chosen niche. Quite simply, the more credibility you can establish, the better.
Your new practice
- Current work experience
- Past work experience
Think about what terms and words people might use to search for an accountant like you. The more often you include these in those five elements of your profile, the easier it will be for you to be found, which is the main idea (especially if you're not planning on using LinkedIn actively).