Set up your LinkedIn profile for success
How to create an attractive LinkedIn profile for translators
What is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social networks in existence at the moment. Although we’re used to thinking of social networks as a place where people share videos of cats and toddlers, LinkedIn couldn’t be further from this. But how to set up your LinkedIn profile for success?
On LinkedIn, as on Facebook and Google Plus, you start building a personal profile with your basic information. But the focus here is on the professional aspects of your life. On LinkedIn you don’t share your relationship status (like Facebook) or the pictures of your last brunch (like Instagram). On LinkedIn you share your current role, your previous roles, your projects, your studies and anything else that could be relevant to talk about in a business context. You could say that it’s your online CV, but it’s really a picture of your professional career and your future goals.
On LinkedIn you’re selling yourself; you’re pitching your services. So think of how you can attract and interest your readers. Your readers are your potential employers (if you’re looking for a job) or your potential clients (if you’re a freelancer).
So let’s see how to set up your LinkedIn account for success.
Good professional headline
The description is the first line next to your name, as you can see in the screenshot below.
It should describe your current position in a few words. But it also has to communicate what you want to focus on. So if you’re a translator, avoid the simple “freelance translator” definition. Try to add a word that defines you. Something like “financial translator”, “business translator and interpreter”, “marketing content writer and translator” will tell your readers that you are a translator but you also focus on financial, business or marketing translation. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got any clients in that field yet. Start defining your identity from now on, in terms of what you want to become.
One more thing: be creative. If you can do more than just translation, then you could define yourself as a consultant. For example: are you a marketing expert who could potentially advise your clients on the tone of their marketing material in another country? Then tell them that you can advise them. Become a 360º language and marketing consultant, and state that in your title. It’ll make people curious to find out more. If they get curious, they’ll scroll down to the summary.
The summary is made up of a few lines where you describe who you are. It’s not a description of your job but rather a description of you as a person. Here you can be really creative. I personally change mine every few months to make sure it reflects my current situation, the things I’m focusing on, maybe the project I’m running, or simply what I’m passionate about.
Under “experience” you can list your previous job positions, including a link to the companies you worked for. If you’re a freelancer, you’ll write that you’re currently a freelancer and possibly how long you’ve been freelancing for. Put a link to your website. If you listed your company on LinkedIn and you created a page, you can also link to your own company. Unfortunately a Gmail account won’t work, you’ll need an email address which contains your domain, like firstname.lastname@example.org. After that you can register your page. For example, TranslatorThoughts is registered as a company on Linkedin, that’s why I was able to create the LinkedIn page and I could link to it in my profile.
In the education section you obviously want to list all your official qualifications such as undergraduate degrees, Master’s degrees and PhDs, if you have them. Do not list certifications from unofficial institutions, there’s a separate section dedicated to that, and it’s the next one.
In this section you want to list all your unofficial certifications. Are you a member of a translator association? Did you take any official language tests, such as the University of Cambridge’s exams? This is the section where you want to add them.
Other sections that you can add to your profile:
There are a few other sections that you can add to your profile to make it more complete. At the time of writing this article, these are the sections:
- Volunteering experience / opportunities
- Honours and awards
- Test scores and patents
- Causes you care about / supported organisations
- Personal details
- Advice for contacting
I personally recommend adding the “Projects” section, where you can list some of your translation projects (don’t forget to ask permission from the client first). If you can add a link to the client’s website, even better.
It’s important for you to decide what people can or can’t view. I think this is an aspect that often gets overlooked. By being in control of what people can see, you limit the risk of sharing information you didn’t intend to. In the section just below your professional headline you’ll see a drop down menu where you can find the option for managing your public profile settings.
If you click there you’ll be able to see a list of sections, and simply click on the ones you want to make public.
I also like to turn off the notifications, so my connections do not get notified every time I make a change to my profile; they’ll simply see the newest version.
To pay or not to pay?
LinkedIn offers a premium membership that has some advantages. There are at least four cases when it’s useful to get a premium membership:
- to land your dream job
- to grow your community
- to find prospects (that’s yours, if you’re using LinkedIn as a freelancer)
- to find and hire talent
I have to say the premium membership to find prospects is quite expensive for a freelancer who is just getting started: we’re talking about £59.99 per month. So if you decide to go for it, make sure you’ve done your homework and you already know exactly who your target clients are (or learn it here).
I hope this guide helped you, let me know in the comments if you have any particular questions about LinkedIn you’d like help with.