A lot of LinkedIn users are not aware that they can upload files to their LinkedIn profile. There are some limits on what you can upload, for example, the file size cannot exceed 100MB or 300 pages, but a number of file types, such as PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX and PDF, are supported.
This means you can add material to your profile that will automatically show potential clients your knowledge. All the material you add can be used as evidence to back up your skills. Since showing your skills can be a great way to indirectly generate inquiries, it is an opportunity you cannot pass up.
So in this article, we will look at how you can add evidence as well as what type of evidence you can use to showcase your skills. In the end, there will be a few action items that you can use to help you get started.
Let’s get into it:
How to upload evidence
Uploading files to your LinkedIn profile is fairly straightforward. Log into your profile on LinkedIn, click on your name and then click the pen symbol on your about section or on the positions listed in your experience section.
You are then given options for adding content to each section:
Here you can either select upload or link. Upload can be a good option for PowerPoint presentations, PDF documents or Word files. Links can be a good option if you want to showcase multiple places you have content, such as your blog.
If you link to your blog, make sure you provide individual links to each post rather than just a link to your blog. That way you will showcase more of your writing.
When you upload or link a file to your profile, make sure you fill in the section for Title and Description. Both are important for getting you ranked higher on LinkedIn. When you have done that, you can click the blue “Apply” button.
What type of evidence should you add?
There are three types of evidence you can add to your profile: process, share knowledge and social proof. Which combination of the three you go with depends a lot on your situation, where you are at in your career and the type of industry you are in.
Here is a quick breakdown of each, so you can start thinking of what you could add to your profile:
By process, we mean how a result is delivered. If you are a consultant, it can be your methodology or the steps you take each client through. This can be the simplest type of evidence you can put together because you are just illustrating what you are doing, not relying on any type of external validation.
Charts like these can be very useful in helping potential customers understand what you do. You might already have process evidence in your business you are not using in your marketing—use it. Any content you have is a potential marketing asset.
Anything you have done that can be put in text or images can be uploaded to LinkedIn. If you have done any public presenting, this can be a great opportunity to upload your slides and show potential clients what you know.
It might be worth noting that LinkedIn bought the content sharing platform SlideShare in 2012, which means that any slides you upload to LinkedIn automatically get shared there, giving you even more exposure.
You can also create videos that show your skills. This is done particularly well by Dennis Ross, who proves that great content does not have to be long, difficult to make or overly time consuming. Here is an example of what he has created.
Social proof is any evidence, external to you, that proves you are providing value to others. For example, you could include pictures of you talking to a large crowd. Above is an example taken from Jeffrey Miller’s profile.
You can also upload interviews you have done. They provide immediate social proof that you are a person worth listening to and allow users to get an idea of how you sound and look. You might feel hesitant about doing this; however, you might find the more you share the more you get back.
Strategy for adding evidence
If you have limited skills and experience, you can take the opportunity to create content to learn and share that knowledge with others. Over time, you will be seen as an expert in what you are trying to learn.
A lot of inexperienced professionals find it hard to add evidence to their profile. The way around this is to stop focusing on you, and instead focus on what value you can give the prospective readers of your profile. Since most profiles on LinkedIn focus on the owner of the profile, you can stand out by focusing on the reader.
If you are an experienced professional in your field, you can upload what you have done, and sprinkle social proof on top.
You should set a reminder in your calendar to review your profile every six months for things you can add, tweak or change. Evidence is the most important to add if it provides value to the reader.
We are not looking for perfection, but improvement. Ideally, you should have 5-10 pieces of evidence in your about section and for each of your current listings in your experience section. If you don’t have this many, take that as motivation to continually improve.
Now you know how to add evidence and have an idea of the various types of evidence you can add. Now it is time to get to work:
- Brainstorm the type of evidence you can add. Do you have a lot of evidence you can pick or should you start creating evidence to back up your skills? Write down any ideas that come to mind.
- Pick 5-10 pieces of evidence to upload. Don’t use filler; use the best you have. If you have 50 pieces you could use, go with the best ones. You will be evaluated by the quality of your work.
- Upload and add comments. Don’t get lazy. Share a few details about what you do so the reader understands the context. If you can phrase it as a story or give interesting background details, you can come across as being more colourful.
- Get some external eyes to review it. Ideally, try to get someone from your target audience to do this since they are the best outsiders to review it. If that is not an option, share it with a person you know who will not sugarcoat their reactions.
Adding evidence to your profile can be the best long-term investment you can make in showcasing your skills. The moment you add it, the more people will accept your connection requests, and the quality of the interactions you have will change.
If you are selling anything, you will be evaluated based on the quality of your evidence. Some potential clients might pay more attention to your evidence than they will at what you are writing about yourself. So make sure your evidence is clear and professional.