With more than 433 million registered LinkedIn users and two new members joining LinkedIn every second, it’s no wonder the site is such a powerful networking tool.
Many funeral directors already have realized this, and use LinkedIn to successfully network with other people in the funeral profession every day. But some have not yet created an account, and others aren’t 100% sure of all the benefits available to them.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you get started, or to help you thrive if you’re already a user.
There is a lot that goes into creating an effective profile, but it all starts with the photo. Make sure the photo you select is as professional as possible — if you have to use a selfie, make sure you’re at least wearing professional clothing and the background is at least plain, if not professional as well.
Having a professional profile picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed, so it’s an important part of getting noticed.
When it comes to your background photo, you can choose something funeral-related as long as it’s appropriate — perhaps a flower arrangement, or a photo of your funeral home. If you don’t have something funeral-related, using a solid color or a simple pattern that compliments your profile picture works just fine.
The recommended profile picture size is 400×400 pixels, and the recommended background photo size is between 1,000×425 pixels and 4,000×4,000 pixels. If you’re not sure what size your photo is, try it out. If it looks too blurry, your photo probably isn’t big enough — try finding one with a larger file size.
Believe it or not, your photo and the first few things on your profile are the most important details you’ll have on your LinkedIn page.
That’s because when users are searching for people like you, this is the information that shows up in their search. It’s usually this information alone that determines whether or not they want to connect with you or look at your profile further, and that’s why making a good first impression here is so important.
It all starts with your name. This obviously isn’t a place to get very creative, but you should consider adding any professional credentials, suffixes, and designations. Some common ones in the funeral industry are CFSP (Certified Funeral Service Professional), LFD (Licensed Funeral Director), and CCO (Certified Crematory Operator).
Below your name is your headline, and this is one of the most important things on your profile when it comes to being easily found. Be descriptive and use keywords that people search for, like “funeral director,” “embalmer,” “preneed specialist,” or “funeral home owner.”
You don’t have to list just one title — in fact, if you wear multiple hats, it’s best if you list everything that you do so that no matter what people type in the search bar, they are able to find you. Just don’t get too carried away — your headline has a limit of 120 characters.
As an aside, it’s not necessary to put the name of the funeral home you work for in your headline — that will automatically show up in the search results as your current position. But if you want to put it in there, it certainly won’t count against you, especially if you’re the owner.
Below your name and headline is your location and industry, which is pretty self-explanatory — it’s just another way for people to be able to find you in their searches.
The major issue here is that LinkedIn lacks the option to choose funerals or death care as an industry, which means you have to find an industry that’s similar. Funeral directors on LinkedIn choose all sorts, but one of the most common and reasonable choices appears to be Individual & Family Services.
At first glance, this section seems pretty self-explanatory — you should put whatever contact information you feel comfortable putting on the internet, like your email or work phone number. You can adjust your privacy settings so that only connections see your contact information, as well.
The most useful part of this section, though, might just be the websites. You can put up to three websites in your contact information section, and you also can customize what these websites are called.
When you enter a website, select “Other” rather than the list of pre-made responses, and you’ll be able to name your website whatever you want, as long as it’s under 30 characters. Instead of “Company Website,” you can put the name of your funeral home if it fits, or simply put “Funeral Home Website” and then link to your funeral home’s site.
Another consideration is to link your funeral home’s Facebook page, and name it “Follow Us on Facebook” or “[Funeral Home Name] on Facebook.” You can add up to three websites, so the funeral home website, funeral home Facebook page, and any personal sites or blogs would all be great options.
Another great thing you can do for your LinkedIn profile is setting up a custom URL rather than the one you automatically get. To do this, mouse over your current URL — which can be found beneath your profile picture on the “edit profile” page — and click the gear symbol that appears.
You’ll be taken to your public profile, and to the right you’ll see the option to edit your public profile URL. The ideal URL would be your name — if it’s not available, try adding an underscore, dash, or period between your first and last name, or a middle initial.
If nothing works, try adding a number to the end of your name, but there is always a chance that your name has already been taken as a URL by others with the same name. If you can’t use it, just try to use something that is as professional as possible.
Your LinkedIn profile is a lot like a resume, but you can get a lot more in-depth about who you are as a professional as well as what you’re passionate about.
First up is your summary, which should be a highlight of all your experience and expertise — consider it your elevator pitch. This is where you give your visitors a description of who you are as a professional, and tell them what makes them want to connect with you.
Your summary is a great place to brag a little bit. Don’t overdo it, but you should definitely mention your accomplishments here — awards you’ve won, years in the profession, organizations you’re a part of, etc.
Below your summary is the rest of your profile, which is set up very similar to a resume. Here, you should include all of your relevant work history and education just like you would with a resume — include job titles, locations, and descriptions of your work, as well as where you attended school and what degrees you have received.
Your skills section is another great tool people use to determine if you are worth connecting with. You should list as many skills as you find appropriate — funeral directing, event planning, grief counseling, public speaking, etc. — and put them in the order that you think makes the most sense for you by dragging and dropping the skills you add.
Another great section for funeral directors is the organizations section — here you should include any membership you have in funeral-specific organizations such as NFDA, SIFH, or ICCFA, as well as any local organizations you are part of such as Rotary, Lions, or Kiwanis.
Including organizations, even local ones, can mean a talking point for people who want to be a part of your network. People generally try to find something they have in common to get the conversation started, and this is a great way to offer that. The same goes for any interests you list in the additional info section.
Building a Network
Once you’ve completed your profile, it’s time to build your network.
To start, you should search for colleagues you already have working relationships with. When you find them, simply click “connect” and wait for them to accept your connection request.
Once you’ve connected with the people you already have established relationships with, you can start looking for people to build relationships with. Try searching for other funeral directors, or members of organizations you are a part of, and ask them to connect.
Unlike with people you know, though, reaching out to people you want to meet requires a different approach. The best way to go about doing this is to go to their LinkedIn profile, click connect, and then personalize the message so that they know why you want to connect with them.
The message doesn’t have to be very long — in fact, you’re limited in space — but simply explaining who you are and why you’re requesting their connection goes a long way. You’ll stand out more than someone who simply sends a generic connection request.
Aside from manually searching for people, another good way to find and make connections is by becoming a part of a group on LinkedIn. Groups are a great way for people with common interests to share ideas and news, and there are plenty of groups on LinkedIn for funeral directors, such as Funeral Service Insider, NFDA, and more.
Recommendations and Endorsements
Once you’ve built your connections, it’s time to start worrying about recommendations and endorsements.
Endorsements are the easiest to obtain, because all a person has to do is click the plus sign on one of your skills on your profile. Each time someone does this, the blue number next to that skill grows, and people can then see that others feel you are proficient in that particular skill.
One of the easiest ways to get endorsements is by going onto another person’s profile and endorsing them, because they will likely feel compelled to return the favor. But this doesn’t always work, so sometimes you may have to reach out directly to connections you have a good relationship with and ask for endorsements. You should offer to endorse them in return.
Recommendations are a bit more involved, and you should only request them from people who know you well and have seen your abilities firsthand.
If you want them to recommend you for a specific skill, be sure to mention that to them upfront. It is usually helpful to tell them what you are hoping to achieve with this recommendation so that they can craft a message for you that works for your goals.
As with endorsements, it is always a good idea to return the favor.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool no matter how you use it, but there are ways for you to make the most out of it. Hopefully this guide has helped you get started, or taught you a thing or two if you already use LinkedIn.