Having a robust LinkedIn profile is the key to building a solid foundation on which to grow your network. Your LinkedIn profile might be the first impression you make on a prospect or contact, so it is important that your profile is complete and compelling.
LinkedIn created the Profile Strength meter that is on the right side of your profile to gauge how robust your profile is. The strength level will increase as you add more content to your profile. Achieving All-Star profile status isn’t nearly as daunting a task as it may seem. We’ve outlined 7 easy steps to help you improve your profile strength and make the most out of LinkedIn.
According to LinkedIn, adding a profile photo makes your profile 7x more likely to be found in searches. Profiles with no photo are perceived as incomplete or dormant and are less likely to be viewed. Using the wrong type of photo can be even worse than having no photo at all. Avoid photos with pets, kids, significant others and anything that could be viewed as inappropriate for business. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional networking site for business, so use a photo that reflects a professional business image.
You have 120 characters in your headline to quickly tell people what you do. Don’t just use your job title, include the areas of expertise for which you wish to be known and found in searches. Using brief, informative and compelling keywords will help people find you and will lead to more profile views. Make sure you tell people what it is that defines your personal brand. Also, be sure to include the industry you work in and your geographic location under your headline as well.
The summary section of your LinkedIn profile is your professional elevator pitch. It is a way to describe who you are, what you do, what you have done, what you are passionate about and what makes you unique. One thing to keep in mind is that this is your personal profile, not your company’s profile. People are on your page because they are interested in learning about you, so be sure to distinguish yourself from your company. Also, your LinkedIn profile isn’t a formal resume, so avoid sounding like one in the summary. Make your summary personal and conversational. Tell stories and paint a picture of yourself, but remember to keep it professional. It goes without saying, but be sure to proofread your summary before posting to your profile.
LinkedIn states that having your 2 most recent positions makes your profile 12x more likely to be found. Be sure to include a description with your current position and at least list 2 or more previous positions. Also, include any board or volunteer positions that may be of interest or value to your network. Since it isn’t a resume, don’t go overboard with previous work history details and accolades. A simple summary and some top accomplishments should suffice. Unless you are a recent graduate with very little experience, avoid adding jobs you had in high school or college. If you’ve been out of college for a while, listing internships is probably unnecessary.
The skills and expertise section of your LinkedIn profile gives you an opportunity to show specific and detailed areas of your expertise. You get to showcase all that you bring to the table, so avoid being too vague or general, but rather list specialties. Adding skills and expertise also gives your connections the ability to endorse you in those specific areas. At a minimum, you should include at least 5 or more skills.
Don’t forget to include education details in your profile. Add the higher education school(s) you attended, degree(s) received, specializations, awards and any details that are relevant to your professional profile. One of the ancillary benefits of adding the school you attended is that it allows your fellow alumni to find you and connect. If you didn’t finish a degree, you should still include information about your attendance. If you didn’t attend college, listing high school is preferred to listing no education details at all. Not including education details on your profile will cause your profile to be incomplete and could raise unnecessary questions.
LinkedIn requires you to have at least 50 or more connections in order to achieve a completed profile. But they have made it very easy to find and add people to your network. You can easily upload contacts from Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail, etc. by logging into your personal email and seeing who has a LinkedIn profile. Also, you can browse profiles of your coworkers, former coworkers and college classmates (remember step 6). One piece of often-ignored advice you should follow is to be sure to write a personal message when you send out invitations to connect. Try to give some context to your association as well.
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With a little bit of effort, you can easily complete your LinkedIn profile and achieve All-Star Profile Strength. A complete and robust profile helps you stay connected and extends your personal brand, as well as your business. Keeping your profile updated and fresh matters to LinkedIn. So be sure to update your profile regularly if you want to keep your profile strength score up. And don’t forget to proofread!
Be sure to read our article “You’ve Got a LinkedIn Profile, So Now What?” to learn about creating a powerful brand presence on LinkedIn.
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