Spring CleanUP for LinkedIN Profiles
OUR 12 STEP PROGRAM FOR GENERAL LINKEDIN PROFILE ENHANCEMENT - SPIFF YOURS UP FOR SPRING!
STEP 1: Professional Photo
This should be a "no-brainer" for any social network, yet we consistently receive inquiries and invitations from persons with no photo for us to associate with the name. This item is about credibility; with no photo, it leaves reviewers to wonder if "you" are really "you". Ensure the photo is current (within last 6 months but certainly no later than 1 year) as the person people will be interacting with and, hopefully, doing business. Please: no pets, no kids, no bikini/board shorts shots - this is your professional, personal identity to potentially millions of reviewers, so don't blow your "best visual foot forward"! To upload a photo, click settings and Profile photo; upload a personal yet professional picture, and be sure to set for "Everyone" to see it.
STEP 2: Branded URL
Set or change your LinkedIn Profile URL (e.g., www.linkedin.com/in/33669) to a vanity URL (www.linkedin.com/in/johnwooten) to maximize percentages of being discovered and increase connections and opportunities. This affords easier remembrance for yourself and others to refer to your Profile, as well as a clean and consistent rendering for email signatures, etc. Accomplish by clicking on Edit Public Profile Settings on the right or edit next to the Public Profile in your blue profile box.
*NOTE: our example above does not include a literal full name ("firstname, lastname") construction, which is ideal, as the exampled persons fullname was already taken on LinkedIn. Set your vanity URL before someone else claims it, or if unavailable set to something that can be readily understood to identify you and referenced for contact, interaction and business!
STEP 3: Professionally Branded Headline
This is the single greatest area of importance for your LinkedIn Profile: the Profile Headline. Updating this area should be taken care of immediately! Your professional branding continues in this area: make use of distinct keywords for search engine optimization that easily appeal and "term" what it is that you do professionally for those that find you within their searches, as their results are algorithmically matched to keywords utilized here (as well as the Summary and Job Descriptions, which we will get to later).
A few tips: begin polishing your Headline first by these starter activities. Start defining your Headline by jotting down initial keywords that directly correlate to what you do in your current role. We will give this a final polishing at the end, but this is a great place to start and helps get you thinking about your "definition" -
- Answer for yourself, "What is it that I actually do in this role?"
- Answer for yourself, "What do you have to offer in this role? What do you offer to a potential connection reviewing your profile?"
- Answer for yourself, "What makes you unique in this role, what differentiates you from others in your industry?"
- Answer for yourself, "What value do you bring in this role?"
- Answer for yourself, "What problems do you solve in this role?"
There are two strategies here for finalizing your Headline, each working equally well in our experience:
- Construct as "Title: Description" - e.g., "Information Management Consultant. Competitve Business Intelligence for a Global Economy."
- Construct as "Title: Keyword Enlistment" - e.g. "Information Management Consultant: Business Intelligence & Process Management, Cloud, Social Networks and E-Discovery" (reference sample image)
We generally opt for the second approach, simply because we feel it best optimizes our search engine potential, but as long as you supply these terms within the "Description" approach it gives your Headline a much more personal "look & feel". Further, we typically avoid using our literal Title here (e.g., "CEO"), instead using a more "descriptive" title (e.g. "Information Management Consultant") set of keywords that:
a) better serve in telling profile reviewers what it is you actually do, and
b) affords extra real estate for adding additional keywords to further enhance that all-important SEO. We leave the literal Title for our Job Description section, but certainly do not shy away from using it here particularly if it includes those must-have keywords.
Add in your geographic location, and select the Industry most closely aligned with your role, and you now have not only a clear and concise first public-glance offering, but a profile being set for showing up in results queues from searches. NICE!
STEP 4: Branded Summary (with Keywords)
Your Summary is the next limb on the importance tree. Reviewers finding your profile in searches will want to drill down in this area, so 'twould be well advised to take advantage of your chance to showcase. As with your Headline, this is a fertile landscape for planting keywords (note our consistent use of these terms in each section), but let's not sling them injudiciously just for the sake of cramming them in. They need to be relevant and cohesive in telling your story; otherwise, a reviewer may well begin looking elsewhere. Write like Poe, tell like Chekhov: be a good short story writer here, you want (and need) to captivate your readers. Work your Summary thoughtfully and thoroughly into your own "tell-tale heart" in giving your readers reason to take interest in you professionally.
STEP 5: Job Description (with Keywords)
Simple Rule: If you list a position you've held at a previous company, then provide a job description. Otherwise, do not enlist the position; it simply will not tell your audience anything and is therefore useless. We often wonder when seeing this type occurrence: did they despise this position? were they embarrassed by it? did something squirrely happen there? and results in a one-word feeling for us: incomplete... Don't leave it open to this type of interpretation (unfounded as they may be). If the description is empty or vacuous, it leads us to believe perhaps the activities performed at the position were as well, and "incomplete" is not what we need being thought of us professionally. Wouldn't it be better to stave off such interpretation? At minimum, you are losing invaluable real estate for search engine friendly keywords; be sure and advantage yourself here!
STEP 6: Contact Settings
Often overlooked, but it is of import to tie out how you want or need persons to contact you. While the decisions you make here are more of personal preference, strike a balance between privacy and interest traffic. Be selective with what opportunities you want to indulge. Identify your preferred contact email under Settings/Personal Information. The contact advice section is one of our favorites: this is your opportunity to both allay would-be spammers, clearly designate your intended purpose and usage of LinkedIn as well as fully completing your Profile. As with your job descriptions, do not leave it blank!
STEP 7: Profile & Status Updates
Rhyme nor Reason: remember this phraseology for a minute - we will circle back to it but want to emphasize it now. The great benefit and advantage of online communities is to knowledge share, so let's do exactly that. Within your Settings, opt for worthy profile and status updates to be shared with your connections and update your status frequently in providing the community with new ideas, articles of intrigue, noteworthy events and occurrences for your company or yourself, but a very special consideration needs to be enforced here: Rhyme nor Reason - have something relevant and timely in your status updates! There is nothing more annoying (and detrimental) to your reputation within social communities than a barrage of non-sensical postings and status updates - Quality over Quantity is absolutely the rule here. Two to three consistently great posts that are useful and insightful (debated using "inciteful" here instead, just to be wordsmithingly dangerous... twice!) to other members of a community are much better than two to three hundred that offer nothing more than frustration leading to feelings of harrassment by those subjected to incessant and irrelevant posts and updates. Keep it REAL, and keep it REAL GOOD and you will find that others actually LOOK FORWARD to your posts and updates ;p
- do NOT link your Twitter account and tweet items of irrelevancy to your network;
- keep your updates for about a once-per week cycle to maintain your relevancy in your industry without overdoing it.
STEP 8: Public Profile
Because your LinkedIn profile is indexed and searchable on major search engines, it will typically rank in the top 5 returns for searches conducted on your name. That should get you excited enough to index your profile and go public with it - option under Settings/Public Profile for Full View Recommended and select which items you want publicly viewable.
STEP 9: Meaningful Recommendations
The algorithm employed for LinkedIn to consider your profile "complete" has a requisite 3 professional recommendations to achieve 100%. Don't have any? This is the same degree of a "no-no" for us as not displaying your personal photo. Why? These recommendations can only work in your favor, so why don’t you have at least three of them? We typically advise clients to follow a "3-in-1 Rule" ici: minimum of 3 Recommendations total, and 1 for every position listed.
STEP 10: Value-Added Applications
LinkedIn has a great bevy of applications that both enhance your profile and the overall community. Take a gander at the Application Directory for ones that are of best use for you professionally, but here are a few of our personal favorites:
- SlideShare Presentations: "Share & Show" your speaking engagement slides or reports you have authored.
- Events: Publicize events you are attending and discover new ones. You'd be surprised how many business contacts we make this way!
- Tweets: Tweet your Tweeps - access the Twitter client directly from within LinkedIn, enabling your recent tweets to show right on your profile.
- Reading List: I read a lot, and am usually drawn to others that like to do so. Add personal flair to your LinkedIn profile by showing what you are currently, or recently have been, reading. This is a great way to connect with persons you may not have otherwise because of similar interests or just general intrigue in you as person - great application!
These apps not only provide additional, useful professional information, but they also give the community a deeper sense of who you are as a person and a potential employment candidate.
STEP 11: Become an Expert With LinkedIn Answers
Top of the Pops: This Week's Top Experts is a great way to share that big brain of yours! Members are able to both ask and answer questions here, with answering members achieving points for answers deemed "best" for a given question, ranking them as a "Top Expert." Networking is about meeting others, sharing knowledge and being of valued assistance; there is no better way than spending at least an hour or more (we typically strive for a minimum of two, stretching towards the daily maximum of LinkedIn posts here). Listen, Learn and Share. It is a great way to feel connected with others in what you do and provide them with a great assist; it never surprises us as to what we learn from fellow members here!
STEP 12: Use LinkedIn’s Resume Builder Tool
Fumbling with formatting? Vexed by verbiage? Resume writing, while some art does exist to it, needn't be a task taking untold hours. LinkedIn's Resume Builder is handy-dandy at getting that resume (curriculum vitae) spiffied for presenting. Choose your template, customize the content and get ready for your next job interview!