MUST Have’s for your LinkedIn Profile

Tweaking Your LinkedIn Profile to Drive Quality Traffic & Get Exposure

This afternoon I held a webinar on improving the quality of traffic on your LinkedIn Profile. This is the first webinar in a series on LinkedIn and it focused on maximizing your LI Profile as one tool in your networking toolkit. I thought it might be beneficial to those of you who weren’t able to attend this Lunch & Learn webinar to share the tips here.

A year ago I had 150 connections, today I have 3,700+ 1st Connections and 17,800,000+ Professionals in My Network. Week after week, I am in the top 1% of profiles viewed. Bottom line, I’m getting 100-250 views of my profile each day – how many are you getting? I have had many bumps & bruises this year amassing these Connections but I have attracted new contacts that have translated to both personal & Corporate Clients. I hope these suggestions help shorten your LI learning curve.

This will show you how to: 1) Tweak Your LI Profile to Use as a High Quality Networking Tool; 2) Increase Your Connections; 3) Get More Interest in Your Profile; 4) Develop Quality Connections; and 5) Attract Quality Opportunities.

The Must Have’s for your profile start with – You, because your LI Profile is all about YOU! It’s important that all the choices you make for your Profile reflect YOU, not someone else’s view of you but what you want to project to other professionals (aka your professional brand). I’m going to start at the top of a LI Profile and work my way to the bottom as I share specific strategies.

Your Picture: Make sure it’s clear and conveys your ‘brand’. I’m a jeans gal so I don’t fit into the stereotypical HR professional who’s clad in a suit and heels (sounds very uncomfortable to me!) My picture reflects my focus on living life with laughter and hopefully conveys that I’m an approachable coach. I’ve seen many profiles that include other family members, a pet or an inanimate object. Use a picture that gets across the message you want for yourself – there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Keep in mind LI is not Face Book, Twitter or Instagram and should be a tool you are using to grow and develop your professional network.

Your Tagline: This is the space directly under your name and can (and should) be frequently updated. Here are 3 ways to use this area: first, you can add in half a dozen descriptive key words; second, you can list your role & organization and third, you can provide a Call to Action! At different times depending on what I’m working on, I adjust my tagline between these three. Currently, I have descriptive key words listed so when someone does a Search and is looking for a Workshop Presenter or a Career Transition Coach, my profile will come up in their Search.

Contact Info: This section gives you the ability to share numerous ways to contact you from your Twitter handle to home address (if you are that brave!) to Company website. It doesn’t matter which of these you add in but make sure you add at least ONE way to reach you. I can’t tell you how many profiles I’ve seen that have no contact information at all and it becomes a roadblock for getting new Connections. Without contact information no one can reach you except a Premium member who is willing to use one of their limited InMail’s. Why would you have a Profile and not want to communicate with people in the LI Network?

Customize your LI URL: Above the Summary area is a unique URL to reach your LI Profile. Mine is www.linkedin.com/in/lizbeardmore/ and while it includes my maiden name, I’m fine with it because sometimes I go by Liz Beardmore daRosa. However, if I wanted to update it to daRosa I could do that by selecting the Edit tool next to the URL. Check your URL and make sure it only lists your name not www.linkedin.com/in/firstlastname/23#4/tb1. Job searchers are adding the link to LI on their resumes, why not include a link that is simple? Don’t make it difficult for someone to find you!

Summary: This is where the substance of your Profile starts. You have 300 words to get across who you are in a nutshell. Focus on filling this space so you increase the chances of your Profile coming up in Searches. Write it in 1st person and make it personable. I’d suggest writing it as if you were telling a friend or new acquaintance about yourself/work experience. Make sure your personal style comes out just like with your choice of picture. I should be able to read your Summary and get a good idea about your personality and your expertise. Many folks looking at your Profile will only look at the Summary – make it count! This area should be descriptive and unique because it’s about YOU! Tell a personal story, explain why you got into the field, how someone influenced you or anything that will show someone looking at your Profile more about who you are. Another suggestion is to use this area as a Call to Action! List how you uniquely can fill a need, provide a product or service and tell them how to reach you. Be bold but genuine in this area. If you are passionate about what you do (and aren’t we all) it will come across like you are an expert so why wouldn’t they want to contact you for assist? Lead them to this…tell them how you can solve a problem they have and how to reach you, multiple times! To spice up this area you can use Emojis and/or Emoticons  (Note: I have found that colorful Emoticons are black & white unless you view the profile on a handheld device.)

Notify Your Network: On the right-hand side of the screen you can select Notify your Network with Updates. Turn that feature ON and keep it on! That way when you make updates to your profile your Connections will be notified. This will drive traffic to your Profile and get people to think about you & hopefully drive them to your Profile to find out more about you.

Experience: As with a traditional resume there is some debate about how many positions to include, how far to go back and how much detailed information to provide. One of the great features of the LI Profile is that you get to decide. I’d suggest providing at least 10 years of professional experience to show you are expert & accomplished in your field. Additionally, whether you list the job title or provide detailed information that’s up to you. My listings fall somewhere in the middle as I provide some detail as I feel the position warrants but I leave the super detailed information for my CV.

Recommendations: Informal recommendations have been something that has been relegated to calling someone’s references. This is a feature of LI that allows you to post recommendations from co-workers, supervisors, clients/customers, vendors, you name it. Use this feature to the fullest. Instead of asking for Recommendations from your Connections, write Recommendations for people and ask them to reciprocate. Most people will write one once they receive your Recommendation of their work. Be thoughtful & honest in your Recommendation and be specific. If you find you are writing recommendations but not receiving them back there is a “Remind” feature as well as one to remove a Recommendation you have given.

Languages: If you live in the U.S. you don’t need to list that you are fluent/native proficiency in English – that’s assumed. There is no need to list something in every box provided on the LI Profile. Be selective about what you share and make sure it reflects the brand you want to project. My husband lives in the U.S. and is an American citizen but was born in the Azores and didn’t learn English until he was in high school in Gloucester, Mass. He lists English Proficiency on his profile, in this case I think that’s appropriate. People tend to assume if you live in the U.S. and have a profile written in English that you are proficient in English.

Advice for Contacting: This is another place to include contact information – take advantage of it! Sometimes when I’m looking at many profiles in one setting I may look quickly at the Summary and then scroll to the bottom to see Education and end at Advice for Contacting. Don’t make people hunt for your contact information because they won’t do it. Only provide the method of contact you feel comfortable sharing but provide something!

Websites: LI is a way for you to be a shameless self-promoter. If you blog, list the blog. If you have a personal website and you want to share it, include it here. If the organization you work for has a web presence, include it. These are different ways for people to see more about who you are – remember it’s a professional networking tool.

Skills & Endorsements: You are allowed up to 50 skills – max that out! If you need to write in your own, do it! Strategically organize them with the top 5 as those you want to have the most endorsements. Get endorsements by giving endorsements. Freely give out endorsements. Remember LI is a networking tool for everyone who’s on it. Help your colleague’s network and they will help you!

Driving Quality Connections

Share an Update: This can be done in several ways; 1) Share a link to existing content; 2) Offer a Thought, Insight, Pose a Question; or 3) Update your Profile. When you share an update it goes to your Connections and they see your Profile picture – this puts you out there. Make sure the information you are sharing reflects the brand you want to project and is in-line with your expertise. Frequency: Do this at least 3x/week on Weekdays.

Like and/or Comment On an Update: Support your Connections by liking or commenting on something they’ve Shared. This is also a way to show your interests and expertise especially when you choose to Comment On an Update. Be selective as sometimes Connections may share something that you feel is better suited for another form of social media. Don’t get into an argument about the appropriateness of a post (usually it’s a picture) – ignore it! Too often I see a battle of wits from people commenting on a picture shared by someone in their Network – this is a waste of energy to me so I’d advise against engaging in it. Be involved in the content that is meaningful to you and reflects your passions and expertise. Frequency: Do this daily on Weekdays.

Join Groups: Search the LI Groups area for groups already formed that suit your professional interests. Join them and actively participate. There are some groups that are Closed groups so you will need to request permission to join and the group will get back to you after they review your LI Profile. If you don’t fit the criteria of their group (i.e. you aren’t a veteran, you aren’t a police officer) you won’t be granted access. However, there are plenty of groups to become involved in so if you find there is a group or two which is Closed to you find another group to join or create your own Group!

None of these suggestions provide a foolproof way to 3,000 Connections overnight but if you practice these suggestions you will see results by increased traffic on your Profile and quality connections which should lead to better opportunities.  All networking takes time and LI is no different. So feel free to sit around in your pajamas while surfing LI or post updates while waiting for a table at a restaurant. Maximize the networking power of your Profile by making changes to it and how you engage with your Network.

After you implement these suggestions, send me a message & ask me to review your Profile. I’ll gladly give you my suggestions on improving it so you can get what you want (i.e. more interviews, more customers…) out of it.

Let me know how I can support you! Liz

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