For anyone who is looking to build a stronger presence on LinkedIn and utilize the site to forge new opportunities.
LinkedIn is home to over 200 million professionals. Enhancing your profile can give you an advantage so that recruiters, consultants, entrepreneurs and hiring authorities can’t resist connecting with you.
LinkedIn is not a place for social networking; it is strictly for professional networking and for staying informed about your contacts and industry. It’s a place where you can exchange information, ideas and opportunities.
As the website says, LinkedIn is to reconnect with your past and present colleagues and classmates; it is to help power your career; and it is to share advice and expertise with other professionals in your industry.
With that said, here are some important insights I believe you need to be mindful of when fine tuning your LI profile:
1) Content/info: The first step in setting up an effective LinkedIn profile is taking your existing or most current resume and professional bio and filling in all the fields on your profile page – you can adjust the format later. The summary section on your LinkedIn profile is by far the most important piece of information there. It has your value proposition and your branding statement. It is prudent to research and identify the keywords and terminologies in your industry and include them in your profile. You can also make use of the summary section to identify your strengths and core capacities. The content in your profile must come across as compelling information presented in a grammatically correct and coherent way, so you must proofread your account. LinkedIn offers the opportunity to ask for recommendations or endorsements from your former colleagues. This can be a useful tool in providing evidence of real world experience and work ethics. Including your email or phone number is a personal call, if you want to be contacted via telephone or email leave that info in the top 1/3rd of your profile. Be clear on the reason you are on LinkedIn. Last but not least, please use a professional picture to represent you.
2) Drag to rearrange profile sections: Once you have all the pertinent information on your profile page, it is crucial that you organize it in the most relevant way for your target audience. The least known fact about LinkedIn is that on your profile page you can rearrange the boxes based on the most compelling piece of information about your professional life. For instance, if you are a recent graduate with little or no work experience, it might be in your favour to move the education box on top of experience. The idea is to draw attention to your strengths and not weaknesses. Most recruiters will glance over your profile at first, so make your profile stand out by simply dragging and rearranging sections of your profile to help differentiate your personal style.
3) Page Optimization: There is no cut and dry answer when it comes to page optimization but there are definitely highly recommended best practices that can help you get one step closer to a perfectly optimized page. LinkedIn public profiles can be found in searches on Google, Yahoo!, and other major search engines. Search Engine Optimization or SEO improves the visibility of your profile page in search engines. In other words, an SEO-friendly page on LinkedIn can help a recruiter find you easily in a search string based on your industry using a geographic location, remember that most recruiters look for talent locally. There are several ways to optimize the prominence of your profile page within these search results. Writing content that uses potential search terms and keywords relevant to your profession is the most common one. Using lists instead of paragraphs makes it easier to incorporate your keywords in an unseemly manner. You can also add links and format your keywords to stand out. Keep in mind that writing SEO-friendly content does not mean bad or incoherent content. While optimizing, you are still writing for human readers. Make sure that the content is unique and regularly updated. You can also utilize Search Engine Marketing or SEM tactics if you are hoping to drive some of your audience to your website. I recommend adding targeted keywords in your Skills Profile section, this will help with your SEO slightly and can also help influence people to connect with you.
4) Professional Branding: Customize your public profile URL, it is your real estate online. An intuitive and professional sounding public profile URL not only makes you easy to find and remember, it also creates a unique public identity for you in the virtual and real domain. By personalizing, you let those looking at your profile know that you are not only creative but you are also serious about your professional image. Make sure that once you set up your public custom URL, you don’t change it as the search engines will not pick it up quickly. If your name is taken, or it’s too long, consider referencing an email you already have or use a shortened URL, i.e.: your last name and first initial.
5) Company Branding: Customize your work website information by incorporating your company’s slogan or branding. For instance, If you work for Coca Cola, you might want to use “Open Happiness” or if you work for Nike, consider putting in “Just Do It.” If you are a small business owner, incorporating your company motto or slogan is an effective way of showcasing your branding statement.
6) And finally, I recommend you update your profile every three months at a minimum.
Check your “profile completeness” score on your profile page. While it does not impact the effectiveness of your profile, it provides a simple checklist to ensure your profile is thorough and updated. A professionally updated resume can provide a strong basis for your LinkedIn profile and make the whole process of setting up a profile not only effective, but also efficient.
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