I was recently preparing a presentation on how to optimize your LinkedIn presence and when I snapped some screen shots of my own profile, it was a big wakeup call. Sad to say, there were several “must have’s” I didn’t have. It was time to do some spring cleaning on my profile and I thought you might appreciate a checklist of things you can do to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
It’s easy to get busy and neglect your LinkedIn presence (I’ve already admitted my guilt), but a network with over 500 million business professionals deserves to be a priority for all of us. Ideally, you’ve been updating your profile regularly. If so, this checklist will probably be a quick run through. If you haven’t touched your profile in a while it may take a little more time. The good news is that once it’s fully updated, future clean-ups will go much faster. Try to set a reminder to revisit your profile every quarter.
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How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile:
- Header. Directly under your name you see a short (120 characters) sentence. For many people this is their job title or current position. It shouldn’t be. This is prime real estate and it’s searchable. Use it to make a statement and help you get found. What should be there? Answer the question – what do I do that can benefit the viewer of my profile? LinkedIn even has an article on headlines that work to give you some inspiration.
- Your Summary. Also searchable on LinkedIn and Google, the summary is just that—a summary of what you do and your expertise. It’s 2000 characters all about YOU! When writing this description, avoid a listing of your jobs or simply copying and pasting your resume. You have that below the summary. Instead, think about your audience. Who are you trying to reach and what do you want them to know about you? What value can you bring to them? Why should they want to connect or reach out? You can (and should) pull in your best experience. Read it and make sure it is still relevant. Don’t skip this step.
- Media. When you edit your summary, you’ll have the opportunity at the end to upload media—including documents, photos, and video. Use this space! It adds credibility when you can actually show people what you do. I’ve used my space to share articles and eBooks I’ve published. Make sure you have current and updated pieces listed here.
- Your Contact and Personal Information. When you are updating your profile, you might need to scroll down a bit to see this section so there’s a tendency to forget it. This is where you add your basic contact info with up to three websites.
- Your Experience. This is probably the easiest of all sections. Just check in and make sure the experience section is updated with correct information for jobs and years.
- Featured Skills and Endorsements. Start your spring cleaning by making sure the skills you have listed are still relevant and up to date. Delete ones that aren’t relevant anymore (or use dated terminology) and be sure to add any new skills you’ve picked up. Once you have the right list, you can ask any of your connections to endorse you. A best practice is to message them asking what they would like to be endorsed for, and then ask them to endorse you for the key areas you are targeting. A much simpler way to do this? Endorse your connections and a good percentage will endorse you back. You can also re-order your featured skills (just edit that section and drag and drop) to bring your most important skills to the top.
- Recommendations. I’m going to confess, this was a blank section of my profile. One of the most important pieces and I had nothing there! I’m building that section up now and will be updating it regularly. When looking for new recommendations, be deliberate and look for recommendations that align to the rest of your profile. If you say you’re a B2B social media expert, recommendations that talk about your direct mail experience are probably not the best so it’s okay to delete recommendations as well. You’ll also want to make sure the people you are asking are truly happy with your work and willing to take the time to write a recommendation. People are busy so consider making it easier on them by offering to write one for them and they can just approve it.
- Accomplishments. Frequently overlooked, the accomplishments section allows you to add several different items including publications and certifications. Update this when you publish an article, receive an award or a new certification.
- Banner. LinkedIn suggests changing your banner every six months. Personally, I think once a year is good and probably more manageable for most of us. Ask whomever is in charge of your company’s LinkedIn banner to share it so employees can add it to their personal profiles.
One additional tip. Don’t overlook the value of updated profiles throughout your company. People are looking and do notice. Your personal LinkedIn profile can reflect on the business as well so consider investing in training or a bi-annual “drive” to get everyone’s profile updated.
Bookmark these tips or, better yet, go optimize your LinkedIn profile right now! It’s worth the time and effort.