Happy Year of the Dragon! The New Year vibe is still rolling, so I wonder if you’d like to keep-up the self-improvement kick and take a fresh look at your LinkedIn profile? Usually, I revisit mine about once a year. Last year, I pared down my rather long and complicated summary section.
I realized that in certain instances, less is more and simplified my statement. About every 12-18 months, I think it’s useful to make sure that my LinkedIn profile aligns with how I’m positioning myself and what I’m saying in the verbal package that is my elevator pitch. So let’s do a little housekeeping.
Purge the clutter
Comb through your job history and weed out or streamline whatever does not support and enhance your professional goals. Retain several years of your employment history, but limit non-aligned jobs to title, company and a one-sentence description of your responsibilities. Use you employment and volunteer experience to reflect your brand and professional aspirations.
The headline of your profile is the critical factor in search results. Choose your most relevant keywords carefully and add to your headline. Be mindful of the subtle difference between keywords that are vital for your business / career and terms that are frequently searched. If you provide services for a select market those keywords should reflect that market, even if they are searched less often.
Judiciously embed relevant descriptive keywords that are associated with your business category into your headline and summary sections. Visit Google Keywords Tool and identify popular keywords that will attract a sufficiently broad audience in local searches and then drill down to target your niche by discovering keywords that industry insiders might search.
Install Slide Share and upload a Power Point presentation to your profile that will communicate more specific details about your services. I use WordPress Blog Link to invite connections and visitors to my page to read weekly blog postings. I always write an excerpt that I hope connections will find tempting when LinkedIn Updates announces the arrival of a new post.
As of last week, visitors to my profile will now find the app that was rolled out just a few months ago, the Skills App. The nice feature about Skills is that you’ll receive data on groups that focus on that skill; companies where that skill is common; posted jobs requiring that skill; and the size and growth trends of other professionals who hold that skill.
Other free apps that may serve you well include Events, that will let connections know the meet-ups and conferences where you will speak; Portfolio Display, that allows creative types to showcase their work; and Reading List, that allows you to share with connections the professional development books you’ve read and get ideas on additional books that you might find useful. All of the apps will appear on your profile page.
Recommendations are testimonials that provide third-party verification of your expertise and further support your professional goals and brand. Ask a professional colleague who can vouch for your work to detail your contributions to a project that went especially well.
Specific, quantifiable information that highlights your impact on company objectives enhances your credibility and is more believable than effusive compliments that merely tell people how talented you are. Always return the favor and write a recommendation for those who produce testimonials for you. In fact, get the process started by “spontaneously” writing a recommendation for a colleague so that you can receive one in return.
LinkedIn is about creating and nurturing relationships, so do your part and engage in conversations. Congratulate your connections when an update comes through that heralds an achievement. When you invite someone to join your network, tell that person why you’re inviting them. When someone invites you, take the time to thank that person for his/her consideration.
Join groups appropriate for your skill set and goals and become known for posing good questions, leading discussions and sharing timely and useful information. Visit the “Answers ” forum and contribute thoughtful responses to questions that will allow you to showcase your judgment and expertise. Utilize the free resource that is LinkedIn to position yourself as a go-to resource in your niche.
Thanks for reading,