Optimizing your LinkedIn profile to improve visibility is an important strategy when positioning yourself for short- and long-term career growth. LinkedIn is the recognized leader when it comes to business-related social media; but simply having a basic profile will not result in making the most out of this powerful networking tool.
Here are five things to look for to determine whether your LinkedIn Profile is providing the maximum punch:
- It is 100% complete with recommendations from your colleagues, superiors, and subordinates. Recommendations are a great way to enhance your personal brand and can dramatically increase your LinkedIn profile effectiveness.
- You have used brief paragraphs to share your information. Lengthy paragraphs are very hard to read online. On the other hand, if you have too many short bullets, this can require the reader to constantly scroll down and they may abandon ship. Aim for middle ground.
- Your photo is up to date (less than 3 years old) and looks professional. I once had a client who wanted me to put a picture of him holding his grandbaby on LinkedIn. I nixed that idea immediately and recommended he go to an inexpensive photo studio for a professional headshot taken in business attire. It was MUCH more effective. Kissing babies might work for politicians, but it does not work on LinkedIn. Think of your brand!
- Your headline is searchable. The default on LinkedIn places the title of your most recent position in the headline, unless you choose to edit. If you are in both sales and marketing, but your title happens to be VP of Sales, you may want to go in and change the headline to read Dynamic Sales and Marketing Executive or Vice President of Software Sales and Marketing. Think about what you might search for. The headline factors into the search results when recruiters and hiring managers look for candidates. Your profile is more effective when you achieve top ranking.
- You profile is available for public viewing. If you have changed your settings to keep your profile hidden change it back! If you have a profile that cannot be searched, this means others may not be able to reach out to you. I get requests daily from those who have read my articles, polls, or discussion topics. If my profile settings were too limited, these potentially valuable connections would not be able to reach out to me.
Now that you know the signs of an effective LinkedIn profile, how would you rate yourself? If you need to do some work on this, create a realistic plan. Save this article and make it a point to knock off one thing a week on this list until you have optimized your profile. Whether you are actively seeking a new opportunity or you are positioning your personal brand, you owe it to yourself (and your progressing career) to have the most effective LinkedIn profile possible.