With 225 million members worldwide, 10-year-old LinkedIn is the social network for showcasing skills, job experience and education. LinkedIn’s recent redesign organizes your content in tidy modules and introduces options for uploading visual content.
In the olden days of LinkedIn (three months ago), the user’s goal was to create a “100 percent complete profile,” now known as an “All-Star” profile. Follow these 10 simple steps to achieve All-Star status.
Upload your business portrait. LinkedIn users routinely ignore connection requests from people whose profiles don’t display a photo. Claiming you don’t have a good enough picture of yourself is no excuse. If you want to be perceived as a professional, act like one. Invest in a business portrait session with a freelance photographer or photo studio. For around $150, you can obtain the rights to use your headshot in all your marketing materials.
Use your real name. LinkedIn’s database alphabetizes connections by last name followed by first name. If people know you by your nickname but you use your full name in a work environment, put your nickname in parentheses: Jonathan (Jon) Doe. It is acceptable to include a title such as Dr. or Rev.
Craft an enticing headline. After your name and photo, your headline is the single most-viewed element on your LinkedIn profile. The headline displays prominently on your profile, in search results, messages, groups, invitations to connect, company page employee listings and in popups when LinkedIn users hover over your image.
When you write your headline, ask, “What words and phrases would someone who’s searching for me use?” Highlight your expertise with those keywords in your 120-character headline. Make your profile searchable by entering your geographic location and industry directly below the headline.
Summarize your expertise and experience. You get 2,000 characters (a little more than half the length of this article) to introduce yourself. You can upload or link to portfolios, presentations, photos and videos from providers including Pinterest, Forbes, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, Scribd, Slideshare, Word and more.
Describe three job positions. In the Experience module, add your current position and two previous positions. As you begin typing your company name, LinkedIn auto-searches for a corresponding Company Page. When you select that Company Page, your profile will link directly to it and will list you as an employee.
Highlight your education. Outline educational experiences relevant to the position you seek or the industry in which you work.
List skills and expertise. In this “social proof” area of your profile, your connections can endorse you for various skills. To achieve All-Star rank, list at least three skills — you can enter up to 50.
Connect with at least 50 people. You must have 50 or more connections to earn All-Star status. From the Contacts tab, click “Add Connections.” You can instruct LinkedIn to upload contacts from your e-mail service provider to learn who has a LinkedIn profile.
Check your progress. To see how close you are to achieving All-Stardom, view the “Recommended for you” prompt in the upper right-hand corner of your “Edit Profile” tab. These prompts alert you about sections of your profile that lack content.
Rearrange sections. Grab the two-way arrow located at the top of each module and drag sections of your profile up or down. This allows you to highlight your most compelling attributes to people who are checking out your profile.
Laura Christianson owns Blogging Bistro (bloggingbistro.com), a Snohomish-based company that specializes in social media marketing, content writing and custom website creation. Contact her at 425-244-4242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.