LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and launched May 3, 2003. Remarkably, it has aged well and managed to remain dominant against competitors that just never seemed to measure up. Acquired by Microsoft in 2016, this professional networking site has been a staple for establishing and expanding corporate and personal brands in over 200 countries. Recruiters and hiring managers recognize the power of LinkedIn and perhaps, you do too. However, when it comes to exploiting the value of this tool, I’m guessing your LinkedIn profile comes up short.
Content boosts your LinkedIn profile
Because it’s been around for nearly two decades, LinkedIn offers a formidable network that you can take advantage of. However, you must respect the purpose of the channel and devote considerable thought to what you present to others. Importantly, your LinkedIn profile will focus on your skills, experience and expertise while feeding relevant information to the site’s search algorithm.
Your picture and recommendations build trust and confidence
Your smiling face with a single-color background is the professional recommendation by Carol Kaemmerer, author of "LinkedIn for the Savvy Executive." Also, she suggests the tone of the picture should be authentic, warm and approachable. Additionally, you can live large with pictures in the Featured section, which is new over the past two years.
Professional recommendations are powerful endorsements and add credibility. Crucially, these endorsements embedded in your LinkedIn profile can influence your prospects and feed your pipeline. As Kaemmerer says, “Don’t play small.” There’s no such thing as too many LinkedIn recommendations, and this section allows plenty of characters.
Fill the available sections and exploit keywords
Remember, LinkedIn is a search engine. Therefore, when someone enters a search term, your profile can rise higher the more times that term is detected in your content. Fortunately, there are many sections for you to use. For example, the About section allows 2,600 characters. Seriously, that’s five or six paragraphs for you to write passionately about what you know, like and trust. This lets your audience get to know you through your LinkedIn profile and why it matters to your prospects.
Grow your network exponentially
The more 1st level connections you have, the larger your network becomes. LinkedIn’s search algorithm benefits people with a large network (500+ 1st level connections). Therefore, growing your network to this size increases the likelihood of your LinkedIn profile being viewed.
Understand your audience. Know your purpose.
With more than 530 million members worldwide, LinkedIn’s presence is universal. However, your objective should be defined by your professional goals. Therefore, you need to focus and commit. As C. Lee Smith, CEO of SalesFuel, said when interviewing Kaemmerer, “Write your profile for your next customer, rather than treat it like an online resumé.”
Do some spring cleaning on your LinkedIn profile
If you haven’t visited the settings on your LinkedIn page for a while, now is a good time to do so. Also, take a minute to scan for outdated information and look at the new features offered. Find privacy settings on the right side of your profile and expose “Edit public profile & URL.” Here, you can assure you are showing all appropriate items. If you have acquired new certifications or skills since your last update, you can list them under Verified Skills badging.
The LinkedIn site is a great place to learn of new sections and features. For instance, Services is a new feature popular with consultants and freelancers to showcase their range of services. You’ll also see ways you can link with or share thought-leadership and develop a more active role in your network. All of these activities can help you take advantage of this powerful professional networking tool.
Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash
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