By Debbie Harris, MA, President

Every professional needs to recognize the importance of having a professional, fully optimized profile on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn has become the foremost social networking site for professionals to engage with each other; companies to look for talent and promoting business to business relationships.  In addition to Advanced Search capabilities in LinkedIn, your LinkedIn profile is often the first thing that comes up when someone Google’s you.  What impression are you making with your profile?

Is your picture reasonably current and professional?

  • Not with your cat/dog/child/grandchild or anything other than you?
  • Doesn’t have to be by a professional photographer but dress appropriately for your profession and remember you may be making a “first impression”.
  • It’s a head shot so keep that in mind.

Is ev­ery category completed?

  • Write a 2-4 line description for all your former occupations
    • Depending on your age, you may not have to go back to your high school, college or first job(s).
    • While your picture may allude to your age, unfortunately in some cases “age discrimination” can be a potential so use common sense.

Have you taken a customized URL for your LinkedIn profile?

  • Do so and put it on your email signature.

Is your contact information current and complete?

  • Under Website, click down to “Other” and list the name of your company in the box – be sure to include the full “http” website address so it is a live link.

Include all of your Organizations and Charitable work

  • If there are organizations/associations/charities that are controversial, you may not want to include them, i.e. longstanding member of the NRA but this is a personal choice.  While you may alienate some people, you may attract those that are aligned with your beliefs.  Just think before you put things down.

Write your Summary in the first person and use keywords for your profession/industry/products/services

  • Think about what someone might search under in LinkedIn or Google – it may not be the professional terms you would use but layman’s vocabulary.
  • LinkedIn doesn’t have “bullets” so use the “-“ or create your Summary in Word and then Copy and Paste using whatever formatting Word has.
  • Be specific about your product or service – don’t drone on about your life story – you want people to understand what you offer and how you can benefit them.

If you have a Disclaimer put it at the bottom in the “Advice for Contacting You” Section.

Fill in your Skills & Expertise – type keyword and click on all that come up and apply – you can add ones that aren’t there.

I do not Endorse people I do not know.  Remember your industry compliance regarding Endorsements and Recommendations.  You can shut off Endorsements or list them for the keyword benefit but manually remove the Endorsements you receive.

I do not give Recommendations to people I do not know and I am selective about Recommendations for people I know but not in a “business sense”.  There are ways to do that.

Connect with everyone unless there’s a reason not to, sometimes you may not want to connect with a direct competitor or former employer – you can shut off who sees your Connections so that competitors cannot see who is connected to you.  Don’t be a pig.  Limit the “People You May Know” that you connect with at one time.  Do just a few each time.

You may want to shut off the Activity Broadcasts so that while you are making changes to your profile, people are not getting constant updates about what you are doing.

Check your Privacy & Settings to be sure they are what you want.

You can now post Pictures/Logos and Presentations – I don’t put my presentations up but that is your choice.

Okay to ask for Recommendations – write a personal note and only ask from people you know would be happy to give you a recommendation and of course, reciprocate.

Use LinkedIn – you will get business from it and connect with strategic partners.

Groups are very important – think outside the “preaching to the choir”.

Bottom line, most people have a difficult time getting their profile optimized and understanding how to utilize LinkedIn.  It’s one of our primary services. 702-465-4082