LinkedIn Tips: Is your Profile a Star Performer?
With more than 200 million users, there’s a good chance you have a LinkedIn profile. So, you’re linked in, but are you standing out? Having a LinkedIn profile is a great way to promote yourself (and by association, your business or brand) while connecting with like-minded professionals and potential employers. You can make the most out of your LinkedIn profile by tailoring it to appear in queries and designing it with optimum performance in mind.
Think about keywords
Just like in a Google search, LinkedIn’s results are based on algorithms. If you want your profile to come up as a top search result, you’ll need to optimize it. As with webpages, you should first think of what keywords you want to lead to your profile.
Let’s say there’s a professional dancer who has taught ballet, ballroom, jazz, tango and Latin dance. She’s created a LinkedIn profile to connect with other professionals, and to find new opportunities to teach and perform. She’s focused primarily on tango and Latin dance. That means she wants to optimize her LinkedIn content for just that: Latin dance, tango and the words they are associated with. Throughout her summary and job descriptions, she’ll use the keyword: tango, the keyword phrase: Latin dance, and the keywords associated with Latin dance: salsa, mambo and cha cha, for example.
When inputting “Dance Teacher at Studio 5678″ in experience, she should make sure to also include a description underneath: “I specialized in teaching Argentine tango to advanced students, and choreographed tango, salsa, mambo and cha cha routines for performers. Five of my tango students went on to win national competitions.” Consider your job descriptions valuable space to insert keywords; don’t leave them blank.
The same goes for the summary. Our hypothetical dance teacher will want to highlight her experience, creating a well-written description of her dance accomplishments and interests, making sure to drop those words intentionally and naturally.
That way, when a potential connection searches for “tango dancer,” she’ll come up. So, when you think about your own LinkedIn profile, consider what words you want to come up for and implement them.
Another best practice is to forge connections. Have you noticed that your connections factor into your search results? As in, those who you know come up on or toward page one? That means the more connections (1st, 2nd and 3rd) you have, and therefore the more networks you are in, the more likely you will come up when in a user’s search.
In an effort to expand your network, allow LinkedIn to utilize your email account(s) to find contacts you already know. It’s also helpful to download the mobile LinkedIn app, which can take it a step further and use your phone book to find contacts. Using your already existing contacts is a great first step to building your connections.
Next, you’ll want to join groups. Your groups should serve as a connection tool, and as another area to highlight your professional interests. Let’s go back to our dance teacher. She can mouse over to groups, type in “dance” and she’ll find 1, 584 results, among them “Dance Industry Professionals Worldwide” and “Dance Teachers/Studio Owners.” If she types in “tango” she’ll discover “Argentine Tango & Business.” If she becomes a part of these groups, she’ll have more opportunities to interact with the like-minded professionals and potential employers she was looking for!
Joining groups will naturally lead to connections, while also further associate her with the keywords and phrases she is targeting. And in an ideal world, she’ll also learn more about her industry from the peers in her group.
But it’s not just about connections. You want to make sure your profile is testament to you, your work ethic and your skills. In addition to optimizing your summary and job experience, make sure you have a clear head shot that portrays you looking capable and confident (don’t ever leave your profile picture blank, and please avoid selfies and glamor shots).
It is also in your best interest to reach out to your connections and ask for recommendations and endorsements. Logging into LinkedIn and finding an endorsement is always a pleasant surprise, and sometimes your connections will do it on their own. But don’t be shy about politely asking for endorsements and recommendations if you’re deserving of them! And don’t forget to endorse and recommend others who deserve it; a job well done deserved to be acknowledged!
Finally, optimizing your profile doesn’t do much good if your visibility settings are set to private. My profile—and the activity associated with it—is visible to everyone. While LinkedIn is social, it is first and foremost professional. The content and information on your profile should be material you want the world to see.
In addition to your individual profile, LinkedIn offers company profiles, as well. Visit the Bruce Clay company profile or read more on optimizing company profiles in our LinkedIn for Business series.