: Create a 100% complete LinkedIn Profile | Sept. 2011 Bright Ideas Blogzine
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Bjloggingj Bistro | March 2011
How to customize your LinkedIn Profile
When people ask me what my favorite social network is, they assume I'll answer, "Facebook" or "Twitter." But I have a soft spot for LinkedIn.
With its enticing array of intuitive tools, LinkedIn is ideal for networking with fellow business professionals and for job hunting.
In my next few newsletters and in posts on BloggingBistro.com, I'll introduce you to my favorite LinkedIn features. But first things first. Before you begin making LinkedIn Connections or joining Groups, you should complete your profile 100 percent.
According to the folks at LinkedIn:
"Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn."
A thorough profile helps you connect with others in your network, and makes it easier for potential employers to find you.
Definition of a 100% Complete Profile
A "complete" profile includes:
your current position
two past positions
your profile summary
a profile photo
at least three recommendations
Let's review how to optimize each of these components.
Customizing Your Profile
If you haven't yet created a LinkedIn account, go to linkedin.com and sign up (it's free). Once you're logged in, click the "Profile" tab and the "Edit Profile" link. At this stage, you're going to be customizing your personal profile, as opposed to creating a Company page.
I browsed through my 300 LinkedIn connections (known on other social networks as friends, fans or followers) and discovered that 11 percent of my connections don't display their photo. For shame!
We live in a visual society, and first impressions do count. So rather than displaying the default "mystery man" image, upload a crisp, clean picture that plays up your professionalism.
Your profile image is limited to a thumbnail-sized 80 by 80 pixels, so choose a shot that features your face.
To the right of your profile photo, you get 120 characters to strut your stuff. Most of my connections' headlines say, "Manager at Company XYZ" or something similar.
I opted to get more mileage out of those 120 characters; I optimized my headline with descriptive, searchable keywords: "Business Blogging & Social Media Specialist, Content Writing Services, Website Design, BloggingBistro.com."
Current Position and Two Past Positions
When you're customizing this section, think, "resumé." Recycle the best keywords from your profile headline and detail your role at the companies for which you've worked.
If you're currently unemployed, list your current position as "Open to opportunities" or use descriptors such as "entrepreneur" or "independent professional." Or use generic terms such as "writer" or "speaker."
Include your school name, degree earned, field of study, dates attended, activities and societies, and additional notes.
LinkedIn is a professional network, so resist the temptation to brag that you were your fraternity's "tequila shot champion" or that you were taken into custody by the campus police for decorating your dorm's bathroom walls with graffiti.
This is another area most people neglect to customize. You can add three websites. By default, LinkedIn titles those links "My Company," "My Website," and "My Blog."
But you can easily change the anchor text for those links to the name of your company or to a page that links to a free download you're offering.
To customize each link, click "Edit" next to each link. From the dropdown menu, choose "Other" and then enter a custom name for your link. Then enter the URL of the link.
Profile Summary and Specialties
This area showcases your professional experience and goals. LinkedIn suggests you include "what you've done, what you're doing, and what you want to do."
I recommend writing this section in third person, so it sounds professional and objective. At the end of this section, add a list of searchable keywords that highlight your skills, service, and experience.
The point of customizing your profile is so others can find you, so be sure to check the button that makes your profile visible to everyone, and then select specific details of your profile that you want to display publicly.
Finally, customize your profile's URL (web address). Substitute the long string of letters and numbers LinkedIn automatically assigns with your first and last name. My profile URL, for example, is linkedin.com/in/laurachristianson.
Next month, I'll explain how to round out your profile with those all-important recommendations, and we'll explore additional profile customization options.
Wherever you're at in the profile-creation process, remember to polish your profile on a regular basis. Social Media Coaching
If the thought of setting up a LinkedIn account and customizing your profile gives you the heebie-jeebies, call us at 425.244.4242. We'll set it up for you. We also provide one-on-one coaching to help you make the most out of your social marketing. Contact us now: email@example.com
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