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Is your LinkedIn profile as effective as it could be? While you can see your “profile completeness” score on your profile page, it doesn’t measure profile effectiveness — how good your profile is at attracting contacts, generating leads and showing off your skills. Use this checklist […]

Is your LinkedIn profile as effective as it could be? While you can see your “profile completeness” score on your profile page, it doesn’t measure profile effectiveness — how good your profile is at attracting contacts, generating leads and showing off your skills. Use this checklist to ensure your profile is thorough, effective and updated.

  1. Use the name you’re known by. Perhaps your name is Robert, but most people know you as Rob or Bob. Or, for women, perhaps you worked under a maiden name for years. Use the name that most people know you by professionally. Cover all your bases by using your main name in your basic information and mention any other names elsewhere such as in the “Professional Headline” field, or in your recommendations.
  2. Upload a professional photo. It’s worth the price to use a professional photographer.
  3. Create an effective Professional Headline. Add a “Professional Headline” in the “Edit My Profile” page. This is a short bio that sums up what you do. Mine says, “Content Maven aka writer and editor behind meryl.net.”
  4. Pick the industry that best represents what you do. Alternatively, you could use your clients’ industry if they all come from the same one.
  5. Enter details for current and past positions. Highlight the activities that represent what you do or want to do by mentioning them first.
  6. Write a summary that highlights your most important business information. Keep your summary clear and to the point. Remember you can list details under “Current Position.” The point of a summary is to give people instant information on what you do. I’ve looked at various summaries, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. I used to have a bulleted list, but switched to a short paragraph. When I come across long paragraphs in the summary, I find them hard to read and follow. The shorter ones hold my attention and get the point across fast.
  7. List your web sites and blog. Rather than using the name of your web site and blog, use keywords that describe what you do. For example, I use “Writer for hire and blog” instead of “meryl’s notes,” the name of the blog.
  8. Add your Twitter ID. If you haven’t already, add your Twitter name.
  9. Request recommendations. It’s OK to ask people to recommend you, but make sure you ask the right people.
  10. Write recommendations. Writing recommendations can lead to receiving recommendations.
  11. Add applications to enhance your profile. If you have a blog, feed your blog entries into your LinkedIn account with one of LinkedIn’s applications. You can also turn LinkedIn into an online document collaboration platform.
  12. Send selected Twitter tweets to LinkedIn. While you can connect your Twitter account to your LinedIn profile, many of us tweet too often or tweet about things that would be irrelevant to our LinkedIn contacts. Instead, select just the tweets you want to show up in your LinkedIn profile by adding the hashtag “#in” to the tweet. You can turn on this feature in Twitter Settings.
  13. Select what to display in your public profile. People not connected to you can only see what you allow them to see by setting your Public Profile options. The more you reveal, the easier it is for people to know if they have the right person. Here, you can also set up your Public Profile URL, which shows up as to http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.

    LinkedIn Settings

  14. Review your settings. Though I’ve been on LinkedIn for a long time, I still run into new features and settings. Settings cover everything from profile views and email notifications to personal information and privacy settings. You can provide advice on how people should contact you on the Contact Settings page. Mine says, “Email is the best way to reach me.”

What tips do you have for creating an effective LinkedIn profile?

  1. Great tips to remember–thanks. LinkedIn is so powerful to help find people and in asking questions and getting answers. It has so many untapped facets–a great app!

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  2. Excellent article…it is very coincidental that I did an internet radio show with @Animal just yesterday morning on this same topic! That being said, although I believe you have a good list, I can’t place enough emphasis on the branding of your Professional Headline. If someone is looking for you, that is what appears in search results and thus will influence that person to check out your LinkedIn Profile or not.

    Looking forward to your future LinkedIn posts!

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  3. Yes but did you take a look at their terms?
    They violate every copyright, patent and trademark law in the books.

    It’s one of the most illegal terms of service in the history of the internet. Sign up there as an artist and few companies will hire you to lead any big projects since you won’t own your work.

    I’m surprised the web worker daily is promoting a website that has some “frickin evil” terms of service to put it nicely.

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  4. great article and advice. Linkedin is an excellent place to hae a professional profile.

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  5. Good set of recommendations.

    If you take step #10 before you take step #9, you may have fewer recommendations to ask for as you should get some in return already;-)

    I agree with Neal on the personal brand suggestion – and have written about that a number of times on my own site. As author of your profile, you are significantly influence what others think of you, so why not offer them your personal brand instead of a random collection of facts about yourself?

    I’m not sure what Jenna is commenting on – LinkedIn clearly has to have permission to store and share everything that you upload about yourself – or they wouldn’t be able to share that with others. You aren’t going to upload actual art/books/songs to your profile are you?

    Ok – I’ll be specific – don’t do that – then you won’t have much to worry about now will you?

    steve

    Steven Tylock
    The LinkedIn Personal Trainer
    http://www.linkedinpersonaltrainer.com
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevetylock

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  6. Great advise for the users who are facing bottle neck problems in modeling their profile

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  7. Great advise for the users of linked-in for making it more effective

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  8. Excellent post!

    I recommend the job hunters view LinkedIn as a “live” resume. And, I have 3 additional tips, the last two specifically for job hunters:

    1 – If your name is easily or often misspelled, add a section to your Summary entitled: “Common Misspellings of My Name” (or something similar so people know you are doing the misspellings on purpose), and list them. Then, people who spell your name wrong when searching LinkedIn for you will find you.

    2 – If you are unemployed, do NOT put “Unemployed” in your professional headline. Follow the above advice about a short bio. Unemployed is a temporary situation, not who you are.

    3 – If you are unemployed, put your job search email address in the Summary section so recruiters can contact you easily.

    You’ll find those tips and more information about using LinkedIn and social media for job search in articles on Job-Hunt.org.

    Regards,
    Susan

    Editor/publisher Job-Hunt.org
    http://www.job-hunt.org
    Twitter – http://twitter.com/@JobHuntorg
    LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/susanjoyce

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  9. @Susan:

    I wanted to comment on and thank you for your excellent advice to supplement this blog post. I actually look at a LinkedIn Profile as being more accurate than a resume. I have written a few blog posts that complement your advice that readers of this article might also be interested in:

    Is Your LinkedIn Profile More Accurate Than Your Resume?
    http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/07/21/is-your-linkedin-profile-more-accurate-than-your-resume/

    LinkedIn Branding Tips: Should I Indicate on My LinkedIn Profile Status Update That I am Unemployed?
    http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/06/18/linkedin-branding-tips-for-unemployed/

    As for your suggestion for misspellings of your name, while it makes perfect sense from an SEO perspective, I believe that if someone is looking for you and has a good idea of your name, they will be able to find you. Think about it: they probably googled you or know a little bit about where you live, what company you worked for, industry, and/or profession. What is more important is that they find you when they search for someone of your skill set…that is where I would put my LinkedIn Profile SEO emphasis.

    – Neal Schaffer (http://www.linkedin.com/in/nealschaffer)

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    1. Neal – SEO is what it’s all about. I strongly agree with the keyword terms for someone who is searching LinkedIn using keyword skill set terms. The tips in this article cover those points (industry, current position, etc.) without calling them out as SEO.

      But, what if someone met you, lost your business card, and is trying to use LinkedIn to reconnect? Make it easy for them to find you!

      Wonder how many people have left the “c” out of your last name or spelled “Neal” as “Neil” and not found YOU? You don’t show up in my LinkedIn search results if I spell your last name “shaffer,” and if I search on “neil shaffer” even more names show up. None of them are you.

      So, my recommendation is that you don’t skip this particular bit of personal branding.

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  10. [...] helps to have a short, medium and long version of your bio. While you’re at it, review your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles to ensure they’re up to [...]

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