12 Ways to Spice Up Your LinkedIn Profile

By: Viveka Tuesday August 14, 2012 comments Tags: LinkedIn Tips, profile development, LinkedIn Signal

LinkedIn Profile Tips

Its been awhile since I went over some basic LinkedIn profile tips, so I thought I would touch on some of the basics here and on the #LinkedInChat tonight

You can join the #LinkedInChat every Tuesday at 6 PM MST (8 EST) on www.tweetchat.com/room/linkedinchat.

1.  Treat your LinkedIn profile like a website:

Make sure it is formatted, clean and free of spelling and grammatical errors. There is nothing worse than trying to represent yourself as a profesional and have the word profesional spelled incorrectly! (Did you catch that?  Did it make you cringe?)

I have a LinkedIn profile questionnaire that I give my clients (you can download it at www.linkedin.com/in/linkedinexpert in the Box.net app).  Use either my questionnaire or a Word (Pages) doc in order to “catch” spelling and grammar issues.

You will also get a better idea of what your profile will look like on the LinkedIn website.  In some sections of LinkedIn you can also pull in bullets and special characters. (Use “insert symbol” to get characters like: ★✚⌘✔♪♯♯<>∧∨∞ ) Alas – still no bolding or italics other than what LinkedIn itself formats in your Profession (personal) profile.  You Company Profile now has more options in the Product and Service section.

Another bonus, if you’ve already created your profile in a Word document, sections of it can easily be copied into other social media platforms to keep your branding unified. 

2.  Know your keywords:

Like any website, LinkedIn’s internal search engines weigh your keywords heavily in its searches.  Make sure you place your most important search or keywords and keyword phrases strategically throughout your profile.  Some places you might want to consider are your

  • Professional Headline (120 characters)

  • Title Fields (100 characters)

  • Specialties (500 characters – if available)

  • Interests (1000 characters)

  • Recommendations

  • Education (Activities and Societies) 

3.  Keep your name clean:

Put only your first name in the first name field and your last name in the last name field.  If someone is searching for you by name, LinkedIn will have a hard time finding you if your last name looks like this:  Smith, PhD. John A. ([email protected]) LION 941-555-1555

Not only that, but it goes against LinkedIn’s EUA to have anything other than your name in the name field.  That is what got my profile blacklisted (un-findable under my keywords) resulting in my losing thousands of dollars worth of work. Learn from my mistakes! 

4.  Keep your photo professional:

Even if you clean pools for a living this is NOT appropriate!

I recommend a close-up and a smile. A full body shot of you and your family, you and your car, you and that fish you caught last week is unclear and unprofessional.

I have seen some artists use artistic renderings of themselves – which is clever if your image is still clear. LinkedIn doesn’t like logos.  In the end user agreement it states that if you are going to post a picture it MUST be your likeness.

Sexy photos are, quite simply NOT appropriate for LinkedIn.  Plus they look super spammy.  LinkedIn is not selling THAT kind of business!

5. Don’t ignore the “post an update” function:

LinkedIn’s update function is much more robust than it used to be (taking some tips from Facebook and Twitter).

People can now like, share and comment on your updates – which helps to build relationships within LinkedIn. You can also see people’s activity, so that, like Twitter, you can get a better idea of what really interests them and what they invest their time in.

Its easy to post to LinkedIn (homepage, groups and to individual members) using LinkedIn's Sharing Bookmarklet (that you can find under the "tools" link at the bottom of any page on LinkedIn.)  Just click on a page you want to share (say this post) and click on the "Share on LinkedIn) link that you will pull into your browser bar.  from there its simply a matter of writing an update, tweet, group discussion or message.

With the introduction of LinkedIn Signal, the update section can now be a functional part of your SME (Subject Matter Expertise) and content strategy.  Make sure you take a little time each day to “like” and “comment” on the updates of your network as well.

Finally, make sure you use Signal to monitor your own brand, your clients and your competitors.

6.  Personalize your public profile URL:

Make sure your public profile reflects your name, your business, or your area of expertise: www.linkedin.com/in/linkedinexpert

Nothing says, “I’m a LinkedIn neophyte” like a public profile that reads:  http://linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname9890734-akjshfiho


7.  Personalize your websites:

When you edit your website, the drop down menu gives you the option of  “other”.  By clicking on that, a new field opens up that allows you to type in your business name, website name, call to action, or description of your website.  So instead of “Company Website” or “Personal Website” this section can read “Social Media for Women” or “Click here: IP Legal Advice”

8.  Juice up your “Experience” section:

“Experience” is not your resume. Make sure the jobs you choose to list support each other. Make sure you put allyour keywords in the title section.

Use the 1000 characters in the Experience description section to tell people why they should hire you or your company or buy your product.  Tell a “save the day” story.  Put in a testimonial.

“Experience” is a great place to list “wins”, different companies you have helped, seminars or workshops you have presented, a mini-shot of your personal website.  Use this section as the foundation for your Company Profile

9.  List your “Additional Education”:

Make sure you list your certifications and licenses as well as traditional education. LinkedIn has now added new sections where you can list areas of expertise, publications, patents licenses and certifications.

10.   Get Recommendations:

Even though you no longer need 3 recommendations to have a complete profile (according to LinkedIn) I suggest getting between 10 – 15.

When you are asking for recommendations, provide a bulleted list of your skills, strengths and services so people will write a more complete recombination and not: “She’s nice”.

You might want to add some of the better recommendations to your website.  Ask for recommendations from thought leaders in your field, old employees, and well-known clients.

To see some great recommendations, check out Howard Lewinter’s profile at www.linkedin.com/in/howardlewinter

11.  Use Applications:

Every day LinkedIn is adding more useful applications.  You can embed up to 8 in your profile.

Take a look and see which ones will be most useful to you.  I recommend:

  • LinkedIn's  blogging apps (Blog Link or WordPress)

  • Box.net (To upload any type of file - this is where you can find my questionnaire)

  • Slideshare (to show Video)

  • Legal Updates and JD Supra if you are a legal professional

  • Amazon Reading List (especially if you are an author)

  • RoFo (If you are a realtor)

Also check out www.linkedinlabs.com

12.  Always be courteous:

LinkedIn is a business-networking site.  Be courteous.  Try to Answer Inmails, messages, and requests for introductions within 72 hours.  Remember your “Please” and Thank you”.  Help someone out and “Give” more than you “Get”

LinkedIn is a great place to get information, to get connections, to get clients, to get employees.  But follow the golden rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Don’t spam.  Don’t infiltrate email boxes with constant sales messages.  Instead share valuable information via your groups, updates and answers and let clients come to you.

Remember to join us on the #LinkedInChat to discuss these tips and much more.  We always have a lot of experts on the chat, so please feel free to ask any questions there, or showcase your own expertise!

About the Author: Viveka

Viveka is author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”.
CEO of Linked Into Business, she also hosts the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter.  Forbes has listed her as a top social media influencer for three years running, and she has been cited in Ragan, CNN, Forbes, Mashable, Simple Living, Bloomberg, LinkedIn's Small Business Site and "The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn, The Miami Herald, Social Media Today and The Social Media Examiner!

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