New year, new LinkedIn profile!

I know I’m a little early, but I want you to start thinking about a business goal for the new year. In particular, consider: What is your professional online persona? How do you appear to colleagues and potential business partners? Are you making the most of connecting with your contacts?

A solid business goal to set for the New Year should be auditing and enhancing your LinkedIn profile.

An effective LinkedIn profile has four important elements:

A professional headshot.
A recent study revealed that your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed by potential recruiters than a profile without. If you’re a Mike Smith or Jane Anderson, it’s doubly important – your photo helps your contacts identify you among your many same-named counterparts. And if social media is designed to optimize self-expression, what does it better than a photo? (Just remember your goal and keep it professional.)

 

A descriptive headline.
When you create an account, LinkedIn uses your current job title as your headline. That isn’t always the most descriptive way to explain your work, but that is all someone will see if you come up in a search. Think of the most descriptive, yet brief, way to describe yourself. That is your headline.

 

A brief summary.
According to LinkedIn’s training tutorials, this should address three items: Your background, your passion, and information about the place you work. It’s best in the first person since it’s like a conversation between you and your readers.

 

Details about your work and educational history.
A lot of LinkedIn users list only their current job, and don’t provide any history before it. They also neglect to include their educational background. This leads to a lot of missed opportunities, whether you’re job hunting or if you’re a hiring manager, or if you’re an entrepreneur looking for new business opportunities. Most people do their research online well before they reach out to a business contact. If a recruiter has to dig too far to learn more information about you, that recruiter will probably move on. (Trust me – there are plenty of other candidates who have optimized their profiles, and recruiters are using LinkedIn to find them.) And if you’re trying to hire for a position as a manager, candidates want to understand what a career trajectory looks like. Your profile is an ideal way to demonstrate why someone would want to work with you, hire you, or follow in your footsteps.

 

Gerry Moran of MarketingThink.com has put together a great series of how-to blueprints, including the Blueprint for a Perfect LinkedIn Profile.

 

In future blog posts, we’ll talk about why LinkedIn is important for every professional.

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