A DIY LinkedIn Profile Audit Checklist
Set yourself up for professional networking success on LinkedIn
By Sandy Jones-Kaminski, Author of I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???
A few words about this checklist…This is a do-it-yourself audit designed to get your LinkedIn profile to shine and help you be found on LinkedIn. You will identify some things to add as well delete, so give yourself an hour one day soon and you’ll likely see a difference in your LinkedIn visibility in just a few short weeks.
First and foremost, completeness matters…Be sure you’ve added your relevant professional information and have requested a few recommendations. Fact: users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Here are seven things that make your profile appear complete:
1. Your industry and location
2. An up-to-date current position (with a description)
3. Two past positions
4. Your education
5. Your skills (minimum of 3)
6. A profile photo (no animals in these photos please, and a smile is best)
7. At least 50 connections
Start at the top of your profile…
1. Is your name William, but everyone refers to you as Bill? Your LinkedIn Profile is not a legal representation, so use the name by which everyone knows you and the one they would type in the search box when doing a search for you.
2. Check that your Headline states what you offer. Your professional headline is displayed in search results and can be separate from the title of your current position. You can edit it to promote an area of expertise. For example, if you’re the owner of or the managing director for a senior healthcare services company, you might say, “Senior Care Facilities Expert.” What would you do a search on if you were looking for someone like yourself? And, remember, there’s a place for title by your company’s listing in your Experience section.
3. Your Current positions can be moved around within the Experience section so that those you want listed at the top can be ranked in the order you’d prefer.
4. In order for your profile to be considered complete, Education should not be left blank. It should have something in it whether you have a college degree or not. You can include your high school information or even the coursework you may have completed at a higher learning institution you can name.
5. Recommendations: Did you know that you don’t have to include all the recommendations you receive? There is a way to indicate you don’t want them displayed. Consider only displaying those that are most relevant to your current business or employment goals. Ask an objective third party like a colleague, coach or maybe your business partner to help identify the strongest recommendations you are including on your profile.
6. Seriously consider whether you want to display the list of your Connections to all your other connections. You can go into settings to change this.
7. Activate your Website links since you can have up to 3 of them. You can include your companies, a direct link to your blog or column somewhere or a charity for which you’re on the board. It could also be your portfolio site or even an Amazon page for your book (as I did).
8. You can share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter if you’ve added your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile via Settings. Just be mindful of the length of your update, and if you’ve attached a link, LinkedIn will shrink it.
9. Create a unique and personalized public URL. For example, mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/sandyjk. LinkedIn allows you to change the link to your profile from a nonsensical string to your name or that of your business. Look under “Profile” then “Edit Profile” to find “Public Profile” and carefully consider whether you want to use your name, business name or a nickname in the URL. Also known as a “vanity url,” this is a great link to then share in your email signatures or even on your business cards if you don’t yet have a website you’re proud of or a job or a personal Tumblr or similar page.
10. Use your Summary as you might a conversational elevator pitch, cover letter or biography, but make sure that your personality comes through. A popular misconception that LinkedIn is just your resume online is incorrect. Your LinkedIn profile summary is a less formal way to present your best possible self to the professional world and when would you ever want to sound like a robot to another human? Leave the robotic resume speak for the specific job listing within your profile, but even there, let SEO (search engine optimization) tactics guide your descriptions. Focus on words you think a prospect, recruiter or hiring manager looking for someone like you would use to search the vast LinkedIn database. And don’t forget to spend some time with the Skills & Expertise section.
11. Skills & Expertise: Under “More” make sure you’ve added the skills and areas of expertise on which you want to focus, be searchable for and, hopefully, receive endorsements. Listing at least 10 skills is a good rule of thumb.
12. Groups: Take a good hard look at the number of groups you have displayed in your profile. LinkedIn allows you to be a member of many groups, but you do not need to display them all to anyone that looks at your profile. Think about displaying only those that are relevant to your business or industry, or that reinforce your brand.
13. Publications and Papers: Include only the best of your best when adding white papers or published articles and, again, only share those relevant to your target or current business or industry.
14. Travel Plans: Be sure you’re not using the TripIt travel-sharing app for your vacations, but do take advantage of this app when you have upcoming travel tied to client visits, speaking engagements or conferences. Some of your Connections with whom you have less contact may notice your upcoming travel and will reach out to try to re-establish the connection while you’re in town.
15. Personal Info: Most pros recommend that you leave off your birthday and marital status. After all, LinkedIn is not a dating site.
About the Author
Sandy Jones-Kaminski is the author of “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” which was ranked #1 on the 2010 Inc.com Holiday Gift Guide Wish List and has been a VP of Networking for a major national professional development association. Since 1998, she’s been a executive in the human capital resources and services industry and currently shares her hard-earned insights on effective networking and personal branding via webinars, panels, keynotes, one-on-one consulting, her blog and workshops. Sandy has written numerous articles for WomenEntrepreneur and The Salary Reporter on www.PayScale.com and has been featured on Fox Business News, NWJobs, Work Goes Strong, Bankrate.com, You’re Hired! and My Global Career. Learn more via her website at www.belladomain.com.