How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is your professional brand.
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LinkedIn has been an invaluable resource for me over the past 10+ years. I've used it to:
- Connect with thousands of business professionals.
- Source two million tons of spent mussel shells in two months when a nine-person procurement department wasn't able to do so in three years.
- Identify potential suppliers for multifunction copier/scanner/fax machines in a city where I did not live.
- Help connect business professionals with similar interests.
- Update the CRM of an employer whose "new database" was already 10% "deprecated."
Recently several people have asked me to help them optimize their profiles as they've become aware of what they can accomplish on LinkedIn.
Fast Company published a great article entitled, “The Brand Called You” on August 31, 1997.
You are responsible for your personal brand and with the advent of the internet and social media, you have more opportunities than ever to develop, build awareness of and promote your personal brand.
Your LinkedIn (LI) profile is your professional brand.
People do business with those they know, like and trust. Optimize your LI profile to make a powerful first impression and build trust.
- Have a picture that let’s people see you and your eyes – up close and personal. The eyes are the windows to the soul and will let people know whether or not you are trustworthy.
Use photofeeler.com to get feedback what your headshot says about your competence, likability and influence. A/B test different headshots. What works on Facebook (FB) may not be the most effective on LI.
When I look at your LI profile picture, are your face and eyes directing me to your profile on the right? Subtle but effective for directing visitors to read your profile.
Add a banner image in the back that reinforces your brand (646 x 220 pixels).
- Use keywords to optimize the headline under your name. Title, actual or aspirational, plus key words up to 120 characters. Separate with |. You can use other icons if that’s your personality (feel free to cut paste: ♦, ►, ☆, ■, etc.)
Spend time identifying and prioritizing all of your keywords. While you have a limited number of characters on your headline and job titles, these will become your specialties at the end of each job description and are critical for LI search engine optimization (SEO) when people are conducting advanced searches.
- Customize your LI URL in the edit mode (click on the gear icon next to the LinkedIn URL for your profile in the gray bar beneath your photo).
- Add websites, blog posts, code and Twitter to your profile as appropriate. Think about how you are presenting your personal brand across different social media channels.
- Use all 2,000 characters (about 270 words) in your summary.
Include keywords for which you want to be found when someone conducts an advanced search for someone with your skills and expertise. This is particularly critical for Devs as technology is evolving quickly and employers are looking for specific skillsets, and experience with different platforms, architectures and languages.
Include contact information (email and phone) at the top of your summary. Nothing's more frustrating than not being able to reach out to a person, or a company, because their contact information isn't readily apparent.
Provide an overview of what you do, what makes you different, what you can do for someone now.
Thank people for looking at your profile.
- Be complete, consistent and compelling.
Are you presenting your profesional brand in a consistent way across all social media channels?
LI, FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. are all different social media platforms and your objective on each may be different; however, consider how you want evolve your personal brand across each.
- Embed media and code – video is great, GitHub builds, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, curate company material for projects you worked on and repost.
Share information of value, don't sell. The more you share, the more you establish yourself as a credible, trusted expert in your area of expertise.
- Have at least 500 connections – it shows you take LinkedIn, and networking, seriously and no one can see how many connections you have over 500.
Always personalize invitations to connect (See example).
Offer to be of assistance.
Thank people when they accept your invitation to connect or when they invite you to connect.
- Endorsements are fine – recommendations are critical. Strive for at least five.
Offer to write recommendations for people to help remind them where you added value in the relationship or project and encourage them to edit.
- Join and participate in groups – up to 50.
Ask yourself: What can I learn? What information do I need to know? Where can you share information of value? Who do you want to connect with in the group? When in doubt join groups with the most members,
- Follow companies - especially clients and companies you admire.
Comment on their updates. Let them know you’re engaged and interested in what they have to say.
- This is social media – engage in a conversation, respond in a timely manner, provide information of value, don’t sell.
- How to handle requests to connect from people you don’t know?(See example below)
- Establish yourself as a trusted professional in your industry
If you have other ideas to help other devs build and optimize their LinkedIn profile, please share.
Also, feel free to share these suggestions with anyone who wants to build or optimize their LinkedIn profile.
It was great to meet you at the hackathon today. I hope you got as much value out of the sessions as I did?
I’d like to stay connected on LinkedIn if amenable to you?
Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
(Note: You are limited to 200 characters in an invitation so you cannot say much more than this.)
How I handle requests to connect from people I don’t know (you may have a different philosophy of connecting):
Thank you for your invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
I am happy to do so; however, I have a policy of not connecting to generic invitations in order to avoid spambots.
Please let me know how I can assist you, or your firm, and I’ll be happy to do so.
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