Your LinkedIn profile is more than an online resume. It’s a tool to learn about your industry, promote your expertise and prospect for new business. But before you can mine the data on the network, you have to supply some of your own.
Here are 12 steps you can take to optimizing your LinkedIn profile to increase the visibility of you and your company:
- Name. Use your full name, not abbreviations or nicknames.
- Personal headline. Choose text that highlights what makes you valuable and unique.
- Profile photo. Choose a professional-looking photo that reflects your industry and goals.
- Personalized URL. In Profile edit mode, click the Edit link next to your current URL (below your profile photo) and type in your name. If it’s taken, try adding your middle initial.
- Summary. Summarize your specialties, interests and expertise in narrative form. Brand yourself by telling a compelling story. Connect your Twitter account, company website, personal website and blog. To optimize your profile for search (SEO), incorporate keywords that best describe your skill set and career goals.
- Experience. List your work experience and ensure that each company reference links to the correct LinkedIn company page. Then go beyond employer and job title to list your projects and achievements.
- Skills & Expertise. Highlight your key strengths. List items that are relevant to your job and career goals. These form the basis of endorsements of those skills by others. Remember to return the favor. The same criteria apply to the Interests section.
- Education. A full education section adds credibility.
- Contact information. Provide your business email address and phone number. If you want to limit how people can contact you, click the Edit link next to your personalized URL.
- Recommendations. Request at least one recommendation for each position you’ve listed, and return the favor by writing recommendations for others in your network.
- Groups. Join discussion groups that interest you and participate. It will establish your expertise and keep you top-of-mind with other thought-leaders.
- Companies. Start by following your own company, then add those that reflect your personal brand.
Once you’ve completed your profile, take steps to build your network and influence:
- Contacts. Connect with current and past coworkers, managers and clients, then reach out to new connections who share your professional interests and qualifications.
- Updates. Establish your image as an expert in your field. Share status updates that are timely and relevant to your audience.
For more guidance in expanding your profile, see the help page on LinkedIn.