By Mary Jo King, NCRW, NCOPE

Most social media profiles have a lot in common.  Get one in good shape, and your content can be adapted to other sites. LinkedIn is a great place to begin because it has become such a large business community. It offers a wealth of information, it is rich with job posts, and frequented by more than 95% of recruiters. A well-developed LinkedIn profile will fare well in search engines and make it easier for employers and customers to find you. 

The basics: 

Make your profile 100% complete. The more vigorous your profile, the higher you will rank in searches. 

Display your personal photo. Use the same professional photo you use everywhere else.

Brand your headline! That space beneath your name is your Profile Headline. It will appear in search results next to your name, and follow where you lead on LinkedIn.

Write appealing status updates. This is the “What are you working on?” box. Use it to advance your brand. Bonus: Making weekly adjustments to your profile improves your visibility.

Write a profile summary packed with keywords. This is your chance to tell the world who you are and what you can do.

Use keywords extensively throughout your profile. LinkedIn remains one of the only sites that still reflects the density of profile keywords in ranking search results.

Complete the Skills section. This section was created especially for recruiters, so it contributes heavily to search results. Fill all 50 skill fields with keywords and keyword phrases.

Fill in those job descriptions. They are a perfect place to add keywords. List companies where you worked, and schools you attended. If you are only listing your current company and/or not displaying your college, many people will not find you. 

Get and give recommendations. When you sign up for LinkedIn and first fill out your profile, LinkedIn recommends that you write three LinkedIn recommendations. You need to do this in order to get your profile to 100%. The other benefits of peer recommendations are obvious, yes?

Get connected with others. Adding connections has an exponential effect in search results. Any fewer than 100 connections looks as if you’re not serious.

LinkedIn allows you to list three websites on your profile. Use them all, linking to other social media profiles, your own website, or other relevant sites. Bonus: you will be adding to the SEO of your own websites just by the fact that you list them here.

Do not block incoming emails. Make it easy to contact you.

Claim Your Personal URL. When you sign up to LinkedIn you are provided a public URL, which you can then include on your email signature and other profiles. You can customize this when you edit your account settings. Claiming your name here is one of the first things you should do, and be sure to do it before someone else does!

A LinkedIn profile is more than just a résumé. This is your opportunity to communicate more about who you are and the value you bring. You can paste in content like presentations and videos, or link to your website, blog, or Twitter stream. Use your status updates to let the world know what you’re working on right now.


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