LinkedIn has undoubtedly changed the professional networking landscape since it went live in May 2003 (it is actually older than Facebook by about 9 months….who knew?).
Here are some headline numbers; there are now more than 335 million people on LinkedIn, with 187 million (and growing) unique monthly visitors and 40% of those users check in daily (I know I am one of those!).
There are also plenty of demographic breakdowns of LinkedIn vs. the other sites that you can take a look at too (here’s one for example http://pewrsr.ch/1xMwvDG from the Pew Research Center).
With the continuing explosion of data, along with our access to it, we’ve become a little more adept at “decision scanning” – a term associated with viewing a “page”, identifying with one or two words or phrases, associating those with something visual (like a picture) and then deciding if we want to see more.
So, how can you beef up your profile?
A quick search for “advice on writing LinkedIn profiles” on Google, gave me just over 17 million results. Having read them all, I’ve prepared a condensed list for you…
- First and foremost, ADD A PHOTO! According to http://www.careerlism.com, LinkedIn profiles with photos receive 50-70% more inquires than profiles without. Use a picture of you and make it recent. I’d suggest that you make the photo a reasonably professional one. Seeing that it is a professional networking site, I assume there’s no need for me to suggest a dress code…..
- The Summary – it is the only area on the profile page where you get to sum yourself up or “elevator pitch yourself”. It also happens to be the first thing people read. It is personal to you and should reflect your personality and in essence–tell your story. Talk achievements and results more than responsibilities and tasks. Make it authentic and write it in the first person, not 3rd. While 2015’s LinkedIn buzzwords/terms haven’t been released yet, try avoiding the 15 highlighted as being “overused” over the last 3 years – creative, responsible, organizational, motivated, driven, extensive experience, strategic, track record, expert, effective, innovative, analytical, passionate, patient and problem solving. Make it punchy, to the point and loud! Now, look at your profile again – will I buy into “Brand You” in 10 seconds?
- Join Groups specific to your area of knowledge, job role, interests and get involved in the discussions. Mashable, a site with some really terrific contributors, ran a piece today about how someone was able to increase their profile views by over 400% – take a look at it here – http://on.mash.to/1H3SuHg.
- Claim your personal URL if you haven’t already. Mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/douglasfowler. You can change it at the same place you edit your profile. You’ll see your current ID for LinkedIn (a long web address). Click on the settings “cog” next to it and you can change it there. You can then include it as part of your email signature, leading more people to your LinkedIn profile.
- LinkedIn’s self-publishing platform gives members the ability to share lessons learned or comment on industry trends. This will only add to your online credibility within your network and on the site. As LinkedIn says, “Publishing posts is a great way to showcase your professional knowledge, position yourself as a thought leader in your industry and even highlight some of the interesting things your company is doing.”
Don’t finish with your profile page and then forget about it. Make changes, tweak it, look at the profiles of others in your industry and ask for advice if needed (the vast majority of people on LinkedIn appreciate being asked for help or advice). Also, check out your member number by hovering on your profile picture in ANY screen. Move your mouse over the profile picture of you in the top right hand corner and a long, ugly URL will come up – your linkedin User ID number is in the middle of that line).