Do you have a profile on LinkedIn, the world's largest professional networking site? If you don't, you might consider one given that, as of November 3, 2011, LinkedIn claimed more than 135 million members in over 200 countries and territories and that all Fortune 500 companies are represented. The site is effective for connecting with professionals based on education and work history, regardless of geography, as well as for networking based on areas of professional interest. It's a terrific centralized resource for up-to-date backgrounders on individuals. On the CBSAC/NY website, we've made a point of linking to our volunteers' LinkedIn profiles. It's ideal!
If you do have a profile on LinkedIn, how frequently do you review your profile to ensure it works effectively on your behalf? Does your profile appear in searches based on terms you consider important? As with everything web based, it helps to think in terms of keywords of critical importance to you and your business interests. I think you'll find the advice that Ruben Quinones, director of new media at Path Interactive, shared during the CBSAC/NY event titled Making Your LinkedIn Profile Pop helpful for managing your LinkedIn profile, optimizing it and fine-tuning it so you get found.
1. Develop a profile that encourages connections. Use conversational wording to describe yourself, include keywords and be sure to post a professional photo of yourself.
2. Your positioning in LinkedIn is influenced by your connections and the keywords in your profile. If you want to come up higher in search results, it helps to connect with others.
3. Add keywords to your professional headline and your current & past position titles. Your headline should be about selling solutions rather than listing a position title that only makes sense to you.
4. The summary has no bearing on the LinkedIn search algorithm. However, that's where you tell your story.
5. Specialties matter, as do Interests. That's where you should jam keywords in!
6. Add applications to make your profile pop: feed from your blog, presentations you've done.
7. Consider status updates to create conversation with your network. Make the information you post beneficial to your audience.
8. Aim for one recommendation per position. Recommendations factor into your overall positioning for search results.
9. Be sure to use LinkedIn as a research tool, to connect and converse with contacts within industries. Groups and Answers represent ways for demonstrating knowledge. Google indexes answers.
10. Explore using LinkedIn search; see what kinds of professional headlines come up when you enter your search terms. Who ranks first? Where do those search terms appear in those results? Think like Google. Mention your key words many times throughout your profile to improve your ranking.
I can't imagine not using LinkedIn as a professional resource. It's more than a Rolodex [remember those?], adding dimension and meaning to profiles and making it incredibly efficient for reconnecting with people.
If you'd like more information about the event with Ruben, visit Making Your LinkedIn Profile Pop: CBSAC/NY Social Media Event. You may also want to read my post titled Getting Started with LinkedIn for Business: 10 Tips & a Guide.
What is your experience with LinkedIn? How do you use it? What have you noticed when you've tweaked your profile? Have you created a page for your company, too?
Christine B. Whittemore '93
P.S.: Interestingly, Brad Jobling recently posted on the CBSAC/NY Facebook Fan Page a link to a Forbes article titled Who Owns Your LinkedIn Contacts? The article was published the same day I published an article titled How To Use LinkedIn: Backing Up Contacts. What is your company's policy on LinkedIn contacts?