Chances are you are one of the 225 million registered users worldwide with a LinkedIn profile. Recently the professional networking social media giant launched “All-Star” profile strength. Formerly known as 100% profile completeness, the new “All-Star” Profile Strength meter is located on the right side of your profile and gauges how robust it is, and even increases as you add more content. Essentially the goal of this new measurement tool is to encourage you to complete your profile by adding meaningful content. So how can you achieve this coveted LinkedIn ranking? Follow these ten simple steps:
1. You’re a Professional! Upload a Quality Photo to Reflect Your Role.
The first step in populating your profile is to upload a professional headshot of yourself. Remember, your LinkedIn profile is a professional presentation of you, so accordingly, upload a professional picture. Adding a high quality photo will help to enhance your online brand and make you more approachable to initial contacts so be sure to select the right picture.
2. Always Use your Real Name when it Comes to Business.
When it comes to your profile, make sure that you enter your real name. Enter first and last name only. The program’s database alphabetizes connections by last name, followed by first name. If you have a nickname, feel free to put it in parenthesis. For example, Margaret (Peggy) King is an appropriate name listing. You can easily add a former name, maiden name or nickname by editing your profile and clicking “former name.” If a member searches for you using your maiden name, it will still appear in their search results with the second name in parenthesis.
3. Choose a Unique and Captivating Headline to Illustrate Your Expertise.
When choosing a headline, make sure that it illustrates what you really do, the term is searchable, and include 2-3 titles that apply to you. Choose words that potential customers would search for when seeking your services (i.e., Social Media Specialist, Freelance Blogger, Financial Services Professional). It’s important to make your headline creative and captivating, aside from your professional photos, this is the first thing users see before clicking on your actual profile. With 120 available characters, move beyond your official job title, and express your best qualities, skills and strengths in this section.
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4. Go into Great Detail About Your Past Positions.
When it comes to past employment, you should list past positions aside from your current job, which helps show potential employers, partners and other professionals that you are well qualified. List any projects or achievements you have accomplished, as well as any transferable skills you may have acquired to better serve your clients. For example, “Increased client base by 80% in three years.”
5. Update Your Activity Feed as Much as You Would Twitter or Facebook.
Your “Activity Feed” is a personalized section located below the Basic Information section on your profile. Utilize this feature (similar to Facebook’s status updates) by sharing blog posts, Infographics and relevant industry news two to three times a day. It’s important to note that because the activity feed exemplifies your position as a thought leader, that you showcase intriguing content about industry topics you find newsworthy. Ultimately, what you share with your contacts says just as much about you as the rest of your profile, so keep it relevant!
6. Toot Your Own Horn Via Your Skills and Strengths List.
Use keywords to showcase your strengths and skill sets on your profile. You must have a minimum of three and maximum of 50 skills. Make sure to focus on your best skill sets, and your first-level connections will then be able to endorse you for those skills by clicking on them when they login. Don’t be afraid to talk yourself up, since this is your opportunity to show what you are bringing to a current or prospective position.
7. Get Clout by Connecting with at least 50 Influential Colleagues
To achieve a complete profile on LinkedIn, you must have at least 50 connections. Fortunately, LinkedIn has made it easy for you to connect by uploading your contacts from your email provider such as Gmail or Hotmail, and will prompt you through how to add those contacts to your LinkedIn account. Most importantly, when you add your connections, make sure to keep your “invitation to connect” personalized. If you’re weary before connecting, remind the individual how you’re connected to them in real life. Always ensure the recipient remembers who you are, before sending a request to connect.
8. Let Others Create Mini-Testimonials For You
Use the Skills & Expertise section to highlight at least four of your top skills. Your connections are invited to recommend you for the skills you list, so make sure they cover your skill set effectively. Eliminate any endorsements that don’t represent you in a specific way. For example, if your specialty is social media marketing, it doesn’t benefit you to accept endorsements for scuba diving. Receiving recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn is extremely important, because it’s easy word-of-mouth marketing, available for all the public to see.
9. Hail to Thee, Our Alma Mater!
One of the most important yet simplest updates that you can make to achieve “All-Star” status is to include all of the details of your education, including colleges and universities that you attended, the highest degree you have received, as well as your awards and specializations. Filling out your educational details will help other alumni to locate you on LinkedIn, which will hopefully help to boost your number of connections up to 50.
10. Show Off Your Portfolio, Visually.
Visual media is all the buzz lately, and photos and videos are more likely to be viewed versus reading a block of text. Use LinkedIn’s portfolio feature to transform your work into a visual medium by uploading photos, videos, presentations and more.
So tell us, what is your effective LinkedIn strategy?