Monday Mornings with Madison

LEVERAGING LINKEDIN – PART 2

The Three Cs of Creating a Profile on LinkedIn

Do you have a Profile on LinkedIn that meets the three C’s:  complete, correct and compelling?  If not, keep reading.  If you think you do, think again.  Unless you set up your Profile in the last few months, LinkedIn has added new sections which may not have existed when you set up your Profile.  Your Profile may not be complete.

Perhaps you think it’s not that important if your Profile is missing a few bits of information?  Thing again.  Is it very important to have a complete, correct and compelling LI Profile.  Why?  There are 120 million members on LinkedIn.  That is a huge network of people who might see your Profile (not to mention the billions of people on the planet who might reach your Profile through a Search Engine like Google or Yahoo/Bing). 

Moreover, if you are searching for a job, there is another reason to make sure your Profile is 100% complete.  LinkedIn sends Recruiters and HR Managers who post a job on LinkedIn 25 Profiles of candidates who best fit the job description for their consideration.  However, LinkedIn will only refer Profiles that are 100% complete.  So even if you are the perfect fit for an opening, you won’t get referred if your Profile is incomplete.

Yet, many LI members think it is sufficient to have a very brief professional sketch on LinkedIn and feel no need to fully flesh out their Profile.  Some don’t use their full name.  Some only list their current position.  Some provide brief line or two in their Summary, and even less information about their Specialties.  Few bother to fill in the sections on Languages and Skills.  Even fewer reach out to get Recommendations from current and past employers, colleagues and staff.  Many simply don’t take any time to articulate who they are, or present themselves in a compelling, engaging manner.  Is that you?  Have you considered that your Profile may be speaking volumes – and not in a good way — about how committed and excited you are in your professional endeavors?

Elements of a LinkedIn Profile

It takes a bit of work to create a full Profile on LinkedIn.  That’s probably why LinkedIn provides a Completeness Chart indicating the percentage of your Profile you have completed.  Getting to 100% can be a challenge.  But it is worth the effort.  This vastly powerful free networking tool allows you to tell the world who you are as a professional – what you stand for, how you’re different from all the rest, what you’re passionate about, and how you’ve contributed in the workforce.  Take the time to fill in every space. 

In filling out the Profile, questions often arise.  How much information is enough?  How much is too much?  Is a photo really necessary?  What do I do if I don’t have a lot of work experience?  What if I never went to college?  Etc. etc. 

Let’s begin reviewing step-by-step how to create a Linked-In Profile that is complete, correct and compelling.

LinkedIn Profile Sections

1.  Name Section

You may think it silly and obvious to say that an LI Profile should have your full name.  Actually, it’s not obvious.  A lot of people use a handle or nickname or mark their name ‘Private.’  If you are taking the time to create an online presence on a professional social networking platform, share your full, real name.  Think of it this way.  When a customer calls your desk, do you tell them your real name?  On your resume, do you use your real name?  Is your name on your business cards?  If it’s okay to use your real name in those situations, then why not on LinkedIn?  People are more likely to link, like and trust “John Paul Smith” than “J.P.” or “An employee at…”.

2.  Photo Section

Anecdotally, it appears that one out of every three Profiles on LI has either no photo or a logo or symbol instead of a photo.  Yet LinkedIn Profiles without a photo are much less effective than with a photo.  It is a matter of trust.  Post your photo on your Profile.

There are a lot of phony Profiles on LinkedIn.   It is important to show you are real.   Of course, some phony Profiles have a stock photo of a model, but even stock photo sites are now forbidding their customers to use stock photos on social media sites.  From a business perspective, a fake or missing photo raises questions about your integrity.  

Make sure the photo represents you well (bust shot; business attire; good lighting; recent; positive expression).  Graphic images or photos of pets or kids really serve no purpose on a professional Profile.  The file size of the photo must be small in order to upload it to LI.  If you have a high resolution photo, you can resize it using most any photography software.  It can even be done online at http://www.picresize.com/ for free.

3. Headline Section

The line of text underneath your name is called the Headline.  It is a key piece of real estate, possibly the most important information you will put in your Profile!  Why? This is a field that search engines ‘crawl.’  The information in your Headline will appear in search results next to your name, as well as next to any questions you ask or answer in LinkedIn.   Most people typically put their title and company name in that space.  That is wasteful!  Your title and company name will be listed under Current Employment, so don’t squander that valuable space repeating the same information.  Instead, use that ‘real estate’ to appeal to those who find you in a search or look you up on LinkedIn.  Think of it as your elevator pitch in very few words. 

Tune in next week when we will continue to examine in detail other sections of a LinkedIn Profile to ensure it is complete, correct and compelling!

Quote of the Week

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.” Louis L’Amour

© 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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