Essential LinkedIn Profile Checklist

Did you know LinkedIn can be your most powerful social network online branding tool?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile but aren’t sure it’s optimized for search or for online personal branding?

In this article you’ll find a quick checklist of the most critical elements to include in your LinkedIn profile to ensure it’s optimized search and personal branding.

Use a Professional Photo

Do not include pets, or children or other people in your profile photo.

Ensure photo is crisp.

  • Use the full space for your photo.
  • Headshots work best.
  • Incorporate an angle shot if possible (adds visual interest)
  • Keep the background vanilla…avoid busy, distracting backgrounds.
  • Save the wedding photos for your friends… ensure you are appropriately dressed.

LinkedIn Profile photo example

[Tweet “LinkedIn Profile Tip: Use the entire image area for your LinkedIn profile photo”]

CHANGE the Default Headline!

  • If you do not write a LinkedIn headline, it will default to your job title.
  • Replace this! LinkedIn gives you 120 characters to broadcast your brilliance.
  • The LinkedIn headline is one of the best places to insert keywords. (what you want to be found for when someone searches.)
  • Write a compelling headline using the LinkedIn headline formula below.

[Tweet “80% of people will only ever read your headline on LinkedIn…it’s important!”]

Headline Formula:   {Keyword/subject matter expert area} who {does what} for {client, company, audience, project}. {Proof point}.

LinkedIn Headline Formula Example

[Tweet “LinkedIn Tip: The headline is one of the best places to insert keywords.”]

Current/Previous Employment

  • Fill out both your current and past employment.
  • These are a great place to insert keywords if possible.

Create a Vanity URL

  • The default URL to your Linkedin profile is a non-sensical string of letters and numbers such as: www.linkedin.com/pub/your-name/77/ab2/1c9
  •   A LinkedIn vanity or custom URL is a clean, short address you can use to email or on your business cards
  • Create this when you Edit your Contact Information
  • www.linkedin.com/in/yournamev

Completely Fill out Contact Information

  • Add your Twitter Handle in the Contact Information
  • This is also the place to add your Skype contact information and your phone number. Your number is only visible to first degree connections.

Add Custom Website Links

  • Change the default wording for your website to the name of your business.
  • Change the name of the default ‘blog’ to the name of your blog and add a link.
  • You can add up to three different links here.
LinkedIn customize links example
LinkedIn Contact Info
 Toggle your Settings for  Maximum Visibility
  • Under ‘Privacy & Settings’, ensure your Profile Settings set for Public Search.
  • Select the option to make your profile photo visible to ‘Everyone’.
  • If you do not select the maximum visibility option, your photo may show up in public searches on LinkedIn.

Use all 2000 Characters for Your Summary

  • Written your LinkedIn Summary in 1st  person
  • Include a Call-to-Action
  • Use the majority of 2,000 character limit
  • List Your Specialties
  • Point out who your target audience is.=
  • Make your Summary Client-Focused (How you’ll help and Whom you help)

[Tweet “Your LinkedIn Summary is a great place to use Keywords”]

LinkedIn Summary Example
 Add Visual elements to showcase your expertise–
  • Publications, documents, photos, presentations, video, etc. all add a visual, compelling touch to your profile.
  • Link to important blogs and articles that you’ve published or in which you are highlighted or featured.

Ask for and Give thoughtful Recommendations

  • Ask your connections to recommend your work from the  Ask for Recommendations  link which can be accessed through your  Privacy and Settings  page. Note: Once you’ve sent a request, you cannot withdraw it.
  • LinkedIn does not limit the number of recommendations you can request (or receive).
  • Not sure what to write when providing a LinkedIn recommendation? Check out these tips and recommendations template.
Manage your LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements
  • Only your first degree connections can provide an endorsement for you and vice versa.
  • Because your connections can endorse you for skills that you haven’t listed, it’s a good idea to periodically review these to ensure they showcase the skills you want to be known for.
  • Add the skills you want to be known for.
  • LinkedIn has a new feature which puts you in control of your endorsements. Choose whether you want to receive endorsements, which endorsements to show and more.
  • Change the order of your skills to highlight your strongest skills first.
  • Hide skills you don’t want to highlight or aren’t really applicable. You can always ‘unhide’ them later.

Have a question or comment? Please share in the comments below. Thank you!

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