9 Steps to Fix A LinkedIn Profile
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the difference between a good LinkedIn profile and an almost good LinkedIn profile is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. I found this out the hard way when my fellow Workbar member Nick Bliamptis offered to take a look at my profile and then, like a lumberjack frowning at a dull axe, felt compelled to help me. He is the CEO and founder of ProfileGraderPro, and so I offered up my own profile as a sacrifice, the "before" picture in this LinkedIn makeover by a former recruiter whose has pored over tens of thousands of profiles. Would mine be a cautionary tale or a Cinderella story? A few days later on the phone he tells me this blog is going to write itself. He's looking at his notes on my LinkedIn profile. It's curable. Standard Procedure for his paying clients includes a 20-page slide deck, content, links and fixes, but I was getting the friends and family deal: free advice in thirty minutes, and this might sting a bit.
“OK, so these are the Nine Fixes For Your LinkedIn Profile.”
1. Ask ‘Who is the target audience?’
“This needs to be in mind for everything you are doing.” – N.B.
[Note: Who I am attracting here? While I am not job hunting, I’ve not put much thought into my audience. But, as Bliamptis schools me, a LinkedIn profile is prominent real estate for one’s online presence. “People check you out! If people are looking for you, you need this. And the problem is exacerbated if you have a unique name (i.e. “Bliamptis”) – in that case LinkedIn will be one of the top search results for your name.”]
2. Make a custom background photo.
“Yours is the generic background photo. As a content strategist, writer, editor your profile should look more sophisticated.” –N.B.
3. Fix that photo.
“As a general rule of thumb, pick a photo that feels familiar to the person who is hiring you. It’s not about gender or race... But you should look like you shop in a similar place. Unless your target market is Vincent van Gogh enthusiasts your profile picture has to go!" – N.B.
4. Strengthen Your Network.
“Your network, at 126, is notably weak. LinkedIn has access to your email; decide who to invite to LinkedIn! Come up with hundreds of recommended contacts, and every time you add a new contact 10-100,000 new people can see your profile, and vice versa.”
5. You Need Summary and Text For Job Descriptions.
“You have no summary and no text for any job descriptions. Readers have no idea if you are an awesome Content Strategist or on sabbatical from teaching English in Central America.” – N.B.
6. You Need Skills.
“You have ten skills, with zero endorsements. The max you can have is 50. So find 50 skills related to what you do. That will make it easier for people to find you when they search for Skills you have, like Content Strategy.” – N.B.
7. Get Recommendations.
“If you’re good at what you do, ask people you’ve worked with for recommendations. It’s a social proof thing. ‘He’s awesome, right? Maybe?’ There’s a feature where you can ask for recs, and then hide them until have a few. That way you can avoid the awkward phase of only having one recommendation.” – N.B.
8. Get into Groups.
“Groups do two things. If you’re not in my network but you’re in my group, I can see you. You’re more visible, which is good thing. You can join a max of 40 groups, making yourself visible to up to a million more people by joining groups. Pick ones that are relevant, but also pick larger ones, all other things being equal.” – N.B.
9. Share content.
“Where are the shares? You’re a content strategist, so you need to have shares in your own feed, not just for work. Share blog posts, writing, social media...” – N.B.
After schooling me gently, Bliamptis confesses I’m only about an hour away from a top-notch profile. For his ProfileGraderPro clients, he’d roll up his sleeves and walks them through a 20-page slide deck of each and every change to be made. As a member of the unofficial “friends and family” program, he bids me good luck on my own, hoping I’ll try to spin the journey itself into something.
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Dave Gentry is a fan of progress and recess. He believes in Olde English, new fortune cookies, and he answers to #davertido.