The year is coming to an end and soon people will be making New Year Resolutions or professional goals for 2016. I imagine on many lists will be to either:
Get a better job or move up in their industry
Grow their business
Growing your network is paramount in accomplishing either one of those goals. The good news is LinkedIn is king in growing and nurturing your network.
Before you can leverage the power of LinkedIn, you must be able to be found, understood and add value.
Today begins a series of LinkedIn tips and insights to building a strong profile before the New Year to prepare for another series on leveraging LinkedIn to accomplish your 2016 goals. The topic today:
Achieving All-Star Status
There are five levels of status, from least complete to highest completion: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and All-Star.
Why it is important to be an All-Star
According to LinkedIn:
Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
That is forty times more likely to receive opportunities including job offers, new clients, new markets, new connections to centers of influence and more.
Whether you are actively looking for a new job or open to hearing about opportunities, a 2014 Jobvite survey found that 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet candidates.
It might be safe to assume that recruiters find plenty of candidates within the All-Star category without venturing into Expert or Advanced profiles.
What it Takes to Reach All-Star
For your profile to be considered complete, there are seven criteria:
- Profile Picture
- Industry & Location
It is not enough to have each section, they must be completed in the most impactful way.
Although the statistic of profiles with a picture are 14 times more likely to be viewed, the caveat this statistic does not mention is that profiles with professional pictures are more likely to be viewed.
Not just any picture will do.
Your photo should be current showing you in a relaxed, inviting, professional manner. This means no bathroom selfies, Facebook fun pictures, pets, kids, families or group photos.
There are exceptions to every rule and if your business is all about dogs, having a puppy in your photo may just be the ticket for you – as long as it matches with your profile headline.
You have a limit of 120 characters for your headline. Yes, I said limit. Your title and company name is not all that you can fill in for this section. This about this as a very short introduction, you want to be known for more than just your title and company, right? Add keywords and phrases here that represent you and the value you provide.
Your experience section will need your current position and two prior positions, all completed with supporting information. In other words, simply listing two previous positions is not enough.
Use experience section to build your story of where you have been and how it is getting you to where you are going. List the value you provided, who you served, how you served them and the difference you made while there.
You have the parameters of 200 minimum characters in the experience summary and a maximum of 2,000. You do not need to use all 2,000 characters – a short paragraph will do; accompanied with a couple of supporting bullet points is even better.
If you are a student or unemployed, you will still need to list a current position. Without it you will not be ranked as an All-Star.
For All-Star status, you must have at least five skills listed. You can add up to 50 skills, but let’s not get carried away. Fire eating, fire breathing, small talk, cat herding, chewing gum, Halloween, snacks and drinking water are all listed as skills. Seriously, type them in and see for yourself!
If you do not have a skills section click Skills section under profile summary at the top of your profile. You may need to click View More to find this section
To add more skills:
Select Edit Profile under Profile at the top of your page
Scroll to the Skills & Endorsements section of your profile
Click on +Add Skill button in the top right corner of this section
Select Yes after “I want to be endorsed”
Type in skills and when they populate, click on the skill then click on Add
Click Save when done.
Your summary is your introduction to you. This is your opportunity to speak to your audience directly, in a one-on-one conversation. It should be an expansion of your headline and incorporate your style, strengths, specialties, experience and atta boys.
Use keywords to emphasize and describe rather than throwing in industry jargon to try to appease. Remember, this is a conversation, not a script.
Think about writing your summary from this perspective: you are sitting down at a foo-foo coffee house across from someone you want to read your profile.
They ask you, “So, tell me about yourself” Now go! How you answer that in a relaxed, professional environment is how you write your summary.
You have 2,000 characters to play with so make them count. It is not necessary to use them all as long as you tell your story the way you want the reader to understand it.
Industry & Location
These two areas simply tell readers where you are located and in what industry you operate.
When editing your profile, click the edit button next to these fields (see below). Enter your country and zip code then enter your industry. To finish, click Save.
Simply add your education in this section. It is not necessary to put graduation dates. The additional benefit of adding education is it gives you an opportunity to connect to fellow school attendees and alumni – you have a built in connection!
For All-Star status, you need at least 50 connections. Start by connecting with professional contacts you know. Use the search feature to search companies you worked for to find former or current employees on LinkedIn. Do the same for the schools listed in your education section.
These are the basics for reaching All-Star status. Look for articles soon to feature:
Where, when and how to leverage keywords to complete your profile
Above the fold, maximizing the spaces you are not completing
Telling your story to reach and connect with your audience
Recommendations – how to ask for and receive recommendations that work for you
… and more!
★ I have created a tip cheat sheet on several sections and character limits; to view or download, just click here: LinkedIn Personal Profile Cheat Sheet