This post is a continuation of an earlier post. Read part 1 here.
- Describe your work: A good number of LinkedIn profiles are no more than a listing of job-titles and educational degrees. Make sure that yours is not one of them.As discussed above, your job-title may mean different things in different organizations, and outside your company, people may have no clue on what you are working on. Explain in simple terms what you are doing currently and what you have done in your previous jobs, staying away from company-specific jargon. Be as specific as you can, and focus more on skills that are transferable and applicable outside your current company.
- Get recommendations: You may not be Steve Burda (nor is so many recommendations a good idea for most of us), but if have done any good work in past, there must be some people willing to vouch for it. Ask them to write a short recommendation for you. Best time for asking a recommendation is right after you complete a project. From my experience, I know that people certainly remember your good work for a long time, but with time, they tend to forget the specifics, and generic recommendations are not as powerful!
- Choose right keywords and skills: Most above tips would be useful when they are looking for you, i.e. the tips focus on how your profile looks when they land on your profile page. This one is about getting featured in search results, when they are not looking specifically for you, but for people like you, i.e. people having specific skills and experience. Since by default, LinkedIn sorts search results by relevance, it is important to ensure that your profile is keyword-rich. These keywords may be a part of your Profile-summary, Specialties, work experience description, or other details. Also, ensure that Skills & Expertise section features has the right skills listed. LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills.
If it is not obvious which skills and keywords you should include, there are two good sources for this. Check out profiles of other people in your domain (or people in your target role). What skills and keywords do their profiles include, and are there any, which actually are your skills too? If yes, you now have some keywords to add to your profile. Another source is especially relevant if you are looking for a job-change. Check out the description of your target jobs, and see what recruiters are looking for. If you do meet those requirements, make sure that right keywords representing these are included in your profile.
One final word on caution here: Write your LinkedIn profile primarily for human readers (i.e. not for bots), and don’t overload it with keywords.
- List your online presence: Do you have an active blog ? Are you considered the Subject-Matter Expert on some topics (preferably related to your job-field) on Quora? Do you participate in the Analytics contests on Kaggle or programming projects at Github? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, make sure to list these and other relevant portions of your digital footprint under Websites section on your profile.
One thing I have seen is that the default website-labels (“Blog”, “Company Website”, etc) are not attention-grabbing. Customize it to make it more eye-catching and informative. One thing that I observed in Google Analytics for this blog is that the traffic from LinkedIn has certainly increased (though not very significantly) since I changed the label for my website to “Amitbhatnagar.com” from default “Personal Website”. Similarly, something like “My analytics projects on Kaggle” or “My answers on Quora” will certainly get some attention, and give your profile an additional dimension.
- Groups: LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. Joining Groups is a great way to connect to new people and to share/seek knowledge/information. Alumni groups and groups related to your current and past employers are obvious choices, but what would really expand your network in a meaningful is joining interests and skills related groups. Examples of these can be: Product Management, Social Media marketing, etc. Another useful aspect of joining groups is that many members allow other group members to send them messages, and as such, you may be able to contact people outside your immediate network directly without having to upgrade to Premium membership.
Bonus tip : Control your Activity Broadcasts: You can control whether your LinkedIn activity (Profile changes, recommendations, etc) gets shown in their connections news feed. If you haven’t followed Tip 0 (Keeping your LinkedIn profile current) and you suddenly start making massive changes to your profile, your co-workers may know that you are planning to quit, and you may not be comfortable with this. To avoid this, go to Settings -> Privacy Controls -> Turn on/off your activity broadcasts, and un-check the box for Activity Broadcasts (Default is checked)
Which ones of these were missing from your LinkedIn profile? Are there any that you disagree with? (Tip #4 is my best guess for this!) Are there any other tips that you feel are missing? Please share them as comments below.