LinkedIn profiles are our one and only place to build connections and a network around our experience. Sure, other social media platforms give us an opportunity for us to talk about our experience but our LinkedIn profile allow us to showcase our capabilities without having to repeat numerous times.
Creating a killer LinkedIn headline and an exceptional summary are half the battle as whether we are job seekers or seeking to build a business, the additional information on our profile that starts with the “blue box,” begins to play a stronger role. Your headline and summary are your searched terms but once appearing in search results, a connection is made after review of your basic information is reviewed.
The Linkedin “Blue Box”
The LinkedIn blue box is what is seen first when your profile is clicked. Your name, headline, location and industry are displayed at the top. Thereafter, the information displayed is what makes networkers want to connect with you or move on to someone else. The items displayed beneath this basic information is some of the most important as people want to know what you bring to their network – whether that be an alumni connection, a job connection or shared information.
8 Tips to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile
1. Status Updates. Your status update is displayed immediately beneath your basic information. Status updates have become increasingly popular with the LinkedIn integration with Twitter. Automating posts from twitter to post on LinkedIn has been used extensively but not widely accepted. Different audiences. Your LinkedIn status is business and not what you ate for dinner, where you went or how your children are destroying the house. Be selective on what you share in your status but be sure to update at least 1x per day to show that you are an active networker.
2. Current Employer. Your current employment is what stands out when people are looking for people within their industry to connect with, are looking for a referral to do business with OR want to cross check your resume. Your most recent experience needs to match your headline and summary. If you are job seeking your opening paragraph of your summary will reflect that however the body should match your career aspirations and your experience.
3. Past Employment. Your past employment is where some get queasy. A position that you only held for a few months or admitting that you worked for a company that was an “in-between” job is never pleasant however long gaps are almost worse. Adding your previous employment for 5 to 10 years (up to 10 years only if it relates to longevity in a field) not only shows that you are employable but that you are eager to work (also can show that you jump around). This is also a great way to connect with coworkers that you have lost touch with. Also, remember, beneath the blue box you can add information about each position you held and your role in the company. Suddenly that “in between” job may have a whole lot more meaning than just paying the rent.
4. Education. Your education in the blue box is not much more than where you attended. This is pretty much letting people know that you did further your education and also for an alumni connection. Beneath the blue box allows you to expand upon your your degree, years of attendance, additional information about the school and activities you participated in.
5. Recommendations. Your recommendations are highly regarded as people want to see that you are well liked, trusted and respected within your industry. When seeking employment or trying to build a business, your recommendations are taken into consideration as if you have performed well for others, then you will perform well for them. The question always arises as to whether ask for the recommendation or to wait for it to be provided. This is never an easy question as some do not think to give a recommendation as they are either not as active on LinkedIn or are unsure as to what to say. Best practice is to consider the person that you would be asking. Have they freely given out recommendations with out being asked or from your experience with them, do they need that nudge?
6. Websites. Websites is set to the default of my website, my company, my blog, my RSS, my portfolio and other. The option of other allows you to add your actual company name for the website and the name of your blog. A common mistake made by many is not changing the default. Changing the default to Other and customizing your links not only introduces the names but also provides a familiarity to them.
7. Twitter. Since the development of the app and the integration with Twitter, you can add your Twitter account as a separate line item. Cross connecting is always encouraged however cross posting, as discussed above, is not always welcomed and generally warrants a “hide” of your profile. Why? People share items that are now always LinkedIn worthy. Best bet is to set your LinkedIn Twitter to “Share only tweets that contain #li”. This way you can hashtag your tweets of an article, a quote, etc to be posted on your status.
8. Public Profile. Your public profile is customizable to your name or something of the like should your name be a common one. This is another common mistake that people make by not creating a custom profile. Your custom profile does not contain a series of. For example, your custom profile would be: www.linkedin.com/in/yournamehere and not www.linkedin.com/pub/name/seriesofnumbers. To customize, simply click edit and create your profile name when prompted.
The LinkedIn blue box does pack a powerful punch as before connecting, this is the main exposure people have to you and base their decision to connect from this initial information. If your profile blue box snippet peaks their interest, they will scroll down to review your summary, expanded work history and education. If not, they move on. LinkedIn CEO’s contact information is one of the most sought after executives.