A Strong LinkedIn Profile and the Answers Feature Go Hand in Hand

Do you have an outstanding Linked profile? Are you working on improving it? Or is it blank and forgotten? If the answer is the former, I salute you. Even if you’re making daily strides to make it better, there’s hope for you. On the other hand, if your profile resembles something found in the attic and needs to be dusted off, then close down your account. That’s right, close it down. The miniscule space you’re taking up on the Internet is too much.

A vast majority of LinkedIn.com aficionados will concur that the most important investment you must make in your LinkedIn involvement is your profile, as it presents you as a serious jobseeker and business leader. Your profile is essentially your most potent online branding tool and how people measure your accomplishments, based on a number of components: Photo; Summary; (Work) History; Education; Interests; Recommendations, Connections; and some extras like a blog, website, reading list, slideshow, and more. Without an effective profile, you’re wasting your time and possibly hurting your chances of getting an interview or enhancing your business.

LinkedIn offers some pretty neat features that require a strong profile in order for an LI user to reap rewards from them. There are notable features like Jobs, People, and Companies search. But if you want to utilize any of these features, such as apply for a job on LI, locate a long-lost person, or network with someone at a particular company; a terrible profile will get you about as far as the front door. Consider visiting an LI member’s profile and seeing a blank page. Would you, as an employer or just a curious visitor want to contact said person for an interview or join her network? The answer is a resounding NO. Further consider that your main objective is to network with as many quality contacts as possible. This applies to business people as well as jobseekers. Poor profile, small quality network.

Many LinkedIn members see Groups as very valuable feature and have joined as many as 50 various groups. (I know this is true because 50 is the limit, and people have complained that they can’t join more.) Still, when people in your groups see profiles without cause, they won’t want to network with those people. Do you want to be excluded because your profile is deemed unacceptable? An incomplete profile indicates lack of both conviction and effort; it yells, “I don’t care how I present myself either for business or for a job search.” So what value would you be to someone in your groups if your profile is poorly done? It’s as though a person is guilty by association for connecting with someone who has a shoddy profile. No serious LI member wants this.

There’s one feature on LinkedIn that has drawn my attention, one in which I participate a great deal. This is the Answers feature, which can be found under the More link. The idea is for LI members to ask questions related to a particular category or subcategory, such as Education, Job Search, Project Management, Technology, and hundreds of others. Other LI users who see the thousands of questions asked a day have the opportunity to answer them. Mainly I participate because I enjoy writing and like to think that some of the information I impart is helpful to those asking questions. Question like: What is your idea of a great vacation? are ones I steer clear of.

Oddly enough, posting a question draws a lot of people to your profile because in order to answer some questions, it behooves the respondents to check it out. Some questions are meant to specifically draw LinkedIn members to a poster’s profile. For example, a question I answered once read, “How would you rate my profile from 1-10?” When he drew me to his profile, I could have been compelled to invite him to my network. In this case, the poster’s profile was weak at best. My answer wasn’t scathing, but I was honest. I think I rated it a 5 out of 10. Needless to say, I wasn’t tempted to invite him to my network.

I asked a question a month ago that I hesitated asking but one that garnered some great answers. It read, “If you read my profile would you contact me?” Not only did I receive some valuable advice, particularly regarding my Name and Title, I received a business opportunity…on which I have yet to follow up. If my profile were lame, sloppy, cruddy, terrible, inexcusable, a waste of everyone’s time—I wouldn’t have prompted such great answers.

LinkedIn’s Answers feature occupies much of my time. In other situations, I might be visiting Companies or Jobs, or searching for People or Groups. I fancy Answers, but I believe in the value of a good profile to both assist in answering questions and receiving great answers to my questions. If you want to utilize the best features LinkedIn has to offer, put some effort and care into your profile. People everywhere are looking.

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