There are times when I come across a LinkedIn profile that is strong and doesn’t need much revision. In some cases people had their profile written for them by pros. They have the major sections covered, such as: Background image; Photo; Headline Summary; Experience; and Education.
At times like this, I focus on their overall LinkedIn campaign as revealed by their profile. Because when it comes down to it, their success hinges on more than just the content in their major sections.
Following is a discussion I would have with a client who has a strong LinkedIn profile, but needs help in other areas.
My client logs onto their LinkedIn account on my computer, so I have access to information visitors don’t. This way we’re not violating any LinkedIn rules. We’ll look at the typical profile sections, but I’m more interested in the telltale signs. Following is how a conversation would go.
1. Photo properties
Before our session I noticed that I couldn’t see your photo. It’s an easy fix. On your profile you will click on your photo to enlarge it. Then click on Visibility at the bottom-right. Earlier you had selected “Your Connections” as the people who could see your photo. You’ll switch it to “the Public,” so even someone who is not on LinkedIn can see your your photo.
This reveals that you’re guarded about your photo. And some people might think you’re hiding something. With your photo, you have nothing to hide.
2. Low connection number
Your number of connections is low. Even someone who’s not signed onto LinkedIn, or a member of LinkedIn, can see public profiles. They can see the information you want to share on your public profile. You show 289 connections. This is not good. You started your LinkedIn campaign three months ago when you got laid off.
A low number of connections reveals that you’re reluctant to connect with others. Visitors will question your ability to connect with other people, especially if your job will require it. It also shows that you don’t understand the purpose of online networking–developing and nurturing relationships.
3. Focused network
Your network should be focused, not comprised of people from multiple industries. By going to My Network and then All Filters, I can see the prevalent industries among your network, as well as the companies where you have the most connections.
This is encouraging, as it reveals a focused network. You need to keep building your focused network by connecting with people at your desired companies. I suggest you devise a personal invite template to keep on track.
4. Contact Info
On to Contact Info. Many people don’t know to look here, but for those who do, give them the information they need. Include your email address at the very least. Go to Privacy and Settings choose whether to make it visible to “Only Me,” 1st degree and 2nd degree connections, or anyone on LinkedIn.
By not making your email address public, reveals that you don’t want to be contacted. Big mistake. I suggest you also list your email address in your Summary at the end or even in the first line.
5. Dashboard area
Your Dashboard is only visible to you, and it shows you a lot of information. It shows that you only have 289 connections. Don’t be shocked to see only 300 Profile Views in the past 90 days, 10 Post Views on your most recent update, and 2 Search Appearances.
This reveals that, again, you’re not making enough effort to connect with others, and you’re not engaging with your network. Visitors will think you’re waiting for people to come to you.
6. Articles & Activity
This area of your profile is perhaps the most revealing. I don’t expect you to have any published posts; most job seekers don’t publish posts on LinkedIn, which I think is a shame. What’s more shameful is a low engagement. You have “Liked” a number of posts, as well as shared some articles without commenting on them.
This reveals a passive approach to engaging with your network. Commenting shows you’re interested in joining conversations.
7. Education section
Your Education section is strong. Many people fail to make use of the extras they can include in their Education section. Not you. You have all the basics: university, degree, field of study, and honorary designation. This is the information that impresses me:
- Activities and Societies, Division 1A Swimming and editor of newspaper; and
- Description: “For four semesters, I worked two jobs, totaling 15 hours, while taking an average of six classes per semester. In the summers between my Sophomore and Junior years, interned at Ernst and Young and Fidelity.”
The extras reveal your willingness to personalize your Education section, which many people don’t.
8. Volunteer experience
This reveals a good thing. You can add this experience to your Experience section–because you’re working 20 hours a week–which will bring your profile to All Star status.
9. Skills and Endorsements section
You’re allowed to list up to 50 skills, but you’ve only listed 20. When recruiters look at your profile, they want to see you have most of the top 10 skills they’re looking for. Listing only 20 skills reveals a lack of effort in promoting yourself. As well, at least your top 15 skills should be endorsed. How do you do this? By endorsing others.
You have one professional recommendation from each position you held. You have also written recommendations; almost twice as many as you’ve received. Although recommendations used to hold more value, some recruiters will read what your supervisors have written about you. They’ll also read what you’ve written about others.
This reveals that you’re not shy about asking for recommendations. More importantly, you are a giver, as evident by writing recommendations for others.
It’s too bad that this section is anchored in the basement, because it contains some great information. You’ve made good use of this section by listing your Projects, Publications, Certifications, and Honors & Awards. In your Summary you are wise to direct visitors to this section.
What this reveals is that you’ve completed your profile to the best of your ability. You described three major projects you worked on as the CFO of your previous company. Hopefully visitors will follow your instructions in your Summary to scroll down to this section.