LinkedIn Profile Optimization: Ultimate Guide by Top ProfessionalsShahraz Khan
What Is LinkedIn?
Before we dive in, here’s a quick little primer on LinkedIn for those of you who may be new to the social network. LinkedIn launched in 2003 and is currently the third most popular social network in terms of unique monthly visitors — right behind Facebook and Twitter. Think Facebook, but with a more professional feel and a ton more features. The social network is primarily centered around careers, and it enables users to connect and share content with other professionals, including colleagues as well as potential employers, business partners, and new employees. If you’re a business on LinkedIn, it can also be a fantastic marketing tool.
LinkedIn is a great channel for personal branding and can help you build a powerful presence on the most popular professional social network. LinkedIn can be extremely useful for job search, networking and also for lead generation—especially when you’re aware of all the hidden tricks and ways to optimize your profile. If your “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” chart is flat-lining week after week like a body without a heartbeat, here is an Ultimate Guide by Top Professionals to optimize your LinkedIn profile that will help bring some life into your profile and generate more profile views and optimize it.
There are over 400 million people on LinkedIn. Obviously therefore, the more you know about it, the more chance you have of standing out from the crowd. This 7-part graphical image from sundaycritics.com, titled The Ultimate LinkedIn Cheat Sheet, is absolute dynamite!
If you’re one of the millions of people rewriting your “summary statement” or uploading a new cover photo today, Shahraz Arshad Khan – LinkedIn Digital Marketing Expert, has some advice for you.
Here we’ve divided our ultimate guide list by professionals into 3 main parts. First we’ll share several LinkedIn profile tips so you can optimize your personal LinkedIn presence. Then we’ll share tips for how to use LinkedIn for professional networking, and lastly how to use LinkedIn for Increase Your LinkedIn Endorsements.
LinkedIn Profile Improvement Hacks
Part 1: The Perfect Profile Blueprint
- Headline: 120-character maximum. Be succinct but do include keywords for searchability
- Name: Don’t get cute. Give your name, Profession/job title/niche and where you are
- URL: CUSTOMIZE IT!
- Picture: Present yourself as you show up to work. Consider a professional picture. No pets!
- Summary: Include present and future business ambitions. Add points of contact (phone, email), social media handles, blog url, videos, slideshares….
- Experience: Be precise yet detailed, and AVOID BUZZWORDS! By all means, add videos or anything that will keep readers engaged
- Connections: to keep use of the platform practical, limit your connections to 3.000
- COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE and be 40 times more likely to receive opportunities
Part 2: The right size for images (in pixels):
- Personal Background: 1,400 x 425
- Profile: 400 x 400
- Standard Logo: 100 x 60
- Career Page Photo: 970 x 240
- Banner Image: 646 x 220
- Square Logo: 150 x 50
Part 3: How to outreach for recommendations
Recommendations, obviously, are far more important than endorsements
59% of people consult family and friends before making purchasing decisions
More recommendations = More business
To request recommendations:
- Hover over your image in the top right hand corner
- Select ‘Privacy and Settings’
- Select ‘Manage your recommendations’
- Select ‘Ask for recommendations’
- Select up to 3 people
- PERSONALIZE THE MESSAGE! (Never use the standard LinkedIn text)
- Be sure you tell people what you want to be recommended for
Part 4: Hidden LinkedIn features to enhance your profile
- You can message a fellow group member without being connected to them
- You can download your connections along with their company name, title and email address
- Maintain LinkedIn relationship notes with each connection, along with a reminder to contact them in a day, a week or a month
- Create a Showcase Page to highlight some of your business products or to market to a specific buyer
Part 5: The anatomy of perfect LinkedIn SEO
- Use effective, likely to be search keywords in your professional headline
- Using a personal LinkedIn URL will only have minimal effect on SEO. Claim it anyway!
- Complete your profile. LinkedIn gives prominence to profiles that are 100% complete
- Add up to 3 external links
- Optimize Job Descriptions. Use keywords in bullet points rather than text
- Optimize Job titles
- Get more endorsements
- Promote your LinkedIn profile on other networks
- MAKE YOUR PROFILE PUBLIC
- Use Publisher (publish articles)
Part 6: Quick Tips
- Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 7am and 9am local time are best for posts
- Evernote and LinkedIn are integrated
- Be active in groups. Your profile is 5 times as likely to be viewed!
- Turn off activity broadcasts if looking for a job while in one!
- Endorse people you respect
- Thank people who endorse you
- 20 posts per month can help you reach 60% of your audience
- Regularly update your profile
- Avoid buzzwords, e.g. creative and motivated in your profile
Part 7: Keep your profile secure
- Control whether to broadcast your profile changes
- Decide whether you want to be anonymous when viewing other profiles
- Decide whether anyone else can see your connections
- Turn on a 2-step verification to make your account more secure (the instructions are in the graphic)
- Employ standard, secure practices with your password:
- A hacker can brute force crack a 10-character password in a week
- A hacker can brute force crack a 15-character password in 150 million years!
How to Use LinkedIn for Professional Networking
1-Use your profile to connect the people you’re not connected.
With the exception of your fellow group members (more on this in tip #18), LinkedIn only allows you to send messages to people who you share a first-degree connection with. But did you know some people let you send them messages anyway, even if you’re not connected? The ability to be part of the Open Profile network is only available to premium account holders, but it allows those users to be available for messaging by any other LinkedIn member (regardless of their LinkedIn membership level) if they choose to be.
To send an Open Profile message, visit the member’s profile and click Send an InMail. If you don’t see this option, hover over the down arrow in the top section of the user’s profile and select Send an InMail. (For premium account holders, click the Send [member’s name] a Message button.)
2-Check your Network Updates
Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are essentially LinkedIn’s version of the Facebook News Feed. Check this feed periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing, or share updates of your own, such as noteworthy content related to your industry/career, content you’ve created yourself, etc. You can also sort by Top Updates or Recent Updates to filter your feed in one way or the other.
Allow others to see who you are if you view their profile. To enable this, visit your Settings (click your thumbnail image in the top right and click Manage next to Privacy & Settings) and click Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile under Profile >> Privacy Controls. Make sure you check off the your name and headline (Recommended) option. This allows you to take advantage of the next feature on our list …
4-Check out who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile.
How? With the Who’s Viewed Your Profile feature, of course! This tool, which is accessible in the main navigation via the Profile dropdown, enables you to identify which other LinkedIn users have visited your profile page (so yeah, exactly what it sounds like). In fact, LinkedIn gave this coveted creeper feature a facelift in February 2014, so the information it provides is even better than ever. You can also see how you stack up against the profile views for your connections, people in your company, and other professionals like you.
Has someone been checking out your profile that you might want to connect with? This might be the “in” you’ve been waiting for to connect. (Remember, if you don’t make yourself identifiable via tip #14 above, you won’t have access to this feature. It’s a two-way street!)
And if you’re interested in trying to boost the number of views to your own LinkedIn profile, we wrote a little tutorial about how to do just that here.
Want to transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system? Luckily, LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Click Connections in LinkedIn’s top navigation, click the settings gear icon in the top right, and click Export LinkedIn Connections under Advanced Settings on the right. You’ll have the option of either exporting them as a .CSV or .VCF file.
6-Easily find new connections – or connect with old ones!
Speaking of connections, the Connections tab in the top navigation offers a variety of other tools to grow and connect with contacts in your professional network. Click Add Connections in the drop-down menu to import contacts from your email accounts and get suggestions for other connections, connect with other alumni from your alma mater using the Find Alumni feature, and use the Keep in Touch feature to stay in touch with current connections, keep track of your communications, and get notifications when contacts in your network change jobs, have birthdays, or when you’ve fallen out of touch. LinkedIn even has a Connected mobile app so you can take advantage of these features on the go.
7-Leverage the perks of LinkedIn Groups.
Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first-degree connection in order to message them? As long as you’ve been a member of LinkedIn for at least 30 days and a member of the particular group for at least 4 days, LinkedIn allows you to send up to 15 free 1:1 messages to fellow group members per month (across all groups you belong to). (Note: Your 15 message allotment excludes any back-and-forth replies that are the result of an original message. Learn more about LinkedIn’s specifications for communicating with fellow group members here.)
In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities.
For those of you who have been leveraging LinkedIn Groups for a while, you may be aware that LinkedIn recently made some pretty big changes. Groups are now private and membership must be approved (though once you’re in, your conversations no longer require moderation), and there is no longer a promotions tab or subgroups. Learn more about LinkedIn’s changes to Groups here.
8-Take advantage of Advanced Search options.
LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature provides a much richer search experience. For example, say you want to find out if you’re connected to anyone who works at a specific company. Type the company name in the company field in Advanced Search, then filter the results by “Relationship” to see if you have any first- or second-degree connections to any employees.
9-Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter.
Ever since the big LinkedIn/Twitter breakup of 2012, you can no longer automatically sync your tweets to publish on LinkedIn (or even selectively by using the hashtags #in or #li in specific tweets). But don’t fret — as long as you add your Twitter account to LinkedIn, the opposite is still possible. So if you’re ever posting an update to LinkedIn that you’d also like your Twitter followers to see, you can easily syndicate that update to Twitter by selecting the Public + Twitter option in the Share with dropdown within the LinkedIn update composer.
10-Leverage @mentions in your status updates.
In 2013, LinkedIn rolled out the ability to tag or @mention other users and companies in status updates — much like the way it works on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Want another LinkedIn user or company to see your status update? Include the @ symbol immediately followed by the user’s/company’s name in your status update. As a result, that user/company will get alerted that you mentioned them, and their name will also link to their profile/page in the status update itself.
Instant Ways to Increase Your LinkedIn Endorsements
It only takes few minutes to triple your LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements.
Yet, most people have no idea how to do it.
After sending my 100th copy-and-paste message on LinkedIn, which took a total of 20 minutes, the next step was to wait. Two days later, my skills and endorsements increased by over 1000%.
Total endorsements: 30.
Total endorsements: 302. An increase of over 1000%… in less than 15 minutes.
It was almost too easy.
Although I’d be proud to say my telekinetic, psychic powers of future employment wizardry was the cause, that’s unfortunately not true. It’s all based on one simple premise – put other’s before yourself.
If you follow these exact instructions, you will triple (at least) your LinkedIn Endorsements in less than 15 minutes.
Step 1: Use This Message
I sent this one message (copy and pasted) to 300 connections:
Notice the emphasis on the opening sentence:
“What skills do you want to be endorsed for?”
This captures the receiver’s attention, as they immediately see the benefit of continuing to read the message.
The first paragraph continues to explain why LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements help with the job search (ex. “HR reps look for these skill sets on LinkedIn”). Then it mentions a line about helping each other out – something we all need as college students and recent college graduates.
During the second half of the message, you can input the skills that you would like to get endorsed. Try to limit the skills to 5, as anything more than that can become overwhelming for the person endorsing you.
Now, your first step is to copy this message:
What skills do you want to be endorsed for? I’m going around endorsing people for what skills they want highlighted. It helps you with the job search, believe it or not, as HR reps look for these skill sets on LinkedIn. So figure it makes sense for everyone to help each other. 🙂
If you get a sec, could you in turn endorse my profile for ONLY these 5 skills:
-[insert skill #1]
-[insert skill #2]
-[insert skill #3]
-[insert skill #4]
-[insert skill #5]
Trying to boost these babies to the top. Let me know what you need to be endorsed for.
[insert your name]
www.linkedin.com/in/[insert your url]
Now you’ll send it to your connections.
Step 2: Quickly Find People
Now that you’ve crafted your message (i.e. copied the text above), it’s time to message your connections. Here is the quickest way possible to do so.
First, click on the Connections tab on the LinkedIn menu.
Scroll down to the bottom of the screen, where you’ll see the section that shows (by default) your most recent conversations for all contacts:
Click where is says Sort by Recent Conversation, then you’ll see a drop-down menu. On that, select First Name. This will now sort your contacts by first name.
Next, click where is says Filter by All Contacts, then you’ll see a drop-down menu. On that, select Connections Only. This will now only show your connections.
Now that you’ve applied the filters, click the aZ button, which will pull down letters A through Z:
Click the letter A, which will then load all of your contacts with the first name starting with A (ex. Aaron, Andrea, etc.).
Scroll down to assure all of the contacts have been loaded, then check the Select All box. Then click Message:
This takes you to a new page, where all of your contacts have been selected in a composed message.
Step 3: Send the Message
Copy and paste the message from step 1 (after filling in your personal information, obviously) and use whatever subject line you like. I chose the subject line “Skills” but if that’s too informal, try something like “Help me, help you“. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Just pick something.
Now this is the most important step of the entire exercise… you must uncheck the box labeled “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses.” The box is checked by default.
Don’t forget to uncheck the box! If you keep it checked, your contacts will see you messaged 50 other people and will be less likely to respond. Save yourself the headache and, again, uncheck the box.
And **TA-DA**, you did it! It’s that easy. 🙂
Now, you merely repeat this process for each letter, or 26 times. If it takes you 30 seconds per letter (which it should), this will only take you 13 minutes.
(As clarification, you sort per letter because LinkedIn only allows you to send one message to 50 contacts at a time. By sorting per letter, chances are you won’t surpass the limit of 50 contacts in a single message.)
Now just don’t forget to return the favor and endorse everyone back who replies to your messages.
I would love to hear if these tips worked for you, questions you may have and any LinkedIn related success stories. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.