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Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile and Increase Find-Ability

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Did you know that there are 7610 searches on LinkedIn per minute?  In 2011 there were 4.2 billion professionally-oriented searches on the LinkedIn platform.*

Now, what if I told you that there is a way to optimize your LinkedIn profile so that you are found more often than not in those searches.  Would you be interested?

The first step in optimizing your LinkedIn profile is to make sure that you have one.  You will need to create your profile and complete at least the basic information.  Be as thorough as you can. You want to fill in as much information as possible, focusing specifically on your work experience, adding a recent photo and making sure you contact information is accurate.  Once you have done that spend time making connections, joining groups. That's the basics.

So what items can help you optimize that you may have overlooked?

  • Recommendations
  • Applications
  • LinkedIn Answers
  • Resume Builder

Let's take a detailed look into each one.

Recommendations
Recommendations help to create trust and credibility in your services, skillset and what you offer. The most important item to remember when it comes to recommendation is to focus on quality not quantity. They can also enhance your "find-ability" within the network.

How can you get recommendations?  Here are two suggestions:

  1. Ask, but don't use the blanket email that is available. Make your request personal and send a note to those you have worked with, associates and colleagues.
  2. Give them.  By giving others a recommendation they will often reciprocate.

Applications
Applications add value to your LinkedIn Profile. The application directory provides a variety tools that can help you enhance your profile.

A few of my favorites include:

  • Blog Link or Wordpress - Connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Portfolio Display - Show off your work within your profile.
  • Ebookshelf - Read content from the leading minds in business.
  • Slideshare - Showcase your presentations right on your LinkedIn profile.

The applications above will help in enhancing the experience of your connections by giving them an inside look into you as a person.

LinkedIn Answers
Unfortunately I think LinkedIn Answers doesn't get enough attention and then has to be my favorite part of LinkedIn.  LinkedIn Answers and the Q&A platform enables individuals like you to demonstrate your business knowledge by answering questions asked by other members.  As your answers are selected you can acquire points. The points rank members on the Answer leaderboard as "This Week's Top Expert." That's quite a statement when it comes to credibility.

If you are trying to establish yourself as an expert, gain business or just give back LinkedIn Answers is a great place to start.  It can also be a lot of fun.

Resume Builder
LinkedIn has a great Resume Builder. This is especially handy if you are job-seeking and need to optimize your profile so that you will be found by recruiters.  The tool is very easy to use, but don't you dare use it unless your LinkedIn profile is accurate, optimized and correct.  The resume builder comes with 11 templates that you can chose from. You just pick a template; customize the content and print or share.  You can customize using drag and drop, modify your visibility settings, share or export your resume. That's it, the resume builder is really that easy!

Now those are the main areas that you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for use, but let's talk about optimizing for search and find-ability.

5 Tips for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Search

  1. Professional Headline. Complete your professional headline; this is the description next to your name.  Make sure that you use keywords that prospective clients or employers would look for.  Also remember this headline is attached to you everywhere you go, so it will show up in your comments, answers and the email that you send via LinkedIn.

  2. Change Your LinkedIn Profile URL.  LinkedIn allows you to edit your profile URL.  For example mine is www.linkedin.com/in/lauralake.  Having my name in the url helps me to rank better in search and also be found easier on LinkedIn. Changing it is easy. While logged in just click the following link to edit your url. Customize and Personalize URL on LinkedIn. Remember, you must be logged in.

  3. Keywords. Use the proper keywords, not the keywords that necessarily make sense to you - but the keywords prospective clients or employers would look for.  The Google Keyword Tool can help you with this. Once you identify the keywords that you will be using use them in your headline, company position, experience and summary. I would also suggest personalizing your website links to include the keywords there as well.

  4. Complete the Specialties section.  This section is located right below the summary section.  You will want to showcase and promote your areas of expertise here. This is a great place to use keywords.  Keywords I use in my specialties section include:

    • ecommerce
    • marketing strategy
    • marketing planning
    • online marketing
    • internet marketing
    • search engine marketing
    • social media marketing
  5. You get the point.

  6. Evaluate. See where you stand.  A simple evaluation will allow you to see which queries bring your profile to the top.   Here is how to evaluate your optimization efforts:

    1. Go to the people tab – click advanced search.
    2. Enter a keyword or keywords associated with the services that you offer or your targeted position.  Example:  Online Marketing or Marketing Manager
    3. Enter the geographic location or zip code and a distance quotient.
    4. Select and industry or multiple industries.
    5. Click search.

    Did you find yourself?  If not, go back to the top of this article and try again.  If you are stuck, look at the top few names that came up in the search results, open their profiles and review the highlighted words.  You will see the criteria that LinkedIn used to filter the results. You’ll notice more than likely the four areas these keywords are found are:

    • Professional Headline
    • Titles
    • Specialties
    • Industries
  7. Work to optimize these four areas with the keywords you want to be found under.  By spending a little time to think strategically and inserting targeted keywords that make sense you will increase your chances of being found.


*LinkedIn

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