Last week I received an e-mail saying that my new LinkedIn profile was ready for updates. Rolling my eyes I thought, really? Didn't we just do this?
Meeting yet another profile change with resistance was obviously my first reaction, but, truthfully, this time LinkedIn did most of the work for us.
I soon realized that the new profile changes are clean, simple, and strategic.
LinkedIn consultant Wayne Breitbarth, who's also the author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, agrees. Sure, you have to do a little work on your profile--again, but the world's largest professional network has made it easy. Here's Breitbarth's simple breakdown and checklist. Set aside a bit of time to take advantage of these changes. It will be worth your while!
Your photo is much larger.
This means--more than ever--it better be high quality and display how you want to be visually perceived in the business marketplace.
Your headline is more prominent.
Many people don't even realize they can edit this, let alone understand that it represents the best real estate on your entire profile. Work hard at maximizing your 120 characters--in other words, including your best keywords and branding message.
Your activity feed is front and center.
Now that it's repositioned, you better make sure you are sharing your best stuff on a consistent basis. People are waiting to hear from you. If they're not hearing your best information (thoughts, resources, advice), they'll undoubtedly be listening to your competitors.
Your profile sections are visually easier to read and more interesting.
With the addition of icons for each profile section and the logos of not only the companies you have worked for but also for the other organizations you include (nonprofits, associations, etc.), you are making a much more impactful branding statement.
It is important to correctly identify the company or organization (as listed on their LinkedIn company page) or the logo will not attach to your profile. This is all the more reason to include all the important jobs you have had in the past, no matter how long ago it was, as long as it improves your brand perception.
Your story is easier to tell.
There have always been additional sections you could add to your profile, but LinkedIn has made it much easier to access these and remind you about what is available. Tell your story (experience, accomplishments, expertise, etc.) in a deeper, more interesting way with these profile sections: Volunteer Experience & Causes, Certifications, Publications, Projects, Courses, Languages, Patents, and Test Scores.
Your story just got visual.
You can now add a personal gallery (videos, presentations, and more) to any of your job experiences and educational entries. People can not only read about how good you are, but they can see for themselves. Include some of your best presentations, photos, and videos of not only you in action but others talking about your expertise and the results they have experienced.
Your fans are more important.
I've heard a lot of grumbling about LinkedIn's new endorsements feature. Because of the high visibility of these endorsements of your skills and expertise--as well as the more prominent positioning of your recommendations--it's more important than ever to garner this social proof.
Be sure to list your most important skills so you can get endorsed for them. And LinkedIn lets you manage this entire section, allowing your audience to see only what you want them to see. For instance, if you get endorsed by someone of questionable reputation, you can hide this endorsement from public view.
Your commonalities are highlighted.
While viewing someone's profile, you can now see at a glance what you have in common--such as Skills, Groups, Interests, Location, Schools, Causes, Supported Organizations--and I suspect there will be more in the future.
Strategy: The more interesting information you share on your profile that aligns with your brand and business strategy, the better chance that a reader will feel aligned with you--and that's always a good thing.
Your connections' networks are now individually searchable.
In terms of growing your network (and your business), this is the big daddy of changes, in my opinion.
Choose one of your first-level connections and any or all of the specific search criteria that are available in the Advanced Search function. You can now search his or her network for people who meet your search criteria.
In the past, you could search your network as a whole. For instance, you'd search for presidents and CEOs in the printing industry in Chicago, and you'd discover how, if at all, you are connected to each of them.
Now, for example, you can specifically search for all the presidents and CEOs your friend Judy knows in the printing industry in Chicago.
This is money in the bank. To those who have been grumbling about the features LinkedIn has removed, I suggest you send LinkedIn a thank-you note for this one!
Let me know below--or on LinkedIn!--what you think of the new profile changes, and please share any additional tips for optimizing your profile.