We’ve talked about the importance of having a LinkedIn profile, how not to bore your audience, and how vital LinkedIn is for growing your professional network. It’s your opportunity to showcase your professional experience and develop your network.
But how do you take it to the next level?
By actually showcasing yourself, gaining greater exposure, and building your professional brand. We are halfway through 2014 people, there is no time like the present when it comes to making a LinkedIn profile that works for you. You achieve greater LinkedIn success (and stand out against your professional competition) when you take your profile further. You can take it further with some focus on professional keywords, targeted networking, and profile completion.
1. A healthy LinkedIn profile is like a healthy website- it’s keyword driven.
You want your profile to be searchable for users based on terms you’ve identified within your professional experience. These keywords help focus your profile, make you searchable, and can highlight the experience you want to be known for. I’m not at all suggesting that you need to be an SEO expert and run a full analysis of competitive keywords. You want to make sure your summary and professional experience is clear and concise with the keywords related to your experience included in the profile content.
But remember, don’t rely on jargon to convey that you are “driven” and an “avid learner” who is also “goal-oriented”. Blah, so is everyone. Pick words that tie your professional experience and match them with “who you want to be when you grow up." Keywords are all searchable and will help you get to the professional exposure you want.
2. More is not merrier when it comes to the number in your LinkedIn network.
LinkedIn is not Facebook. In Facebook, the mom you know only from your daughter’s third grade book fair will friend you and that's common practice. Your LinkedIn network is best when composed of strategic value adding professionals. Grooming your network to include professionals in your space or that you have worked with is better than people you have never met.
There are two reasons behind this. A targeted professional network will produce more engagement from these peers. The more likely they are to connect you with people within their network that can help you grow your business or career. LinkedIn is for networking and the more you can have access to valuable professionals, the better!
3. Having a fully completed profile makes a difference. As they say, go big or go home.
It takes time in your already busy day but it’s worth taking the extra effort. Fill out your academic experience, professional background, interests, and certifications. These are all opportunities to connect with other like-minded professionals that may add value to your professional growth. If someone is interested in Crossfit they may connect with me over my Fran time, and then we can talk marketing and make a real connection.
LinkedIn is the social media channel for building your professional brand and developing a network of people that can help you grow. Devoting time to having a slick completed profile (that's keyword optimized with a handpicked network) helps takes your professional brand to the next level. Not only will you be searchable in LinkedIn search, you will have a network of people who are willing to help you grow. There are some parts of social media an individual can choose to skimp on. But for those who want to gain more professional traction take extra time with LinkedIn.