Yesterday, we went through the basics of setting up an account and profile on LinkedIn. Today, we’re going to look much more in-depth at the LinkedIn profile and get ourselves to 100% profile completeness (or just about)!
You may be wondering why you need to bother with completing your profile – isn’t the bare minimum enough?
Well, according to LinkedIn, "Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn." Your profile becomes complete when you have:
- Your current position
- Two past positions
- Your education
- Your profile summary
- A profile photo
- Your specialties
- At least three recommendations
LinkedIn tries to make your experience with them as painless as possible, and they are always including new ways to streamline your efforts. One of these is the ability to import your resume to build your profile faster. (Don’t worry, we’ll also go through the manual way to do this!).
You’ll see on the right hand side of the Edit Profile screen (not sure how to get here again? Check out the first post for a reminder) that there’s a link that says "Import Your Resume."
Click on this, and a smaller window will open up, allowing you to browse to the file and upload it:
Once you upload your resume, LinkedIn will extract the information and display it for you so that you can edit it. It will appear similarly to this:
You will see the positions show up in one of two ways:
- The position shows up as complete, like the first position I have listed. It includes my title, the industry, the dates worked, and the short summary of the job. Check this information over to make sure that it’s correct. In my case, it’s not, so I’ll click on the edit button to make some changes.
- The position shows up missing some information, like the second position I have listed. Here, I’m required to input some additional information before saving the information to my LinkedIn profile. I need to put in the company name, the industry, the dates worked and check the description to make sure that it’s accurate.
This page also allows you to remove any position that might not be relevant. In some cases, you’ll want every job you’ve held to be shown in your LinkedIn profile. But for many of us, we want it to be a little more targeted. I want my profile to reflect my marketing experience, so I include my previous position in market research, as well as the marketing work I did for girls WRITE! I don’t need to include any college jobs I had, or internships, unless they relate to the overall image I’m looking to project.
Since I’m uploading an old resume, I go through each of the positions to make sure they’re up to date. The first one has the wrong industry and dates of employment, so I choose edit and make those changes:
The second position is missing information, so I fill that in:
The third position is my current job, so I add in a description for that:
And the final position is one I held in helping out a friend in college, and it’s not relevant, so I delete it:
You’ll note that the position will be deleted once you click the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the page. But before doing that, check the imported information about your education.
I suspect this isn’t complete, although it’s correct, so I click "Edit" to fill it in further. In addition to the school name and fields of study, I can add in my degree, the time period I studied there (this helps in matching you to alums who were there at the same time you were), the activities and societies I was a part of, and any additional notes I want to add.
Once all of the information is complete, hit "Save Changes" at the bottom of the page to automatically update your profile, which looks like this:
Now, let’s say for example that you don’t have your resume handy, or there are positions that you want to add to this list that don’t appear on the most recent version of you resume. You can add a position very easily. At the top of the "Experience" section, you’ll see "+Add a position:"
Click this, and you’re able to add another position you’ve held. For example:
I wanted to add this self-employment position because it involved developing marketing skills. Once you’re finished adding in the additional information, hit "Save Changes." Repeat this for every position that you want to add to round out your professional experience.
LinkedIn is great about offering you prompts to get your profile to 100% completeness – once you’re professional experience is filled in, they want to make sure that all of your education is reflected in your profile. At the top of the page, you’ll see this box:
This is a great place to add in your law school or grad school information if it wasn’t included in your resume. If all of your education has been included, you can click "I have listed all my schools."
Next, LinkedIn encourages you to add your Skills. The reason that this is important is because Skills are searchable via the new LinkedIn feature also called Skills. Add in as many of your skills as you can, which will enhance your profile with a new layer of credibility and keywords. Consider adding skills like "Employment Law" or "Immigration Law." In my case, I add skills that are relevant to my position:
You can add as many skills as you want – this prompt only gives you three spaces, but if you’d like to add additional skills, scroll down to the Skills section towards the bottom of your profile and click "+Add a Skill."
This will allow you to add up to a total of 50 skills on this page:
Once you have added your Skills, LinkedIn will prompt you to include a summary. This is one of the most important parts of your profile, because it’s the snapshot of yourself that you present to the world (at least the world on LinkedIn). It should sum up everything that you want to communicate – your goals, your expertise and your industry. Mine looks like this:
Once you save your summary, LinkedIn has two final suggestions to bring your profile up to 100% completeness. The first of these is adding your specialties. What’s the difference between Skills and Specialties, you may ask? The main difference is that Skills are searchable through the Skills section on LinkedIn’s website, while specialties are searchable only in a general way. My recommendation is to include the same list of skills in your list of specialties.
To the right hand side of the screen, you’ll see the option to add specialties:
Click on the "+Add your specialties" link and you’ll be able to list the specialties you want to add to your profile.
The second suggestion LinkedIn has is to ask for a recommendation – each recommendation is worth an additional 5% of completeness, to bring you up to the full 100%. We’re going to discuss recommendations and requesting them in a separate post, so don’t worry about them at this point. Right now, we just want to concentrate on getting your profile as complete as possible, and then beginning to connect and engage with others on LinkedIn.
At this point, LinkedIn doesn’t give you any additional prompts, but there are two other things I see as essential to completing your profile. The first of these is sections. Just below your profile image and highlights, you’ll see a bar that says "+Add sections."
Click on this link, and it will open up a new window. It can look a bit overwhelming at first, with many different options, but I promise, it’s not scary.
On the lefthand side, you’ll see a list of all of the possible sections you could add to your profile. For example, you may be certified:
Click on the Certifications link on the lefthand side, which shows you a preview, and gives you a button to "Add to Profile." Click this button, and it takes you to a new page where you can add your certification:
This may be a good spot to include your Bar qualifications and any other certifications you may have.
For the remaining sections that LinkedIn offers:
- Courses: This is great for students who are looking for work and want to showcase their school-gained skills.
- Honors and Awards: Honors and Awards allow you to show any professional achievements you’ve gained during your career that might enhance your profile.
- Languages: This is fairly self-explanatory, but in addition to listing the other languages you speak, you can include whether you have native or bilingual proficiency, professional working proficiency, or elementary proficiency.
- Organizations: List the organizations that you are a member of – here, feel free to list non-professional organizations as well. Social media is a place to let people get to know you better, both personally and professionally, and you might find that you have interests in common with people that will lead to deeper professional relationships.
- Projects: Again, this is useful for students who may have projects that reflect their skills, when they don’t have work experience that does.
- Patents: Self-explanatory.
- Publications: This is a good section to list the articles you have authored, as well as any books published. It again fleshes out your profile and gives viewers a more complete picture of your skills.
- Test Scores: Again, this is useful for students (and blows the theory I developed at 18 that no one will ask you for your SAT scores once you’ve graduated from college!).
Underneath the sections, you’ll see Applications listed – we’ll be going over these in a future post, so don’t worry about these now.
The last essential piece of your profile is the "Professional Headline" – the reason this is so important is that when LinkedIn offers others using the service a list of "People they may know," the only thing they share with them is the person’s name, and this headline. Additionally, if someone is searching your name, this professional headline is what comes up. So for anyone who’s a little busy (which ALL of us are these days), the only thing they may use to make a snap judgment of you is that professional headline. It’s important to make it count.
To edit this, on your Profile Edit page, click the "Edit" link next to your name:
This will take you to a new screen where you can edit your basic information:
You’ll see that you can edit a number of things here, including your first and last name (maiden name if applicable), how you’d like your name displayed, and your location and industry. You’ll see your Professional "Headline" right in the middle:
My suggestion for the professional headline is to include your job title and company – but as attorneys, I don’t suggest you just put "Partner at XYZ law firm." It’s helpful to be a little more descriptive than that, and get into the type of law you practice. So something like "Transportation attorney at XYZ law firm," or "Employment Partner at XYZ law firm" is much more descriptive for anyone looking briefly at your profile information.
Once you’ve decided on your professional headline and typed it in, hit "Save Changes." Your profile is complete!
As I mentioned, you will still see only 85% completeness until you get three recommendations, but we’ll cover recommendations, connecting, questions, groups, and more in future posts!