Think of your LinkedIn profile as a mirror you want it to be a robust representation of your expertise and professional capabilities.
With that in mind, its interesting to note that according to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities than those with incomplete profiles. Having a fully completed profile makes you visible, giving you the opportunity to leverage your network and engage with those who matter most to your professional development and business growth.
Taking the time to optimize your profile increases your ranking within the LinkedIn system, increasing your odds of being found in search results.
Equally as important, your profile offers a way to distinguish yourself from others competing for the attention of your clients and prospects. More than ever before, a quick check of your online presence is becoming the de facto starting point for anyone looking you up.
SKILLS & EXPERTISE
One critical area of your LinkedIn profile is the skills and expertise section. LinkedIn allows users to add up to 50 skills to their profiles. Its important to consider what skills are most important to you as a professional: Focus on your business, thought leadership and what resonates most with your target audience.
Once you have successfully completed your Skills and Expertise, other LinkedIn users can endorse your skills. When viewing someones profile, you will also be prompted by LinkedIn, asking you to endorse that particular user. Unlike recommendations, which are written references supporting you and your work, endorsements are easily done with a click of a button, as simple as liking a post or page on Facebook.
A note about endorsements: Financial advisors are welcome to add skills to their profiles, however for compliance reasons, it is recommended that you turn off the endorsement feature. You should assess your social media policy to ensure compliant use of LinkedIn. To disable endorsements, you can follow these simple instructions. And if you are not able to publish these endorsements (or recommendations), certainly take the time to thank each person for providing them.
That said, you can use these skill endorsements as an opportunity to consider what skills are relevant to those who visit your profile. You dont just have to consider the business skills, but also those skills you exercise in giving back to the community, volunteerism and any philanthropic pursuits you may have. This provides context to those who seek to establish a perception of you as a person. You can amplify this in the section titled Volunteer Experience & Causes.
Endorsements are a great way to validate your skills and areas of expertise, but dont feel like you have to accept every one you receive. You want to ensure they are accurate and will leave profile viewers with the right impression. LinkedIn offers your connections the opportunity to endorse you for suggested skills based upon those you already have added to your profile. When someone endorses you for a new skill, LinkedIn will notify you of the endorsement and ask if you would like to add it to your profile.
It is recommended that you be judicious about adding new skills that you didnt choose to showcase. Sometimes the new skill is relevant to your profile and you will gladly accept the endorsement. However, despite its attempt to suggest skills that match your profile, LinkedIn can miss the mark and suggest skills that dont truly speak to who you are as a professional. For example, I recently received an endorsement for time management while I appreciate the attention from my colleague, this wasnt a skill I necessarily found relevant to my professional profile.
Remember, the skills and expertise section factors in to LinkedIn searches you want to be found by the right people for the right reasons. Its easy to quickly click the accept button when receiving endorsements, but as a best practice, consider whether or not its relevant to your personal brand. Its about quality, not quantity. You want your profile to look genuine; overstuffing your profile with keywords can come across as dishonest, leaving viewers with a bad impression.
Caitlin Zucal is the marketing coordinator for RegEd.
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