You might have noticed that your LinkedIn profile looked a bit different when you last viewed it (if you haven’t checked it in the last few weeks, I’d pay it a visit). Part of a major overhaul, your LinkedIn profile has gotten a new look – and some functional changes that can have a big impact on your effectiveness… if you use them right. But never fear. I’ll walk you through the best way to optimize these changes:
1. The photo is bigger. Maybe you are like me and don’t want a huge shot of your mug on your LinkedIn profile. Too bad, it’s there. Having a good photo is now more important than ever. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Since it’s twice as big, the new profile photo is worth 2,000. Make sure you have a clean, clear headshot. In your photo you want to look approachable and polished. Ask yourself, “Does the person in the picture match everything else that I have written on my profile?”.
2. There is now an activity feed immediately following your basic info box. This feed pulls everything a professional has recently done on LinkedIn – new connections, status updates, likes, comments, groups – and puts it one place. When you view a profile you can find out more about a person because you’re viewing more than the static information they’ve listed. You now have a dynamic list of what they are actually doing. On the flip side of this, you need to make sure that you are engaging with LinkedIn consistently to help build your own personal brand, because other professionals are looking at what you are doing. If you haven’t been comfortable posting updates, commenting on other’s updates, and participating in groups, this is the time to start.
3. You can add images, videos, and documents right into your summary. The applications are gone, but one (Slideshare) lives on in the ability to post additional materials right to your summary. If you had a Slideshare account, the new profile has automatically added those videos to your summary. You can add new videos, presentations, and document files through the Edit Profile screen. This is a huge opportunity to share material that helps support your message or speaks directly to your most important audiences. It could be a company video, sales presentation, or training manual – whatever your “customers” need to see.
4. The Profile Completeness tracking bar has been replaced with the Profile Strength graphic. It is tracking the same information, but now you have a graphical representation of how complete your profile is. And it measures an important metric – how well you are using the different features of a LinkedIn profile to communicate your message. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to become an All-Star.
5. The profile now shows us what we have in common with other professionals. This isn’t a direct feature on our profile, but rather a secondary tool that shows us how we’re connected with other LinkedIn users when we look at their profiles. However, this connection information comes directly from what you’ve listed on your profile. Include your skills, education, and past positions to allow the system to find the meaningful ways you are related to the other professionals in the LinkedIn system. It will allow everyone to have better conversations with each other.
Your LinkedIn profile is one of the most powerful tools you have to share your professional brand online. Take advantage of these profile changes to share your message with your network and to explore the power of your connections!