How To: Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile

banner-linkedinprofileOne of the best things about LinkedIn is that it’s not Facebook. So why are people using it as Facebook-But-For-Jobs?

I have many friends who are incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable about many things. Unfortunately, some are not as skilled at social media as it relates to the job search and this post has come about after being asked by several friends how to make their LinkedIn profile better. This will include information not just on the ‘why’ but also on the ‘how.’ One thing I won’t do is make a numeric list of things, but will instead go section by section with information.

The first thing to do actually has nothing to do with your profile.

Wait? What’s that? Making a better profile doesn’t even start with the profile? How can this be? Well the first thing you want to do is review your settings. LinkedIn has a great way to notify everyone with whom you are connected of any changes you make. This can be a good thing, such as you got a promotion and want to share it, so by updating your information, it automatically adds it to the feed of everyone who is connected to you when they log in and emails them!

linkedin-settings

While it is a great tool for certain things, it’s not always something you want to happen. Or if you’re making many changes to your profile, you don’t want to spam everyone with twenty notices that you’ve made changes. So before we start, lock that stuff down, people!

You’ll want to go into your settings and make the changes. Here is how you do that:

First, once you are logged into LinkedIn, you will see a top bar with options. Click on your profile picture in the top right corner to bring up the Account & Settings function.

From here, you will be able to manage many of your settings, but what we are most interested in now is the PRIVACY & SETTINGS section.

Click on the Review link.

 

linkedin-privacysettings

This will bring up the Privacy Controls and Settings area. While there are many useful sections to this, we are going to concentrate on the top two:
Turning your activity broadcasts on and off
Selecting who can see your activity feed

Let’s start with ACTIVITY BROADCASTS.

Clicking on TURN ON/OFF YOUR ACTIVITY BROADCASTS will bring up this pop-up window.

linkedin-activitybroadcasts

If you have the check box selected, it will inform people when you make changes to your profile, recommend someone or start to follow a company. This will show on their feed when they first log in. If you are revamping an entire profile or don’t want to necessarily alert someone to changes being made, you will want to uncheck this box, preventing it from appearing in a news feed.

It is a good idea to have this function turned off and only utilize it when you want to announce changes to your profile, such as a promotion.

You can also SELECT WHO CAN SEE YOUR ACTIVITY FEED, which brings up this pop-up window:

linkedin-activityfeed

Now you might be wondering why this is a separate setting. Didn’t we just pick that nothing is going to be broadcast?! Well, yes and no. The previous setting turned off broadcasting of LinkedIn alerting when you changed your profile, wrote a recommendation or followed a company. Basically, the previous setting was about YOU and your profile. However, this particular setting covers who can see everything else that appears in the feed of your activity. This includes things such as sharing or liking a post or making a new connection.

I keep this setting set to ‘Only you’ by default, and then I only change it when I want to share something. I am very active on LinkedIn in groups, so I may sometimes inadvertently spam my connections if this is not set to only show me my activity log. If you are extremely active in groups and things, it’s a good idea to only selectively share your activity with your connections (1st degree connections) or your network (1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections).

While we are here, let’s talk about something that should be common sense but isn’t always. Your profile picture. You don’t need to get professional headshots taken. Your picture doesn’t need to be corporate or stuffy at all. But it shouldn’t be a cropped image of you in a crowd of people. Having random arms and tops of heads around you can be distracting and gives off an air of ‘Well I couldn’t be bothered to get a good picture, so here is a picture of me at a party where I just cropped everyone else out as best I could.’ Whether the picture was actually taken at a luncheon for award winners or at a club, it’s going to leave the same impression. Avoid the duck face, avoid something that is obviously a selfie and avoid distractions. Remember, this is the first visual that people are going to see of you, so make it a positive first impression!