How to Ensure Your LinkedIn Profile Is Effective

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Is your LinkedIn profile as effective as it could be? While you can see your “profile completeness” score on your profile page, it doesn’t measure profile effectiveness — how good your profile is at attracting contacts, generating leads and showing off your skills. Use this checklist to ensure your profile is thorough, effective and updated.

  1. Use the name you’re known by. Perhaps your name is Robert, but most people know you as Rob or Bob. Or, for women, perhaps you worked under a maiden name for years. Use the name that most people know you by professionally. Cover all your bases by using your main name in your basic information and mention any other names elsewhere such as in the “Professional Headline” field, or in your recommendations.

  2. Upload a professional photo. It’s worth the price to use a professional photographer.

  3. Create an effective Professional Headline. Add a “Professional Headline” in the “Edit My Profile” page. This is a short bio that sums up what you do. Mine says, “Content Maven aka writer and editor behind”

  4. Pick the industry that best represents what you do. Alternatively, you could use your clients’ industry if they all come from the same one.

  5. Enter details for current and past positions. Highlight the activities that represent what you do or want to do by mentioning them first.

  6. Write a summary that highlights your most important business information. Keep your summary clear and to the point. Remember you can list details under “Current Position.” The point of a summary is to give people instant information on what you do. I’ve looked at various summaries, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. I used to have a bulleted list, but switched to a short paragraph. When I come across long paragraphs in the summary, I find them hard to read and follow. The shorter ones hold my attention and get the point across fast.

  7. List your web sites and blog. Rather than using the name of your web site and blog, use keywords that describe what you do. For example, I use “Writer for hire and blog” instead of “meryl’s notes,” the name of the blog.

  8. Add your Twitter ID. If you haven’t already, add your Twitter name.

  9. Request recommendations. It’s OK to ask people to recommend you, but make sure you ask the right people.

  10. Write recommendations. Writing recommendations can lead to receiving recommendations.

  11. Add applications to enhance your profile. If you have a blog, feed your blog entries into your LinkedIn account with one of LinkedIn’s applications. You can also turn LinkedIn into an online document collaboration platform.

  12. Send selected Twitter tweets to LinkedIn. While you can connect your Twitter account to your LinedIn profile, many of us tweet too often or tweet about things that would be irrelevant to our LinkedIn contacts. Instead, select just the tweets you want to show up in your LinkedIn profile by adding the hashtag “#in” to the tweet. You can turn on this feature in Twitter Settings.

  13. Select what to display in your public profile. People not connected to you can only see what you allow them to see by setting your Public Profile options. The more you reveal, the easier it is for people to know if they have the right person. Here, you can also set up your Public Profile URL, which shows up as to

    LinkedIn Settings

  14. Review your settings. Though I’ve been on LinkedIn for a long time, I still run into new features and settings. Settings cover everything from profile views and email notifications to personal information and privacy settings. You can provide advice on how people should contact you on the Contact Settings page. Mine says, “Email is the best way to reach me.”