I see it more often than you would think: A LinkedIn profile that is not filled out completely. Some business people consider this a small detail that they intend to get around to at some point, but never seem to find the time. Others simply don’t understand the advantages of a completed profile.
But if you are in business, then you should recognize the importance of being found easily in a search and making a good first impression. This is especially important if you are looking to make a career change or are a small business owner and need to be found to grow sales. If these things are important to you, then you need to complete your LinkedIn profile.
Doing so has four distinct advantages and each of them can lead to sales opportunities for you.
Be Found in Searches
Your LinkedIn profile is highly searchable, not just within LinkedIn but also by Google. When someone does a search within the site, LinkedIn will show a list of profiles that match the keywords being searched. For example, if you have included “engineer” in your Headline, Summary, job titles and descriptions, your profile will show when someone uses that term in a search. More importantly, though, Google indexes LinkedIn for searches. If your profile is search optimized using the keyword “engineer” as described above, it will show up in the Google search results, as well.
If you and your business need to be found to grow sales, then optimizing your profile, as well as that of your LinkedIn company page, should be a priority for you.
Your LinkedIn Profile: The Online Representation of Your Career
Think about those words for a moment. Your LinkedIn profile is where people are going today to learn about you and your professional life. It has become much more important than your resume, because not everybody has a copy of that document. But anyone can check your LinkedIn profile. Some visitors may only be curious about you, but on the other hand, others might be considering the possibility of doing business with you and your company. If that’s the case, do you want them to see an incomplete or empty profile? Just as your resume does, your profile says a lot about you as a person. In fact, having a photo on your profile increases the likelihood of it being viewed 11 times.
Filling it out and making it complete tells the world that you have had a full career with accomplishments to talk about. But, the reverse is also true. An empty profile suggests a career that has been lacking, even if that is not the case.
A full profile also communicates that you are someone comfortable with technology. In today’s world, this is a requirement for which hiring managers are looking and one that customers expect.
Completing your profile also gives others the impression that you are thorough and that you give attention to the details. It says to others that you are a person that completes tasks and leaves nothing unfinished.
These are all valuable attributes to convey to others. In a world where first impressions are so important, can you really afford to leave your LinkedIn profile empty?
Others Can Speak to Your Expertise
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to ask fellow employees, supervisors or customers to “Recommend” you. These Recommendations are similar to having someone write a Letter of Recommendation for you. It is an opportunity to display on your profile the positive views from other people about the work that you do. LinkedIn also offers another way for your connections to speak for you and that is through Endorsements. When someone clicks on one of the skills you have listed on your profile, they are confirming that you have that skill. If you don’t believe that Endorsements are widely used, consider this: There are over 1 billion across all of LinkedIn. Having them also means your profile is 13 times more likely to be viewed.
Recommendations and Endorsements are powerful ways to have other people speak to your expertise. They demonstrate to visitors of your profile that you are a valued professional and can do what you say you do.
Creates Opportunities to Make Connections
The more complete your profile, the more opportunities you have to make a connection with someone. You can connect over little commonalities such as working at the same company, attending the same school or volunteering at the same non-profit. Whatever it might be, having something in common builds rapport with others without having to be face-to-face. This small commonality could be the factor that leads to getting a job, or to your business getting a contract. Conversely, if your profile is not complete you will never have that opportunity to connect.
LinkedIn’s influence continues to grow. As of January 2018, there are 530 million users in 200 countries. Statistics show that hiring managers and businesses are doing more research on LinkedIn to fill openings or find vendors, as well.
With so many users on the network and so hiring research being done there, it only makes sense to ensure your profile is search optimized, complete and makes the best first impression possible. There are real, business advantages to doing so.
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Bob Turner is an Online Marketing Consultant with Social Flair Marketing in Cincinnati, Ohio.