Number 2 of my Top 5 Tips is Complete.
Complete – In the early days of LinkedIn, the process to obtaining a 100% complete profile required you to have a photo, headline, current position, two past positions, education, 3 recommendations, summary and specialties. Now LinkedIn makes suggestions for your profile to help you make it as complete as possible. It even gives you suggestions at the top of your profile or stream at times to help you make changes. I would suggest that you always make any of your changes manually instead of using the automated suggestions.
One of the newest features – Skills and Expertise – is automatically added to your profile. You should take full advantage of the 50 skills that you can include. You will want to select your level of expertise and the years of experience. The cool thing is that you can drag and drop them once you have them entered, so just start typing in your skills. Check the profiles of someone in your industry to see what skills they have included. You may be able to add those to your list as well.
When it comes to recommendations, they have to come from people to whom you are directly connected. If you write one for someone else, they are more than likely to write one for you, but try to avoid the “recommendation love” trap of writing one for someone who has just written one for you. If that does happen, wait a week or two before you accept the recommendation. Writing an unsolicited recommendations for someone with whom you have just completed a project is a good way to put a smile on their face. Remember that the recommendation needs to be from a 1st degree connection. If you aren’t directly connected to someone they cannot write a recommendation for you. Don’t make the mistake of inviting your old boss to connect and soliciting a recommendation all in the same communication.
Within each of the profile items there are nuances to help you optimize your profile. For example, on the Summary section you have 2000 characters to write a description of how you might be able to solve the readers problems should they decide to work with you. Write in 1st person a description of a problem you faced, an action you took, and the end result relating it to money you saved for a company or money you earned for a company. The average user (those people who have a basic account) sees only the first 100 results in any keyword search performed. Most people only search for one keyword. This could yield as many as 700-?? results.
Only profiles that are 100% complete will appear at the top of the list. So with a potential pool of 175 million names, if your profile isn’t complete, your profile may never be seen unless someone searches for you by name.