According to LinkedIn, profiles considered “complete” by LinkedIn’s standards receive 40 times more “opportunities” (contacts from prospective hiring managers and recruiters) than incomplete profiles–that’s 40 TIMES! Your profile is 9 times more likely to be read if you include a profile picture. It is also 7 times more likely to be read if you include your work history (not just your current position).
Completing your profile improves your chances of being found by people searching for you specifically, or for someone with your qualifications, credentials, and background. And that’s true even when using sites like Google and Bing. As LinkedIn’s own materials say, “LinkedIn profiles typically appear among the top search results when people search by name.”
LinkedIn’s criteria for “profile completeness” have changed somewhat over time. As of June 2012, to be considered “complete” by LinkedIn’s standards (the score you see on the right side of your “Edit Profile” page reflects how close you are to finishing these items) you need these items in your LinkedIn profile:
• Profile photo
• Your current industry and postal code
• A current position with description
• Two or more additional positions
• At least five skills (listed in the new “Skills & Expertise” section)
• At least 50 connections
• A summary
Note the second to last item: “At least 50 connections.” Even if you have a gorgeous, high-impact profile that is complete in every other way, if you have not taken the time to build a network of at least 50 people, your profile’s rank in searches will fall. It will also make a less than stellar impression on visitors to your profile if you do not have at least a small network of colleagues.
Some other basic activities to facilitate your success in using LinkedIn for job search include:
• Customize your LinkedIn profile URL (www.linkedin.com/in/yourname) – a custom URL is easier to remember, has a less cluttered look, is generally shorter, and looks better in your email signature or on your resume.
• If you’re including a link to your website or blog, customize the text link (rename it so it doesn’t just say “Personal Website” or “Company Website”).
• Include your contact information. LinkedIn allows you to add your phone number (designated as home, work, or mobile), Instant Messenger contact information (AIM, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, or GTalk), and multiple email addresses (in addition to your primary/sign-in email).
• Add languages that you speak
• Fill in key projects you’ve worked on (this is a separate section within the profile).
• Add a list of courses you’ve taken. (This will help with keyword searches)
• In the “Settings” under “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” set this to “Your name and headline (recommended).”
You may wish to set your preferences so that your network is NOT notified of changes to your profile or new connections you add – unless you don’t mind if your current employer sees that you’ve just connected to several recruiters.