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5 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

April 17 2012

We've published several articles recently about agent ratings and other opportunities to boost your online reputation. Today, we'll discuss another important (and free) way to market your professional skills online: LinkedIn. Unlike Pinterest (which is about aesthetics), or Facebook (which is about friends), LinkedIn is truly all about business. But are you truly making the most of LinkedIn's potential?

Here are a few tips for creating a more appealing and effective LinkedIn profile, one with the potential to create new professional opportunities:

1) Examine your profile photo.
This seems like common sense, but you'd be surprised by how many wonderfully horrendous profile photos appear on LinkedIn. Your profile photo should:

  • Look professional
  • Represent the way you look now (no photos from the 80s, people)
  • Be attractive and approachable, without being so airbrushed that you're unrecognizable

2) Do a little "house cleaning."
Your job as a bartender during college was probably memorable, but it is more appropriate as fodder for a short story than it is relevant as experience for a real estate professional. Take a moment to go through your job experience and reduce (don't delete) anything that is outdated or irrelevant. Keeping a record of these unrelated jobs is fine, but try to limit your mention of them to just the basics – title, company, basic duties. Then, focus on fleshing out the jobs that support your current professional goals.

But don't just remove irrelevant info – look for what is missing in your profile. LinkedIn does a great job of encouraging you to add stuff about yourself, like publications, your social media profiles (as well as a Twitter feed), your (or your company's) blog feed. Tag your skills and experience. Add in a listing presentation (via slideshare) or a buyer presentation. Follow companies on LinkedIn that indicate that you are professional and that you are engaged in the community.

When you are finished looking at your profile online, print it out as a PDF and take a look at it again.

3) Allow your personality to shine.
Just because LinkedIn is for professionals, you don't need to create a stale or lifeless profile. In fact, your profile will be more effective if you find ways to reveal your personality, your uniqueness. Share what you love about your career and, with that passion, a bit of your real "voice" should come through.

4) Encourage happy customers and valued colleagues to leave recommendations.
You can talk about yourself until you're blue in the face, but it's simply not going to be as convincing as recommendations from other people. Be sure to ask for recommendations from your happy customers and from your colleagues. If you can, begin by giving the other person a recommendation – good manners often dictate that they reciprocate.

5) Incorporate keywords.
I know what you're thinking - "Eeek – keywords are scary!" It's a natural reaction. But incorporating keywords doesn't have to be too complicated in this context. You can use the Google Keyword Tool to research the top keywords related to your profession. It's free, and it's actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

To get started, consider searching for a phrase like "[your geographical area] realtor" or "[your geographical area] real estate agent" – you can ignore the fields for Website and Category if you want to keep things simple. In addition to showing you the traffic for your specific search terms, Google will also recommend other keyword ideas – DON'T IGNORE THESE! Take a look at the terms Google suggests and, if they're appropriate to you and they get a good amount of search traffic, use them.

Here's an example:

keyword tool

Once you've established your top keywords, be sure to include those in your headline and in your profile. Just make sure to add them in a way that sounds natural, not like you're keyword "stuffing."

Need some help with this? Please contact us.