Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Career Success

Is your LinkedIn profile serving you and your career well? I thought so. Neither was mine.

Think of LinkedIn profile maintenance like spring cleaning. No, not like it's something you want to avoid at all costs but like this: there is no right or wrong way to do it and just when you think you are done, you see a cobweb here or a dust ball there, and know there is more to do.

Wait, let me put my dust brush down.

What you do with your LinkedIn profile is a matter of opinion and of choice, and Miriam Salpeter gave me a lot to think about in her book, Social Networking for Career Success.

Miriam devotes chapters to social media networks and tools in a straight forward, easy to follow way. Social Networking for Career Success is a virtual roadmap to success and a book I know I'll keep handy as a resource for myself and others.

Knowing my LinkedIn profile has been in dire need of a spring cleaning, I scanned the chapters and jumped right to those on LinkedIn. Yes, you can do that - you can go from front to back or jump around. Use it as you need to.

Of the most value to me were the LinkedIn tips on looking at profiles from others in your industry for ideas for strong key words <yes, that was my popping into your profile> and not overlooking the headline, the summary section or specialties.

What does Miriam say about each tip?

"Use your headline to describe what you offer - your value proposition."

My headline was my current position. It's what I do but it's not all that I offer. So, instead of Human Resources Director, my headline now reads Human Resources - Leader - Writer - Trusted Advisor. 

The summary is one of "the most important sections of your profile. The most important factor to consider is how your summary appeals to your target audience."

My summary does not yet answer the 3 important questions Miriam poses, Who are you? Who do you want to help? How are you going to help them? but I now have something to work towards. 

The specialties section "is another fairly basic section; all you need to do is include relevant keywords."

My specialties section was sorely overlooked. I may have gone overboard adding 5 lines of specialties. Things I had not considered were including my maiden name and my full name "to ensure everyome who finds your profile has access to your name, even if they are not connected to you."

What else did I do? I clicked through each and every privacy control and setting option for my profile as well as email preferences and group settings.

So, how is my LinkedIn profile today? Serving me better today than it was yesterday and always a work in progress. Take a look, let me know what you think.

What tips do you have to share?