Why You Should COMPLETE Your LinkedIn PROFILE

RED EYELinkedIn have always encouraged its users to complete as many sections of the LinkedIn Profile as possible. “Users with complete Profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn”.

 

LinkedIn do the encouragement bit pretty well. What they don’t do well is explain WHY having a complete Profile is a good thing for you professionally. Perhaps that’s the reason for the message not getting through? LinkedIn’s own statistics confirm the completion gap when they tell us that ”Only 50.5% of people have a 100% completed LinkedIn profile“. This is problematic not just for users but also for the platform as a whole. LinkedIn thrives on data and specifically the ability to ‘link’ that data. If only half of LinkedIn participants are providing complete data, half the network is in a permanent data shadow.

 

5 LEVELS
There are 5 levels to attain 100% Profile completion or ‘All-Star’.

(5) All Star
(4) Expert
(3) Advanced
(2) Intermediate
(1) Beginner

 Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 10.19.51 AM

Though the graphic suggests there is another level beyond ‘All-Star’, it’s misleading. ‘All-Star’ currently equates to having a fully completed Profile. Here are the Profile Sections you need to complete to get to ‘All-Star’ (100%):

  • Adding a profile photo
  • Listing 2 or more positions you’ve held, along with descriptions of your roles
  • Having 5 or more skills on your profile
  • Writing a summary about yourself
  • Filling out your industry and postal code
  • Adding where you went to school
  • Having 50 or more connections

 

VISIBILITY & SEARCH
The main reason to complete your Profile is to ensure that you will appear in LinkedIn search results. If someone searched on my last name and my Profile was incomplete i.e ‘Expert’, ‘Intermediate’ or ‘Beginner’, all of the other ‘All-Star’ Footes would rank higher and push me down the LinkedIn search rankings. LinkedIn’s search algorithm filters by relevance – it will also rank your search by Connections in Common, Connections by Degree (1st, 2nd then 3rd Degree Connections) and finally Groups in common. All searches conducted on LinkedIn are unique and relevant to you.

The search algorithm seeks and displays results in this order:

  1. Profile Completeness (100% only)
  2. Connections in Common (shared)
  3. Connections by Degree (1st Degree, then 2nd, then 3rd)
  4. Groups in Common (shared)

It’s important to understand that Profile Completeness is a trump card in the search game. If you don’t have a 100% complete Profile, your Connections or Groups don’t matter, you will be INVISIBLE when searched, game over.

 

CASUAL OBSERVER
Though the only person who can see Profile Completion (‘All-Star’ etc.) is you, the casual observer browsing your Profile will certainly notice if some Sections are missing key information (Photo, Past Positions, Education etc.). So it make sense to be an ‘All Star’ to present well to anyone who comes to your Profile without actually searching for it. Of course it’s possible the observer may not be ‘casual’ at all, they could be someone looking to fill an order, gap or role and your incomplete Profile just gave them a reason to keep looking. Unfortunately, you will never know how many opportunities you’ve missed because your LinkedIn Profile is incomplete.

 

GOOGLE PAGERANK
Let’s try an experiment – google your name. Are you on the first page of Google’s search results? Has your LinkedIn Profile appeared first? If the answer to both questions is no, it’s probably because your LinkedIn Profile is incomplete. If you are not being found via LinkedIn searches, you are not being clicked and your LinkedIn Profile page stays comparatively dormant. That’s a problem when it comes to being indexed on the world-wide web. 1 Billion names are searched on Google every day. 94% of people only look at the first page of search results. LinkedIn ranks higher than all other profiles including social networks and website builders (http://mashable.com/2012/08/02/higher-google-search-results/). If you’re not being found, you’re lost and in limbo.

 

Google loves LinkedIn when it comes to PageRank. Apart from being an ‘All Star’, you can significantly boost your Google PageRank by doing the following:

 

  • Create a Public Profile and select ‘Full View’ in your Profile Settings.
  • Customize your Public Profile’s URL to be your actual name.
  • Use your Customized Public Profile URL generously on the web (i.e blog comments, tweets etc.)

 

QUANTITY v QUALITY
Many LinkedIn Experts will encourage you to use all of the available space on your LinkedIn Profile and to ‘stuff’ your entire Profile with as many of your keywords as possible to rank in LinkedIn and Google searches. I think that’s bad advice. Keyword stuffing makes your Profile look bloated and insincere, far better to come across as a genuine and capable professional by effectively telling your story, not gaming the system. A stunningly good LinkedIn Summary lets you put your best foot forward and could also help you get it in the door. Roughly 70% of the Profiles I view on LinkedIn are via browsing, if I run a search I usually find who or what I’m looking for without paying much attention to ranking. If I see a Profile stuffed with keywords it leaves a bad impression. Now tell me again why keyword stuffing is a good thing?

 

ORGANIC VISIBILITY
Here are some great organic ways to improve your visibility on LinkedIn (without resorting to keyword stuffing):

  • Join Groups, start and engage in great Discussions, be helpful to those communities.
  • Create original content and share it with your connections.
  • Share relevant content and thank others when they do the same.
  • Recommend and Endorse your Connections.
  • Build your network by commonality and community.

 

BE IN THE 1st PERCENT (NOT A WALLFLOWER)
A popular rule for internet participation holds that 1% create content, 9% edit that content and 90% read it. Though that last figure will fluctuate depending on the type of community and seems to be reducing as more people become accustomed to participating online, the 1-9-90 rule still represents an enormous opportunity for anyone who wishes to increase their web visibility, since the barrier to becoming noticed has been set so low. My advice: step out of the shadows and create (or edit) your future. Complete your LinkedIn Profile then give people multiple ways to find you and compelling reasons to engage with you.

Finally, don’t neglect your visual branding. Decision-makers will be paying close attention to your Photograph, Logos, Endorsement Tapestry, Rich Media and LinkedIn Publisher. I’ve got you covered, look at these: “5 Clever Ways To Market Yourself Visually On LinkedIn” – how many are you using?

 

LINKEDIN CONSULTING
If you liked this article, you’ll love my LinkedIn coaching. If you need help with your Summary, Profile or LinkedIn strategy, I can help.

Contact me now: linkedinsights@gmail.com / 773.469.6600 to get started.

By Andy Foote

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56 Responses

  1. @JamieCase89 says:

    Why you should complete your LinkedIn profile. ‘Easy only taking a few minutes guys’ http://t.co/yNSmcs2DaN #LinkedIn #SocialMedia #SocMed

  2. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I came up on a search for my name with the LinkedIn listing as #2. That certainly shows the value of a completed profile, as you say.

    I’m interested in maximizing my LinkedIn interactions so I shall follow you and gather your insights.

    Thanks again.

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  4. Useful and to-the-point piece, reminding us all of key sections of our profile that should not be overlooked. Thanks Andy!

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  27. “Though the graphic suggests there is another level beyond ‘All-Star’, it’s misleading.” http://t.co/XaaNTxcPw3

  28. “Though the graphic suggests there is another level beyond ‘All-Star’, its [sic] misleading.” http://t.co/XaaNTxcPw3

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  35. Schreef er zelf ook al eens een blog over http://t.co/oMd325ceET Het belang van 100% #linkedin profiel http://t.co/VJDdscDcLn

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  37. RT @Corinnekeijzer: Schreef er zelf ook al eens een blog over http://t.co/oMd325ceET Het belang van 100% #linkedin profiel http://t.co/VJDdscDcLn

  38. Edwin says:

    Thanks for the very complete rundown on all the options available. LinkedIn is growing, and I have more and more professionals using it to find me.

  39. Tracy says:

    You are missing a 5th profile strength – Advanced. It’s before Expert, but after Intermediate.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks Tracy! My guess is that LinkedIn recently added the ‘Advanced’ tier as a device to encourage users to add more data. The tell-tale indicating that it is a new addition is the different font and mixed upper & lower case letters (“Profile Strength”).

  40. Byron Burke says:

    Hi Andy.
    Great article! I was wondering why my custom Linkedin URL wasn’t showing up on the first page of google. It makes sense to incorporate your name in your custom URL.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks Byron. Depends on what you’re searching on, generally speaking people will search on your name. The benefit of searching on someone’s (vanity) LinkedIn URL is that they’ll be taken directly to your Profile when they click on it and it’s instantly recognizable as belonging to you.

  41. Thank You 4 “QUANTITY v QUALITY”

  42. Eddie Hixson says:

    I don’t agree with this 100%. Too much information is not a good thing, particularly with social media where everyone in the world has access to it. If a client is interested in me, they can request a resume and more than likely I will send it to them. It will contain all the information they will want to know short of an in-person interview. Think about it another way, someone can copy and paste your experience that YOU worked HARD for and use it in their resume, to get a position they are not even qualified for.

    • Andy Foote says:

      You’re basically making it more difficult for people to find out about you Eddie and the problem with that strategy is that people are time poor, busy and have plenty of other people (who are sharing all of their info/content) to choose from. You ought to focus on what you need to do instead of worrying about people copying your info and trying to pass it off as theirs, you can’t control this and it actually doesn’t affect you or your progress at all.

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