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You may already know this compelling career statistic: “Professionals who have a ‘fully completed profile’ are 40 TIMES more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.” How does one achieve that rating?

It takes these seven core elements on your profile be considered complete. If you want to be in that category, make sure you have these covered.

1. Industry and Location: Let’s face it, this matters when you want to be found. It is straightforward & must be included.  Cover the basics. Every social platform is keyword driven, so this is a no-brainer.

 2. Current Position: Include a brief, informative and (hopefully) insightful description of your role and achievements. Think of the reader (not your boss) when describing. It is likely the only section of your experience that actually gets completely read; the remainder gets skimmed.  Make it impactful and focused on achievements.  This is what invites the reader to spend more time with you/your profile and perhaps reach out.

3. At least Two previous positions: Important to build out enough content (again think achievement for the reader & keywords for the technology piece) to illustrate the path that built your expertise. If your profile does not show this, it implies you lack diligence and/or enough focus to follow through to complete basics.   

4. Your Education: Of course, this helps in the keyword sort and much more.  It makes it more likely that you can connect with alumni who sometimes connect you with key opportunities or other networks.  A great place to reconnect with a college buddy or former roomie that you haven’t seen in 20+ years.  It matters. Relationships matter in business more than is even potentially quantifiable.

5. Skills: You need to list a minimum of three, but, list more! You can identify up to fifty (50)! Yes, really, that many.  Think keywords and recruiters.  Need I say more? For choosing your top three highlighted skills, choose ones that recruiters or hiring managers would use to search to find someone like you.  Focus on the technical skills and industry terms that would be used in a job posting here. While it can be tempting to fill this section with words such as results-oriented, collaborative, and team player – I recommend populating this section almost entirely with relevant industry and technical hard skills as that is what assists you for showing up in search results.  Recruiters find you via hard skills and assess soft skills and fit during conversation and interview exchanges.  

6. Images: Professional headshot or similar vibe is essential here for the profile pic.  It completely DOES matter.  Look at the research about first impressions and visual impact. I won’t bore you with the stats.  No debate on this one.  No selfies or tightly cropped wedding pics. This is your career. What’s it worth to you? Also, the banner space behind your profile pic should further validate your expertise and professionalism. Pictures ARE worth (at least) 1000 words on this spot. A couple of photo sites where you can source no or low-cost images are: Canva, Pexels, or Unsplash. Immense return on your investment.  

 7. At least 50 connections: Think absolute minimum.  Target 300+ quality connections, meaning people with whom you have a relationship.  LinkedIn is massive (660 M users and counting), it has to create and follow sorting criteria.  Assumption is that if you have less than 50, you’re likely not professionally active or at the top of your game. Fair enough?  

The above are the absolute minimum.   With a fully completed profile you now are competing with the 49% of the 660 million users worldwide. You can congratulate yourself that these essentials are now in place.  

This worldwide databank of talent is an essential tool and space to be found.  Keep your profile current and nourish your network. Only you are responsible for your career trajectory. Take advantage of the tools in your hands! 

For more detailed guidance, you can participate in one of my upcoming virtual classes titled Leverage Your LinkedIn. Class schedules can be found here. I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn, so find my profile and let’s connect.  Keep advancing!  You’ve got this!

Iris Culp, M.Ed., SHRM-SCP, SPHR Certified Career Coach 

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