by Nathan Egan
on December 17, 2010

Mashable is wrong. Re: HOW TO: Optmize your LinkedIn Profile

Mashable’s recent post HOW TO: Optimize your LinkedIn profile is so far off someone had so speak up, so here we go…

First, it’s not about getting your profile to 100% completeness.

Mashable’s first step in optimizing your LinkedIn profile: “fill in as much information about your work experience as possible. It’s your online resume; pay as much attention to it as you would your cover letter or paper resume.” This is wrong, your LinkedIn profile is your professional brand online, and not all of LinkedIn’s 86+ Million members want a career change.

Your profile is complete when it aligns 100% with your objectives, not when a bar on your profile says so. That’s LinkedIn profile optimization 101.

I’ll elaborate… if your objective is differentiation (standing out), job seeking (attracting employers), sales (generating leads) , recruiting (attracting talent) – then you should be aligning your profile with those objectives specific to your world and for your target market.

Here is an example – we (Freesource) have challenges – little-to-no brand and people don’t know what we do, so my profile delivers and reinforces our brand and tells people exactly what we do. It 100% aligns with my objectives and my target market – our customers, prospects and my network.

Next up… getting recommendations.

The Mashable article didn’t totally miss the mark on this, but what about recommendations from customers? Don’t get us wrong, a recommendation from a coworker and supervisor can go a long way – especially if you’re looking for a job, but what about new business and growing existing business? Recommendations from your customers count as case studies and testimonials and will go much further than “digital brown nosing” from your coworkers.

The next – “Use Value Added Applications”

Good call, but again these should align with your objectives and chances you’ll only need one, maybe two apps to do that. If you have more than one on your profile, you’ve probably diluted the message your trying to send. Oh, and unless you want your house to get robbed, we don’t recommend the TripIt application. Setting an application to automatically tell people you’re going away for a week is not a best practice.

On to LinkedIn Answers

Answers is a great tool for many things, but for optimizing your profile? That’s about the last thing we’d use it for. Don’t get us wrong, it looks great when you have expert/best answers on your profile, but there are better ways to optimize your profile. Use Answers first for insights and crowd sourcing research, that’s where you’ll get the most value.

And finally – The Resume’ building tool.

Yes, it’s a cool feature and will create a ton of value for people. But that has absolutely nothing to do with HOW TO: Optimize your LinkedIn profile; that’s how you turn your profile into a resume’.

If you like what you see here and want a post dedicated to optimizing your LinkedIn profile, let us know and we’ll deliver. There are a lot of things here we didn’t touch on at all, like how to be found in searches and show up powerfully for your target audience.

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