On LinkedIn, ‘Interests’ is a subsection of the ‘Additional Info’ section where you can use up to 1,000 characters to differentiate you from the competition.
It’s typically displayed way down on the bottom of someone’s profile… you know, where people tend to put the leftovers. In other words, that section gets treated like Grandma’s leftover green bean casserole and jello mold.
Here are a few tips to turn those leftovers into something quite tasty, and very beneficial to your career.
The “In Common with…” Feature
When you are viewing someone’s profile, LinkedIn grabs the words in that person’s Interests section, compares them to the words in your Interests section, and displays the common interests.
This provides great ice-breaker topics for your first, or next, conversation with that person.
A Clickable Search
When you click on a word or phrase separated with a comma in this section, LinkedIn will open an ‘Advanced People Search’ window.
So, if you want to find some fellow fishermen on LinkedIn, just click the word ‘fishing’ in the Interests section, and LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search function will provide a list of every LinkedIn member who has the word fishing somewhere in their profile. You can then filter the list by company, title, region of the country, etc.
Help Your Search Ranking
Since LinkedIn’s search algorithm favors words that appear multiple times on your profile, this is a great spot to include some of your most important keywords. I suggest including your keywords after you list your other hobbies and interests like coding, volunteering and yes… fishing.
Look Like a Genuinely Interesting Person
I don’t want to go all “Facebook” on you here, but it is important to let your professional world get a small peek into you the person, not just you the accountant, lawyer or professional LinkedIn speaker.
In other words, include a few of your more typical interests – like reading, golfing, tennis or spending time with your elderly grandparents. Also, list a few that are just downright interesting and show your uniqueness: a drummer in a classic rock band, competitive BBQ chef or collector of Spiderman classics.
Follow these simple tips, and you’ll not only be seen as more interesting, you’ll improve your LinkedIn productivity as well.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula!
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker and author who has shared his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals through private business consulting and dynamic presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine, the American Marketing Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with Wayne on Twitter.