I field lots of questions about LinkedIn, and one of the most-asked is:
Should I include <blank> in my LinkedIn profile?
As a general rule, if your answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” then you should include that information – whatever you’re asking about – in your profile:
- Does putting this on my profile add to my story or increase my credibility?
- Does putting this on my profile make it easier for people to find me?
- If I do not put this on my profile and my competitors have it on their profiles, will I be at a competitive disadvantage?
- Does this information help people understand what I do and how I can help them?
More precisely, here are some of the answers I typically give when asked specific “Should I include…” questions:
Should I Include My High School?
Yes, because people will find you when searching for fellow graduates of your school, and people love doing business with fellow alumni.
Should I Include Civic and Social Organizations?
Yes, because people will find you when searching for other Rotarians, Young Republicans, honor societies and fraternities. And again, people love to do business with like-minded members of the same clubs.
Should I Include All the Jobs I’ve Ever Had?
Of course, because when adding connections, many people look for individuals they’ve worked with in the past. Also, your job experiences help tell your story, and the information you share might be just what a viewer of your profile is looking for.
Should I Include Awards I Won Ten Years Ago?
Yes, because awards enhance your credibility and add to your story even if they are unrelated to your current job duties. And besides, if you were able to contribute at an award winning level ten years ago… you probably will do it again.
Should I Include Specific Industry Training Programs?
Yes, because showing your training, both through your company and on your own, will enhance your credibility and increase your chances of being found when someone is searching for people with that specific training. List every course!
Should I Include Certifications I Hold?
Of course, because certifications are instant proof of credibility, and people will search for professionals with those credentials. Even better, perhaps, listing your recent or consistent certifications shows your dedication to your craft and industry.
Should I Include Personal Hobbies or Interests?
Yes, and here’s why: When I was looking for an architect to join me in a charity bicycling event my company was sponsoring, LinkedIn helped me find an avid biker. So believe me when I tell you a few personal items may help you be found! Bonus: entries in this section are one of the “In Common” fields for viewers of your profile.
Bottom line? If you’ve done it, you’re proud of it, and you want the professional world to know about it… put it on your LinkedIn profile!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at PowerFormula.
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.