NEWS FLASH—LinkedIn has messed with your profile (or will soon). Yes, that’s three times in three years. And yes, these changes may look minor. But these LinkedIn profile changes should encourage you to revisit some of your current strategies for the affected areas.
In summary, all the changes have taken place above the fold (or very close to the fold). This is both good news and bad news. The good news is that not much profile real estate has been affected. The bad news is that it’s the part people see when they first land on your profile and begin scrolling through it. So, obviously, these changes could impact how you are viewed online.
So, let me address these LinkedIn profile changes. Then, let’s talk about the actions you should take so your new profile is in prime condition for viewing by your target audience.
Your Headline is More Important than Ever
What used to be your Summary section was renamed the About section, and it’s now below the fold. Therefore, the only real content readers get before scrolling is your Headline. If they don’t see what they’re looking for or aren’t impressed by what they see, they may move on to someone else’s profile. They may never see the impressive details in your About section!
Action step: If your Headline doesn’t clearly convey who you are and how you can help people, it’s time to make some changes. Opinions differ on how this should be formatted, but complete agreement exists that the current search ranking algorithm assigns priority to the keywords in this section.
Be Sure Your Contact Information is Current
Because the new LinkedIn profile changes have moved this section to the left side of your top box, where other important information is displayed, more people will be inclined to open it and check out what’s in there.
Many times the information in this section (websites, email address, phone number, etc.) entices viewers to take action and visit your website or give you a call.
Action step: Review all the information in this section to make sure it is current. Take advantage of all three website entries. Be sure you’ve customized your Linkedin URL.
Give the Right Impression with Photos
First impressions are extremely important, and some of the first things viewers see are your profile photo and background photo (if you have one). Thus, it’s important to be sure these images are helping you rather than hurting you. These images have taken on even greater importance now that the About section is below the fold.
Action step: Make sure your profile photo is current and reflects how you look when you’re in your professional space. Don’t miss the opportunity to build a background graphic that’s more than just a big photo. Treat it like an informational billboard that lets your target audience understand how you can help them. Personally, I’ve even chosen to include my contact information so people can quickly and easily reach out to me. Many people use a simple tool called Canva to build a productive background photo.
Update Your About Section
Even though with the new Linkedin profile changes, the About section is typically below the fold, it’s still the first large section of detailed information about you that viewers will see. Originally viewers could see your complete Summary section without having to click See more. Now only the first 200-300 characters are visible until you click See more. So it’s important to use those characters to entice viewers to open the rest of this section and/or scroll down to look at the other sections of your profile.
You can also choose to add media to this section, and visitors don’t have to click See more to see the media. Way too many people fail to take advantage of this opportunity. Don’t be one of them!
Action step: It’s called the “About” section, so include great information about yourself. Put your best stuff in the first 200-300 characters, but take full advantage of the 2,000 characters LinkedIn allows.
Test a few different options, because I’ve found that the character limit seems to be inconsistent, and sentence breaks and spacing can have a big impact on how it shows up.
If you’re hoping to use LinkedIn as a gateway to your website or to encourage people to call or email you, you may want to place that contact info near the beginning of this section.
And here’s one more reason to put your best stuff at the beginning: On the mobile app, only about 140 characters of your About section are initially visible.
Bottom line: Add your two best pieces of media to this section.
Show Your Educational Chops
The name of your university or school can display in your top box just below your current job entry. However, during this changeover, the entry has been dropped on many people’s profiles. If you think the school you attended adds to your credibility on LinkedIn, make sure it shows up in your top box.
Action step: In the edit section of your top box, check the box titled Show education in my intro.
Also, make sure your most impressive educational institution shows up first. After all, that’s the one that’s displayed in your top box. You can rearrange your educational entries by holding and dragging the Rearrange icon on the entry you want to move.
There you have it—the complete roadmap to dealing with the 2019 LinkedIn profile changes.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. An experienced businessman, speaker, and author, Wayne shares his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals. Through private business consulting and presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine and also the American Marketing Association, Wayne makes LinkedIn simple. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with him on Twitter.