Sunday, March 4, 2012

Over 7 Things in Your LinkedIn Profile That I'm Checking

If I am about to meet someone that I have never met or don’t know that well, I am doing my homework.

I am probably going to check your LinkedIn Profile.

When I Google-search the name of a specific person, often that person’s LinkedIn Profile shows on the first page. Sometimes, it is the very first result.
If someone asks for me to be a LinkedIn Connection, and I do not know you that well (or at all), I am checking your LinkedIn profile.

There are so many people creating “fake” accounts—LinkedIn Profiles and other profiles. I want to MAKE Connections—NOT FAKE Connections.

I am going to check your LinkedIn Profile. If I am not going to check it, then you can guess that plenty of other people will—especially if they are considering hiring you for a job or giving you business.

{Also: Internet Marketing Tip: Over 7 Ways to be More Effective on LinkedIn}

Honestly, I am going to check your Linked Profile, even if you are a potential customer looking to give me business.

When I am checking your LinkedIn Profile, I am going to check for several things.

Over 7 Things in Your LinkedIn Profile That I Check
  1. Number of Connections
  2. Your Headline
  3. Your Summary
  4. Your Recommendations You Receive
  5. Your Recommendations You Give to Others
  6. Your Experience
  7. Your Links (that you leave on your LinkedIn Profile)
  8. Your Groups
Overall, I am checking to see whether…
  • You might be able to help me.
  • I will enjoy working with you.
  • You have pride in your work.
  • People seem to be excited about you.
  • You can organize your thoughts clearly.
  • You are proactive.
  • Where you are probably strong—and weak. (We all have both.)
  • You seem to be genuine.
Each step of my LinkedIn Profile checking process will not cover all of these things, but these are the questions that these seven (7) steps help shape in my mind.

1. Number of Connections

I am first checking the NUMBER of LinkedIn Connections that you have.

I know that you might be new to LinkedIn. So you might not have many Connections, yet.

I also know that you might be working within an industry where the Internet is treated like a luxury—not a necessity.

However, I am curious how connected you seem to be.

If you have NO LinkedIn Connections or very few Connections, I am checking to see whether you are a “real” account. (There seem to be many LinkedIn accounts created for SEO purposes that are not real.)

If you look like you have a fake account, I probably will not spend much time looking at your account…or considering you for a job or business.

Suggestion: Get as many LinkedIn Connections from people you know, and get them as soon as you can.

2. Your Headline

Your LinkedIn Profile Headline is, by far, the most important first impression that you can leave on me (or anyone else checking your profile).

Question #1: Is your Headline clear?

Are you a “Cylindrical Wooden Shaft Led Holding Wordsmith Operator?”

Can anyone who does NOT know you be able to explain to other outsiders what you do?

If the answer is, “No,” then I know that only a few people will know that you might be able to help.

If I cannot figure what you mean, I’m looking a little more at your profile, but I am probably looking with a bias—a negative bias—about whether you might be able to help me.

There are too many other people who make it clear what they do. Make sure that you are one of them.

Are you really a “Writer?”

Let me know this. There are other places for you to impress me, even within your title.  Don't confuse me!

{Also: Internet Marketing Tip: 10 Tips for Writers Using LinkedIn}

If I am looking for a writer, I will search for a writer—not a cylindrical wooden shaft led holding wordsmith operator.

Suggestion: Include WHAT YOU DO within your LinkedIn Profile Title.

Question #2: Does your Headline include your specialty?

If you are one of those people who services EVERYBODY, I never think of you when I have a specific need.

When I have a special need, I am not looking for a generalist. I’m looking for a specialist.

Do you include your specialty within your Headline?

Who would YOU rather work on fixing your prized Ferrari (or whatever else you drive)?

Would you pick the “Mechanic,” or would you pick someone like a “Auto Mechanic – Ferrari Engine Specialist?”

Yes, you might “lose” business, but you will gain a lot more than you’ll lose.

Plus, when you advertise that you’ll do “everything,” it sends me the message that you will do anything for a buck—and you probably did not spend enough time learning how to do any ONE thing really well.

When available, my money will go with the specialist every time.

Suggestion: Select a specialty and include it within your Headline.

Question #3: Is it clear how you intend to benefit me?

Most headlines do not include the answer to the question, “How will my life be better after contacting this person?”

However, when I DO see this, I am a lot more interested. This person has a chance of being focused on me—not just getting money from me.

For example, if you’re a manager, you might want to include something like, “Restaurant Manager – Italian Food – Employees Stay to Work with Me.”

Turnover is a HUGE problem in many restaurants, and that causes inconsistent service to their customers—seldom a good thing for future business. If your headline addresses one of my biggest concerns, do you think I might take a longer look at you?

Suggestion: Include a key benefit you provide within your LinkedIn Profile Headline.

3. Your Summary

Within your LinkedIn Profile Summary, I am looking at a few things here.

Question #1: Is this Summary EASY to read?

Does your summary seem well-organized? Is it in small, manageable chunks, or do you have long paragraphs, or worse one really long paragraph?

Most people—especially me—have a MUCH easier time reading KEY POINTS when they are in small segments.

It helps if you Categorize them, too.

Suggestion: Break down your Main Summary Points into Smaller Chunks—possibly putting a HEADER at the top of each one so that I know what I’m trying to read.

Question #2: Are you trying to help me understand what you do, or are you just trying to seem impressive?

Many people I see list things that they think will impress other people.

There are two (2) major problems with this approach.
A. We're not smart enough.  We do not understand how we’re supposed to be impressed—only that we are. We’re too stupid to understand you.
B. We're too uncomfrtable to admit it.  We are not in any hurry to admit that we’re too stupid to understand you. Then again, we do not have any incentive to try impressing you with our ability to be impressed by you.

Suggestion: Write things so that people who do not know you or your specific company or industry will (a) understand what you do and (b) fully appreciate that you did not make them feel stupid for not knowing your world as well as you do.

To summarize what I want to see within the LinkedIn Summary, I want to know that you are focused on ways to help me—not reasons that I should idolize you.

4. Your Recommendations You Receive

LinkedIn is unique that it offers a chance for people to give and receive Recommendations. These can be really powerful for you…and others.

I look for three (3) things within these LinkedIn Recommendations.
A. Quantity: How many Recommendations do you have?
B. Quality: How good are these Recommendations?
C. Recommendation Focus: On what do these Recommendations focus?

One of the first things I check is whether this person has ANY Recommendations. I realize that only some people everyone use LinkedIn—not everyone. I also realize that there are many people who would never write a recommendation—or ever be satisfied.

So I know that there is room for error in judgment here. I use this to help form a judgment—not as a sole basis for one. Therefore, I still spend time checking LinkedIn Recommendations.

A. Quantity: How many Recommendations do you have?

I first look at the person’s LinkedIn Profile, I check to see HOW MANY Recommendations they received.

I check the Quantity of LinkedIn Recommendations and compare it to the Quantity of LinkedIn Connections that they have.

For instance, if you have 500+ Connections, but you do not have any Recommendations—does this seem right to you?

I don’t automatically dismiss you, but I am a little suspicious.

On the other hand, if you have 50 LinkedIn Connections, and you have 20 LinkedIn Recommendations, now I am suspicious that you might be a very good candidate. (This, however, is not a guarantee.)

B. Quality: How good are these Recommendations?

Some people have LinkedIn Recommendations, and those Recommendations are GREAT! Other people have Recommendations, but they read more like “Obligations.”

When I read your LinkedIn Recommendations, I am checking for things like
  • Do people seem to be passionate about you, or do they just seem to be polite?
  • Are there any patterns that seem to form about you?
  • Which types of people seem to be recommending this person?
Not all recommendations are equal. Quantity is good and will grab my attention, but Quality will hold my attention—long after I stop reading your LinkedIn Profile.

C. Recommendation Focus: On what do these Recommendations focus?

Again, not all recommendations are equal.

Question: What do people KEEP writing about this person? Are they focusing on anything in particular?

Do these questions keep referring to
  • your work ethic,
  • your work skill,
  • your people skills,
  • your cooperation level, or
  • something else entirely different.
Overall: Is there ANY MESSAGE that I keep getting? What are people trying to tell me?

Of course, it helps to connect these patterns with the type of person making these recommendations. Truthfully, I am probably not checking the background of the people who recommend you, though. Once in a while I will—if I see something inside your recommendations that seem fishy. Otherwise, I am probably not looking at those people very closely.

5. Your Recommendations You Give to Others

First, do you GIVE any LinkedIn Recommendations? If so, how many?

{Also: Marketing Tip: Recommend People Who Deserve It}

If you never have written any, then I have three (3) main questions:
  • Are your contacts not valuable?
  • Are you not “giving” enough to take time to notice and make recommendations?
  • Are you lacking that much confidence in your writing ability that you cannot provide support to someone in need?
Suggestion: Leaders find excuses to give well-deserving people support. One of the best ways to support someone on LinkedIn is to write a LinkedIn Recommendation. Find people who are worthy and start writing them!

6. Your Experience

Actually, I spend very little time looking at your experience. (I admit that I am very different from many other people with this.)

I will look to see what you are doing now. I am VERY INTERESTED to see that you ARE DOING SOMETHING—even if you are just volunteering or consulting.

Many people list all of their most impressive duties that they performed within each past job or company.

I am most interested to see what experience you have that is SPECIFIC to what you want me to buy from you (as an employee or as a business person).

You’re a writer? What WRITING experience have you got—from today’s job, a recent volunteer position, or a past job.

You’re a marketer? What marketing experience do you have? Have you created any opportunities for yourself?

Do you have any accomplishments associated with your experience, or did you just “do it?”

Suggestion: Don’t tell me about ALL of your past. Just tell me the parts of your past that can help us both today.

7. Your Links (that you leave on your LinkedIn Profile)

You are allowed to leave three (3) links on your LinkedIn Profile. Take advantage of them.

If you have a blog, include it.

If you have a free website that has some samples of your work, include THAT link!

If your company page is a valuable  resource, you might want to include it.

{Also: Internet Marketing Tip: How to Create a LinkedIn Company Page}

If you have a Facebook account that has mostly personal type of information (and your business is not Business-to-Consumer), do NOT include it.

If you have the right type of business and market it on Facebook, then a link to your Facebook account.

If you do not have three (3) links that you can include in your profile without being embarrassed, you can include fewer. However, I would work hard to create, at least, ONE link that does a good job of professionally representing you.

Suggestion: Find or create, at least, one (1) link that represents you well professionally.

I know that I’m going to check the links that you provide. So these links WILL REFLECT YOU.

8. Your Groups

Unless I met you within one of the LinkedIn Groups, I am not spending a lot of time to see whether you contribute a lot to any of your LinkedIn Groups.

I am checking to see whether you have joined any LinkedIn Groups, and I am curious to know WHICH GROUPS you have joined.

Many people have accounts on LinkedIn, but they do not know about Groups. They might know that they exist but not realize the potential power of them.

This is OK. At this point, I am mostly curious about things that might interest you.

If I met you within a LinkedIn Group, then I am curious about things that you post and your comments that you make.  I am curious whether you participate too much or too little.  When you provide answers, do you seem to be trying to help share information with people, or are you trying to assert your "superiority?"

However, I cannot see these things within your LinkedIn Profile.  Here, I am just looking to see which other LinkedIn Groups you have joined.

Suggestion: Join a few LinkedIn Groups.  Have some of them be related to what you do.  It might not be a bad idea to have a few "outside your area," too.

After writing this blog post, I realize that I check a lot of things on people’s LinkedIn profile. I can see why. I can learn a lot about you within a short period of time.

I leave you with two (2) questions to ask yourself.
A. Are you taking advantage of your LinkedIn Profile the way you could?
B. Are you using it to learn about other people the way you should?

...and one final one for me to ask you
What else YOU check when you check mine and other people’s LinkedIn Profiles?

Like this post?  Other posts you might like are

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  1. Can I mention that too many connections makes you look like a spammer? I've gotten requests from people to connect with a ridiculous number of connections and no recommendations. At this point I'm thinking they're just spamming the world for connections, and they aren't asking to connect with me because of something I've said or do.

  2. @Titan: You make a good point. There ARE a lot of Spammers out there, and there are plenty of people who simply want nothing more than to form a LinkedIn Connection without really "connecting."

    You might want to be a little careful placing that label too quickly. I'm not sure that the QUANTITY of LinkedIn Connections is a sure-fire way to guarantee that the person is a Spammer. (It helps if a person with a lot of connections has a few recommendations, too.)

    See: Marketing Tip: Recommend People Who Deserve It


Hey there! Thank you for taking time to read my post and share your thoughts with me and my other readers. I'm always tickled when I get a non-SPAM comment. Honestly, sometimes I'm even okay with some borderline SPAM.

Let me know if you would like for me to address a topic by sending me an email at

Thanks, again. I look forward to seeing you soon.