We all know about our main LinkedIn profile – after all it’s the cornerstone of our activity on the site. It is our key resource and the place which defines us on the site – I guess if all roads lead to Rome, then on LinkedIn, all roads lead to your profile! It’s certainly the next logical place to go after someone “bumps into” you on the site either having read one of your updates, something that you’ve written about in a Group or in the Answers section, or having received a invitation to connect etc.
Remember your other LinkedIn profile
However, all this information is only available to people who are logged into the site and particularly those within your sphere of connections. There is, however, a second profile, your “Public Profile” which is one of the sections which is accessible from outside of the site and so is indexable by Google and visible to users of the internet at large. It’s therefore equally important to get that right too in terms of the information that you put out through it.
The layout and format is slightly different to your internal profile with even more emphasis on your name, photo and professional headline (this trio of key information that accompanies you around the site) and takes the form as below:
All of the information on your Public Profile is pulled directly from your main LinkedIn Profile so of course you still have full control over it – indeed, you have even more control in many ways because you can select which parts you want to display and which to hide. You can even decide not to have a Public Profile visible at all, though I feel that for most people that would be a missed opportunity more than anything. However, having control over what is made available about us is a positive thing and that’s exactly the case here.
What to show and how
All of the control that you have over your public profile can be accessed via the settings menu (top right hand corner, accessed by hovering over your name) – then just look for the “Public Profile” section in the “Profile Settings” section.
First make sure that you have a custom URL set up for yourself – a “vanity URL” as some prefer to call it – rather than just leave it as the mixture of your name and numbers choose something which is memorable and reflects you. In my own case, I went for BlogCoach which related to my early forays into social media (though the scope has changed somewhat since then!) giving http://uk.linkedin.com/in/blogcoach. Something short will be easier for you to pass to others and make it more memorable.
Secondly, decide what you want to do with your public profile and therefore which combination of the elements from your profile best achieves this for you. For me, make sure you get the basics in there and then encourage them to take the next step – therefore, alongside the key personal information, add an overview of your experience and relevant education, the summary and specialties sections as well as the websites. The boxes I recommend ticking to achieve this are laid out below.
This may not be the optimum set up for you and, as ever, only you can decide that. You may well have optimised your whole profile so therefore it would be relevant to keep the “details” of each job in as well (ie. the text that you write about what you did there) because it adds to you keyword rich page for Google. Conversely, you may find that your education or past roles are no longer relevant for the path you taking and so prefer to exclude them.
Whether you follow the above format or do something completely different, all I recommend quite simply is that you think about it and remember to use your Public Profile as another tool that LinkedIn offers to aid you in your developing your visibility and reputation online.