New LinkedIn Profile changes – how to benefit from them!

There are some layout changes to the Personal Profile page which are being rolled out at the moment on LinkedIn – this is following a similar phase to other roll outs with a beta phase coming first and then extended across the network.

You may not yet have it but forewarned is forearmed so here are the changes I’ve noticed and some recommendations for 4 key elements where the emphasis has shifted.

[I’ve also highlighted some Points To Note (PTN) that I feel warrant a special mention – forgive me the use of yet another acronym but NB didn’t really seem to cut it anymore.]

What’s changing?

Well, for those of us who are yet to receive the new format, here are the two side by side:

(Sorry to have subjected you to “double bubble” on the photo of yours truly but I seemed like a good case example.)

There are clearly a number of areas which remain the same but some changes which are not just worthy of note but may also impact your thinking on how to get the best from those elements.

1) Banner & Photo

The first obvious one is that the placement of the photo has changed and has been increased in size again. Aesthetically it isn’t massively important but the photo is likely to drag your eyes to it giving us a new startpoint on the profile of the top left corner.

More importantly, if you have a crafted banner (as I advise people I work with to do where possible) then there will be an impact because a different part of the banner image is now going to be obscured by your photo – or the photo of my younger brother in my own case! 🙂 So, while the size of the image remains the same at 1584px * 396px, it’s important to make sure that the key visuals and information it contains are still going to be visible.

Now just to stick an additional spanner in the works, or an extra challenge for those creating some of the custom banners I have seen, the mobile app currently retains the centre positioned photo and, as yet, shows no sign of moving. You will I’m afraid ideally need to build that into your design given that nearly 60% of views on LinkedIn are now on mobile devices.

Point to Note (PTN): if you are not using a banner and all you see on your profile is:

Generic LinkedIn banner

then you are really missing out on your key visual block to convey your messages – in the parlance of my American cousins, this is the “Prime Real Estate” on your profile, so do make the most of it. I have a post on this if you want to understand more.

Point to Note (PTN): As an additional comment, those who know better than me about the subtleties of thee things inform me that if your head is looking to the left in your photo (as I look at you) then in the new format you are looking away from the body of the content in your profile and the eyes of visitors to your profile will do the same … and that’s not where you want them to be looking! You might like to bear that in mind too.

2) Headline text

This is the text that appears under your name and remains a vitally important piece of your profile, not just here but around the site. In this instance, there is no real change here other than the position and the fact that it is now left aligned rather than centred.

The premise for what you should put here remains unchanged – you need to make sure that it contains more than just your job title and company name. While there are various trains of thought here, personally I encourage you to think of it as a 3 second elevator pitch which focuses on the message you would like your reader to take from your profile, ideally with a WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) twist.

In other words, what’s in it for them!

Hopefully, it will give the person reading your profile an immediate insight as to what the benefit to them will be to read on and find out more about you and your company.

From a personal perspective, I think that this layout has a lot more focus here because it isn’t all cluttered up with the other information, so it becomes doubly important to make sure that it conveys the right message for the audience you want to read your profile.

3) Company and Personal Information

The other big winner for me is the “Contact Info” area which now takes its place in the main profile as opposed to being banished to the right hand sidebar as it was previously. It almost seems ridiculous but, with its previous positioning, a lot of people I trained weren’t aware that is was there at all and so often contained very little information as a result.

What’s in there exactly? Well, whatever you decide to include but there are 3 elements which are particularly important to note:

i) It will always contain a link to your Public Profile (this is the one that gets indexed by the main search engines) so customise it where possible rather than leave the default jumble of letters and numbers mixed in with your name. (You can do that here -> Edit your Public Profile)

ii) It can (and should) also contain 3 website links which you can point at your own website or other online resources. Don’t just point one at your website homepage and leave it as that though – these are links to individual pages so, in addition to your homepage, why not connect to the services page or your news page? I also connect to my Testimonials page because for me that is a key influencing page. Don’t forget to customise the accompanying text of course!

iii) Your ‘primary’ email address will also appear here. The default position is that if you are connected to someone, then your email address is visible on your profile page to them but it isn’t visible to people if you aren’t connected.

Point to Note (PTN): At the start of March we were given control over the visibility of our email address in this section, so now you have the option to hide if from everyone or display it absolutely everybody on LinkedIn … and a couple of variations in between! (You can do that here -> Who can see your email address)

I think that with the new format, the Contact Info area will be used by visitors to your profile to much greater effect, so do make sure yours is doing you justice!

4) Summary section

This is the section of text that starts just below the horizontal line, in my case

You get 2000 characters to play with and it can be presented in many different ways but I still come back to the premise that if someone walks up to you at a business networking event or perhaps at a conference then the type of thing you might say and the key elements you would highlight are the things that I would include here.

In terms of presentation and usage there are two things to highlight in the new format:

i) We used to have two lines of text ‘above the fold’, that’s to say visible from the Summary section before you had to click on ‘Show More’ to see the remainder. This has now been increased by about 50% but we still need to make best use of it and deliver a clear message of what it is that you want people to take away from reading it.

Some people also encourage you to put a ‘teaser’ line in, ie. “Click below for a free copy of my Optimising your Personal profile document” – personally I don’t take that route though I understand how that tactic might work.

ii) They are now showing thumbnails of the Rich media files and links that you have attached to your profile. This is really quite key as they are both visual and so attract attention and it starts to highlight these elements encouraging greater access – for me this might also be an encouragement to view the rest of the Summary and the goodies contained.

As a final Point to Note (PTN), currently if you have just 1 or 2 rich media elements, then they are actually clickable in the Preview mode but once you go above that number then they look more impressive but they are only clickable once you click on the “See More” and open up the Summary to reveal the full content.

For me, these changes clearly do not have the widespread impact of the wholescale revision of the site and Profile Page that we saw at the start of 2017, but they are nevertheless important because they relate to the top part of the profile which plays such a key role in making a positive first impression and encouraging the reader to delve further into what your Profile has to say about you and the benefit for them to connect & engage further.

I encourage you to use these changes to best effect!

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