One of the big Linkedin changes of 2012  – amongst a plethora of changes – is the recent profile change. I think Linkedin have done a good job with this and they are rolling it out slowly, so if you haven’t got it yet – you will soon.

I always think it’s good to look at other peoples profiles to get a feel for what works – so find some people you are not connected to and have a look at their profiles (especially competitors). This will also put you in the mindset of others coming and looking at yours ‘cold’ – so when looking at profiles ask yourself these questions…

“Does it grab my attention” – I’m busy and looking for a reason to do something other than look at your profile

“Does it say how they will help me? within a few lines” – because I can’t be bothered to read much text

“Are they making it easy for me to see what they can do” – simple and visual is good, see point above

“Do I trust the profile, and them” – they can say what they like on their profile, what do other people say

Then use what you learn for your own profile. Here are the key changes to note….

1. It’s more visual….

Your photo is larger – so make sure it’s a good one. If you don’t have a photo, shame on you – studies have shown it drives 30% more response. Plus don’t forget to make sure your headline tells your audience how you will benefit them – it’s what the vast majority of people will see, so make it work hard.

The layout is overall more graphical which makes it easy to navigate. Plus it draws in logos for companies you’ve worked for – so make sure you have a company page set up for your own company, with logo!

It’ really easy to bring in presentations, photos and videos into your profile from other sites such as Pinterest and Youtube – this will add much more interesting content to your page and help link your other online assets that tell your story better. For a full list of sites you can link to see here

2. You can’t hide your inactivity

Your activity is seen right up top – so make sure you are active – share useful stuff that your audience will want. Plus, think about when you view someone elses profile – i.e your target audience – if you can interact with their activity (such as ‘like’ a post) then they will know you have done that, which is a great way to get their attention.

Recommendations are much easier to see alongside your roles. So make sure you ask for recommendations when you can. And make sure you give them also. Previously recommendations didn’t appear on public profiles, not sure why, so Linkedin changing this is really great. Because recommendations are much more valuable than endorsements (see a previous post about this!)

3. It shows others what you have in common

You can see what others have in common with you – and vice versa. You can explore their networks easier via the graphical ‘circles’ on the right. Another ‘circles’ graphic highlights other commonalities such as location, or skills. Plus it’s easier to see who you know that knows them via the right hand box and the shared connections box at the bottom. All the better when looking for something to ‘break the ice’ on that  first communication.

Overall it makes exploring profiles much easier and hopefully more relevant. This is key when you want others to come and look at yours as research has shown that at least 3% of visits to your profile become leads – so increasing this figure has a clear benefit.