Have you ever connected with someone on LinkedIn and then discovered that there was no real way you could ever help them with business? Or have you connected with people on LinkedIn and then wished you had not connected with them?

Here are some ways you can make sure that the connections you are making are the ones you need and want for business:

1. Do they have a professional headshot?

If you are in business, there is no excuse for a poor headshot...or no headshot at all. It makes you look like you are not serious about business. "Selfies" do not cut it! It makes you look broke. Hate to be blunt, but there it is. The impression you want to present is one of professionalism and a centre of influence. Personally, I do not accept connections from profiles with no headshot, unless I know them personally, or through another connection.

If you own a company, then it is your responsibility to pay for professional headshots to be done with ALL your staff. ALL your staff need to have a stellar profile, one that you would be proud to say, "they work for me".

2. Just their name goes in the name line.

They must have at least their first and last name. This is not where you put all your cuma cum lades. Your graduate degrees will show up in your education section. That is where you can list these.

3. Look for a headline that states more about how they help people.

For instance, if the profile belongs to a realtor the headline might read like this,

"Realtor | #1 in Sales 2016 |  Specializing with Farms & Ranches | Helping you find the perfect Central Alberta location for you and your family."

There are 137 characters available here, so when people use them, it makes a huge difference. This way they have differentiated themselves from all their competition. It says a lot about the person right there.

4. The Summary.

Many profiles that I check don't even have a summary and most of the ones that do have one, just list all their qualifications. They do not tell anything about who they are and why they do what they do, mixed in with what they do. There should be a professional story about them. Remember there are approximately 1200 characters available here.

What makes a profile stand out is if they also have other pictures and videos of them in business attached to their Summary.

5. Experience.

In the experience, we should be able to see a description about what they did at the different positions they have held. If there is just the name of the company and the years they worked there, that is not enough.

It is also good to see how long they have held positions. It speaks to their integrity.

6. Education

Where they studied and what was studied is important. Again, if they just list the name of the university and the years attended, you know nothing about exactly what they studied. This detail can make all the difference in your decision to connect with them.

7. Honours and Awards.

Did they receive any special awards, like a first place trophy in public speaking?

Check this out.

8. Volunteering.

Have they been a regular volunteer for a special organization? How many years have they volunteered? What was their responsibility there?

9. Endorsements.

How many people have endorsed them for skills? How many skills do they have listed?

10. Recommendations.

Check to see what people are saying about the person, and what this person has said about others.

11. People also viewed.

Check to see who else is viewing their profile. Perhaps there are some people there that you would also like to check out as well, and request an introduction.

12. What have they published?

Have they written anything that will give you insights to who they are and what inspires them to do what they do?

As we review this list, it can also inspire us to make sure we have them included in our own profiles.

So...what is your LinkedIn profile going to tell us?

More helps and tips through the Marketing Mentress.

Christine Till

The Marketing Mentress

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