LinkedIn has 450 million users worldwide, with 20 million people actively using the platform in the United Kingdom. LinkedIn is the business social network, and has established itself as a powerful tool for networking, recruitment and sales.

The most important part of LinkedIn is your profile. This is essentially your online résumé, and is very important for professional branding. Google loves a good LinkedIn profile, and it is typically the most effective way to find your details when searching for your name online, almost always outranking the other social channels. Moreover, your LinkedIn profile is often the first place people will look you up when you meet them in any kind of business capacity face-to-face, so it absolutely pays to make sure it is first class.

In this article I will outline tips and best practices on how to build a first class profile on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Profile Strength

There are five levels of LinkedIn profile strength, and your level is only visible to you when you visit your LinkedIn profile page. The levels range from Beginner, which is assigned to every new LinkedIn profile, through to Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and All-Star.

Your LinkedIn profile strength rating is important because it is part of what determines how highly you rank on the platform. This is particularly true in search results, and if your LinkedIn profile strength is anything below All-Star you will not rank well. Thankfully, reaching All-Star status is not that difficult, and with a little work you can comfortably reach this status by ensuring the following is in place:

• You have a profile photo

• Your profile lists 2 or more job positions that you’ve held

• You have 5 or more skills on your profile

• You have written a summary about yourself

• You have filled out your industry and included a postal code

• You have listed where you went to school

• You have 50 or more connections

• You regularly update and keep working on your LinkedIn profile

At first this may read like quite a list but it’s something that typically happens organically unless you are very inactive on the platform. But absolutely make the effort and you can reach LinkedIn’s official All-Star status very quickly.

The LinkedIn 500 Club

Once you’ve acquired All-Star status on LinkedIn it’s essential that you keep growing your network on the platform. There’s a difference between LinkedIn rating you as an All-Star and actually having an exceptional profile. For starters, the harsh reality is that unless you are very well known within your industry most people won’t take you seriously if you have less than 500 connections within your LinkedIn network. Indeed, that number is utilised by LinkedIn as a kind of badge of

honour, as once anyone exceeds that total it will always be displayed as “500+” and never anything higher. You could have 501 connections or 50,100, but any visitor to your profile will only see 500+. This is important social proof and does carry a lot of weight with people looking you up on LinkedIn at networking events and trade shows. While it’s important that you are connected to relevant people on LinkedIn, make the effort to get your connections above 500 as quickly as you can.

Continue reading this article at Platinum Business Magazine