Yep. There I said it. Your LinkedIn profile is not a resume.

Seriously, take a hard look at your profile. Are you really putting your best professional foot forward, or are you simply posting recruiter bait?

Think about it. This is the place where anyone you do business with, who you want to do business with, and who wants to do business with you, will go to find out who you really are. It’s your professional profile and calling card on the Internet. Should they really find a copy of your resume when they get there?

Here are four things to consider for freshening up, and professionalizing, your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Your email address: If you want the business world to find and connect with you via your LinkedIn profile, don’t use your personal email address as your primary contact point. Sweatbottoms or Trollslayer1 at hotmail or yahoo doesn’t really set the right tone for opening a new business discussion, opportunity or relationship now does it? Well I guess it all depends on your line or work really…
  2. Your profile picture: Does it suck? Probably. There are a number of styles of profile pictures out there; the mug shot, the cropped from a wedding pic one, the I took it in the mirror with my cell phone look, the wildly inappropriate company Christmas party group shot etc. If you’re using any of these… don’t. Go to a professional photographer and get a proper headshot taken. This is, after all, how you LOOK to the entire business world.
  3. Your summary: It’s not about you, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about what you can do for them. If you are in sales and your customers are going to be interacting with you via your LinkedIn profile, do you really want your summary to read #1 salesman in both revenue and margin achievement? You’re basically telling them you’re over-selling and over-charging them. No, in fact, you’re bragging about it publicly. While that may be a remarkable achievement to share internally, boasting about your sales prowess is not something you would talk to your customers about in person. So don’t put it in your profile!
  4. The impact of Google: Google is your new business card. Your LinkedIn profile is what it should find. Imagine if someone opened Google, typed in what they need, hit search and you came up at the top of the first page? What would that mean to you and your business? People are searching for you. Help them find you. Now I’m not advocating that you load your profile up with keywords strictly for Google to index. However, the more your profile details who you are, and what you can do for your customers, the more likely both they and Google are to find you.

LinkedIn is the social media platform of the business world. Treat it like that and new business, opportunities and job offers will find you on their own.

Got any other tips or thoughts? Please share them in the comments section below.