social media how toIs your LinkedIn profile all it could be?

Are you taking advantage of some of LinkedIn’s special features?

If a social media channel isn’t working for you, you’re wasting time.

In this article you’ll discover how to optimize your own profile and find more connections using your LinkedIn network.

#1: Find Hidden User Information

Have you ever used LinkedIn’s advanced search option and gotten a result like this one?

linkedin profile with hidden info

Don’t let hidden user information trip you up.

It’s frustrating when you find the perfect person to connect with, but can’t see all of his or her information without upgrading your account.

Luckily, there’s a workaround: When you share a hidden LinkedIn profile with one of your own connections, you’ll be able to see the complete profile in your Sent mailbox.

Contact a trusted, current LinkedIn connection and let the person know you’re sending a message via LinkedIn. (You don’t want your existing connection to be surprised by a random profile share that may not be relevant to him or her.)

Click the Send [person’s name] InMail button, choose Share from the menu and then send the contact to your current LinkedIn connection.

sharing a linkedin profile via inmail

Share the hidden contact with a friend via LinkedIn InMail.

Return to your own dashboard and look in your Sent mailbox. You will see a copy of the email you sent to your contact, along with a link to the profile you want to view.

viewing a linkedin profile via inmail

Your sent mail reveals the person’s full LinkedIn profile.

Click on the View Profile link and you’ll be able to read the entire profile and contact the person! Yes, it’s kind of like magic.

#2: Include Keywords in Job Titles

Is there a social platform where keywords aren’t an important part of updates and profiles? On LinkedIn, most users include keywords in their headline, but they don’t always use them in their job titles.

Your Job Title field gives you 100 characters—use them! Any keywords you’ve identified for your headline benefit you in your Job Title field as well.

For example, your job title may be Vice President Human Resources. To optimize that job title so you appear in relevant searches, add related keywords:

Vice President Human Resources | Director of Human Resources | HR Generalist.

Take a look at your own job titles. Are they optimized for LinkedIn SEO? If not, go add some keywords! Showing up in LinkedIn search results means connecting with people interested in your skill set—either to talk about hiring or just connect professionally.

#3: Keep Summary and Specialties Separate

Your LinkedIn profile may or may not have both Summary and Specialties sections.

linkedin summary and specialties section

Keep your Summary and Specialties sections separate when possible.

Your Summary section is just that—an overview of what you do or can bring to a company as an employee. Your Specialties section is a more specific list of your particular skills.

You can tell whether you have both by going to your Edit Summary page. If it looks like the example above, you have separate Summary and Specialties sections.

If you have both a Summary and a Specialties section, do not click the Append Specialties to Summary link (under the Specialties box). If you delete your Specialties section by adding it to your Summary, you won’t be able to get it back.

Why do you want to keep your Specialties section? It gives you 500 characters for targeted keywords related to your skills. If you combine Specialties and Summary, you have to cut down your Summary section to add your targeted keywords.

But don’t panic if you’ve already combined these two sections. You can integrate your keywords into your Summary paragraphs or create a mock Specialties section within your Summary. Simply type the word Specialties and follow it with a keyword list.

#4: Leverage the Find Alumni Feature

In general, we like familiarity. We trust others who have shared experiences or backgrounds.

On LinkedIn, that trust is often skewed toward others who attended our same college or university. (Perhaps the only thing we’re more loyal to than our school is our sports teams!)

If you aren’t using the Find Alumni tool on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on getting some seriously preferential treatment. The Find Alumni tool is under Network on your toolbar.

finding alumni on the networking dropdown

Network with alumni to find candidates or a job.

When you search for other alumni, LinkedIn returns information on location, company and general job descriptions. When you find the alumni who fit your needs, drop them a line.

linkedin alumni results

LinkedIn Alumni search results.

Whether you’re looking for job candidates or looking for a job yourself, connecting and networking with others from your college or university is a great first step.

Bonus: Connect Offline

Meeting, connecting and working with people on social channels is our everyday. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget that the people we’re connecting with are more than just a name and picture on our screen. We get used to only interacting with others online.

If you want to get the most out of your network and make an impression, put in an effort to meet offline. Online conversations are simply not sufficient to build a network and get results.

istock coffee image 3464775

It’s important to meet online connections in real life. Image: iStockPhoto.

Next time you make a new connection on LinkedIn, how about picking up the phone and talking to that person? Or if you’re traveling, see if anyone can meet for coffee. Set up a one-on-one meeting or meet with a group—whichever you’re comfortable with and think will have the most value.

People like to meet people. Don’t forget there’s a human being behind every LinkedIn profile and chances are every one has a telephone and goes out for coffee dates. Go meet them!


If you’re not using LinkedIn to its full potential, you’re missing out on important networking opportunities. A few changes in how you use the platform—and how you connect—can make all the difference.

What do you think? Have any of these tips worked for you? Do you have other LinkedIn tips? Please leave your tips and comments below!

Images from iStockPhoto.
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  • KevinFerrasciOMalley

    I’m a very experienced Linkedin user but I learned something new reading your tips. So thanks for a great post. (p.s. I just went over to your site and bought your ebook)

  • Your Business Allies

    Most of the value I gain from LinkedIn is from Groups. Our company has both a B2B and B2C arm, and we join groups that serve both of these needs. We start by reading many of the discussions and selecting the most valuable contributors. We comment and contribute to many discussions, and bring value to the discussions overall. Then, we visit the profiles of the best contributors, and see what other groups they are part of. This always leads to similar groups that serve our needs. We join these groups, identify key contributors, add value, and see their groups as well.
    Then we start delivering valued content to the best groups. We try to match the tone, concerns and interests of the groups. It helps to start by listening first, and by joining in discussions first, because you can really get a feel for the culture of the group.
    As we build relationships in the groups, we will ask to connect with key members – best contributors, potential customers, and leaders. It is important to note that the top contributors and those that most frequently comment, are not necessarily the valuable players in the group. It is important to read what people are saying and weigh it against your goals for the group.
    Group marketing strategy takes consistency and dedication. When you post, you need to respond quickly to comments and questions. You need to post often enough to build a reputation, but not so often that you are spam. You need to always deliver valuable content and add value to the discussions on other people’s content. Groups are already targeted for you by interest, so we love them!

  • Hi

    There is much more simple way for “#1 Find Hidden User Information”.

    2 ways:
    1) You copy first name and headline and paste them in Google. Google will show you the profile in its results. Just click on it : you know who he is and you can send a contact request without inMail.
    2) In the right column, have a look at “people also viewed”. Click on one of them. And once again have a look at this place. You ‘ll who was the first one.

    Example : you are on profile A. You click in “people also viewed” on profile B. When on profile B, you will often (not always, in case chose another profile) see who is profile A.

  • Thanks Brenda for this helpful information. LinkedIn has opened recently its publishing platform for all users. It can be another way to improve your profile since your posts appear to your profile in addition to your projects and SlideShare presentations.
    Another tip I find very useful is to organize your contacts with tags such as sales managers, decision makers, or past clients. This will help you to look at who your connections know and who you could reach out to.

  • Brenda knows a lot about LinkedIn, for sure!

  • Thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for reading Kevin, and for being open to learning something new!

  • Great advice! Do you generally find that bigger group or smaller group are the most effective for gaining attention for your business?

    Also may I quote you in my book? If so, please let me know if there’s a name I should use!

  • Thanks Cyril. Have you tried this Google method recently? It used to work but in my experience does not work anymore.

  • Great tips – especially for people who are organized enough to use Tags! I do cover the tagging feature in my book. I’m also excited to have gained Publisher status so I’m looking forward to exploring that feature more!

  • Your Business Allies

    I have found that groups that are more specific are the most effective – regardless of their size. So a group of Jacksonville Young Moms would be more effective then Mom’s on LinkedIn.

    You are welcome to quote me, my name is Saura Johnston.

  • Your Business Allies

    You are welcome!

  • I’ve used it last week in a workshop and it perfectly worked.
    I’ve tried again before I answer you, and it works.

  • Works in any browser where you haven’t logged into LinkedIn and not left a cookie behind so if you use IE for LinkedIn then just use Chrome / FireFox / Safari but what you see if a subset of their profile, their public profile 🙂
    Best wishes,
    The Linked In Man

  • @James It’s not what I can see here. For me it works in any browser, even if I have logged into LinkedIn. And what I get is their LinkedIn profile and not their public profile.

  • A very nice post Brenda and a discussion part is also amazing. Lots of things to learn from here.

  • I am using Linkedin for both personal and professional purpose but I did not use Find Alumni Feature till now. Thanks to capture my attention on it.

  • You’re welcome Kristina!

  • Thank you John. I agree about the discussion!

  • Thanks for the article. I recommend folks have a call to action in the profile with a link, that will get people engaged.

  • Sunny Dhumal


    Thanks for sharing some important points which is really going to work:)
    Keep sharing!

  • @Cyril You must have your browser set to delete cookies when closed.

  • absolutely not. It even worksfor me hen I’m on someone else’s laptop.
    By the way, another solution is to use Smartphone or tablet. When you have profile with first name and first letter af the last name in the search results, just click on it and you’ll see who it is.

  • Anupam Bindal

    Thanks for the new insight on Linkedin Brenda !

  • You’re welcome Sunny!

  • You’re welcome Anupam!

  • Sam

    easier solution to
    #1: Find Hidden User Information
    when you are inside a person’s profile whose full name does not show, go to the section “people also viewed”, and click on the first profile showing. When you’re in that profile go and check the “people also viewed” section again and you should see the full name of the person you were looking for in the first place. I call it circular search. Easy and no need to bother any of your connections!

  • Sam

    addendum: of course when you click on the full name in the “people also viewed” section, the full profil will appear…

  • Fasoranti Damilola

    I had to add this blog to my feed. Thanks for sharing this beautiful insight about linkedin. I have tried some of this and it works like magic. The first tip is worth testing out right away.

  • Great insights. Well done. Thanks for sharing, Brenda.

  • Rajat Agarwal

    You can re-arrange the headings of your profile so as to bring your career strengths and achievements at the top. You can showcase your technical projects and discuss about the technology and techniques applied in it something that separates you from the day to day work and makes you a value addition for the company.

  • nice Articale