During a recent social selling discussion with subject matter experts, I asked, “How should a sales professional order the sections of their LinkedIn profile to be optimized for prospects?”
I was a little shocked to find that all of the answers I received were rather vague. Everyone agreed that you should put the most valuable information for your prospects first, but no one went further to suggest an order that the many sections of a profile should appear in. The lack of satisfaction I received from these vague answers prompted me to do a little research of my own.
Naturally my first thought was to turn to Google. I found many blogs that touched on the subject, but was once again surprised to find a lack of actionable specifics that had been documented by community of social content creators.
Then I turned to the LinkedIn Help Center, which provided excellent instructions on how to rearrange sections of your profile, but again did not suggest an optimal order for them to appear in. Finally I decided to check out what the social selling experts were doing. One by one, I followed the trail of breadcrumbs from one LinkedIn profile to the next until I had viewed in excess of 100 profiles.
I compiled a consensus of how the experts had ordered their profiles and this is what I found.
1. Summary section comes first.
Although there were minor deviations, almost 100% of profiles I viewed started with one of two sections: Posts or Summary. The Posts section is reserved for influential LinkedIn members that have been granted early access to LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform. For the vast majority of us, having Posts appear at the top of our profiles is not an option for the time being so naturally we will default to having the Summary section first.
2. Experience, Recommendations or Skills & Endorsements
After the Summary section, there was significantly more variance in what appeared next. The vast majority of profiles had the Experience section appear after the Summary but some individuals choose instead to highlight their Publications, Recommendations or Skills & Endorsements section next.
3. After Experience, the sections vary
After the Experience section there was virtually no method to the madness that could be deciphered. Some of the experts had the Organizations section next, some had Honors & Awards, some had Volunteer Experience & Causes, some had Additional Info and so on.
4. Do what best highlights your value
From my research, the only clear best practice that I could conclude from the experts’ profiles that I reviewed was that you should order the sections of your profile in a way that best highlights your value. It is now clear that there is no generally excepted order for sections to appear in. Instead, these social selling experts have spent time analyzing which components of their profiles seemed strongest and positioned those in front of others.
In conclusion, the order that the sections of your LinkedIn profile should appear in depends completely on your personal profile. If you have done a significant amount of Publishing or received a number of Honors & Awards, position those after your Summary and Experience sections.
Likewise, if you have received a ton of Recommendations or endorsements on your Skills, you should put those sections near the top. Personally I have order my profile as follows: Summary → Experience → Skills & Endorsements → Additional Info → Honors & Awards → Organizations → Education (order subject to change.)
Overall, keep two things in mind when ordering your profile:
- 1. What are you trying to achieve?
- 2. What will your prospects care about the most when assessing your LinkedIn profile?
If you’d like more info on optimizing your LinkedIn profile, feel free to schedule a call with me via the link below.