Imagine you’re at a business get-together. The person you’ve just shaken hands with comes in real close, thrusts a book in your face, and starts incoherently babbling acronyms and something about sunsets. As soon as you can get away, you introduce yourself to the professional looking woman standing beside him.

That story describes my LinkedIn profile two weeks ago.

Believe me, it is embarrassing for me to share this with you.

But I never fully thought it through.

I never thought about how many business people are on LinkedIn. In a recent survey, 74.7% of my readers say they are “active” on LinkedIn.

I never realized how strongly LinkedIn influences the search engines for name searches. Search for your name, like I did here, and see what happens.

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I never truly thought about how the Internet has changed the way we meet people, learn about people, and interact with people. For business people, LinkedIn absolutely dominates.

I’ve been learning from two LinkedIn experts in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dave Rattray and Miles Duncan from LinkedIn Success Blueprint are taking me through their entire, amazing online program. It starts with the five points below which, for me, eliminated the most embarrassing mistakes. See if they help you, too.

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The Five Things You MUST Get Right In Your LinkedIn Profile

1. Your Name
Yay! I got this one right. But I remember being tempted to put in my MBA beside it. Nope, said Dave and Miles, just your name. It looks better and cleaner in LinkedIn and, even more important, it helps the search engines find you. My last name is “Glassey”, not “MBA”.
See how to change your LinkedIn name.

2. Your Picture
Hey! I’m proud of my new book and I want everybody to know that I’ve written it. Yes, said Dave and Miles, we’re very proud of you, too. But you can’t put your book in your LinkedIn picture.

Think back to that business get-together: the first thing you want to do when you meet somebody, is smile confidently and interestedly at them. Right? The same applies online with your LinkedIn picture.

Also, they went on, keep your picture professional.No cats, dogs, kids, spouses, beer, wine, beaches. That’s for Facebook. For LinkedIn, it’s just you, dressed appropriately.

Oh, and don’t zoom in too close – you wouldn’t crowd somebody’s personal space in real life; use the same rule here.
See how to change your LinkedIn picture.

3. Your Headline
Funny, isn’t it? When people ask you what you do for a living, they’re REALLY asking, “Can you help my business?”

So tell them. That’s what the headline is for.

Originally, I phrased my headline in terms of what I did: author of Customer Dreams, creator of StratPad, EnBA. It wasn’t obvious how it applied to the reader.

The new version speaks to my target audience’s problems: business planning, cash flow, sales growth, etc.

And remember that the words you put into your headline are indexed by search engines. Next time somebody googles for “payroll” or “bookkeeping”, wouldn’t you want to show up?
See how to change your LinkedIn headline.

4. Your Background Picture
You can put anything you like in the awkwardly shaped area behind your profile EXCEPT sunsets. ?

The background picture gives you an opportunity to share a little more about yourself and how you can help the reader’s business. I’d err on the side of conservative professionalism.

Also, because this is a graphic image, you may want to get a graphic designer to help you put this together so that it looks clean and well laid out.

Lastly, the shape is tricky to manage. Get my free template to determine exactly where to place your images and text.
See how to change your LinkedIn background picture.

5. Turn OFF the “People Also Viewed” Box
The last thing you want is visitors to your profile seeing your competitors and clicking on them. But that’s exactly what happens in the “People Also Viewed” box that appears at the right of your profile.

Thankfully, you can turn it off.
See how to turn off LinkedIn’s ‘People Also Viewed’ box.

What Do You Think Of My Updated LinkedIn Profile?

I feel SO much better about it. Do you agree? Want to update yours? Just follow the steps below.

How to Update The Five Key Areas of Your LinkedIn Profile

To update the five key areas of your LinkedIn profile, start by signing into your LinkedIn account. Then, from the menu at the top, click “Profile” and “Edit Profile”.

  1. Change Your Name
    Click the pencil icon at the right of your name. Change your name. Click the “Save” button.
  2. Change Your Picture
    Move your mouse pointer over your picture. Click “Change photo”. Click “change photo”, update and adjust, then click the “Save” button.
  3. Change Your Headline
    Click the pencil icon at the right of your headline. Change your headline. You have 120 characters to work with. Click the “Save” button.
  4. Change Your Background Picture
    Hover over your background area and click “Edit background”. “Upload” your background image. Click the “Save” button.
    Get my LinkedIn background image template to help you create this tricky image.
  5. Turn Off the “People Also Viewed” Box
    At the top right of your browser, you’ll see a tiny square with your picture. Hover over it to see a drop-down menu. Beside “Privacy & Settings” click “Manage”. Click on the “Privacy” heading. In the line “Viewers of This Profile Also Viewed” click “Change”. Set the toggle switch to “No”. You should see it tell you that it is saved.

Beautifully done!

Now check out the LinkedIn Success Blueprint and start putting LinkedIn to work for you.