LinkedIn Announces Their Latest Profile Changes

Last week, LinkedIn announced the new LinkedIn Premium Experience, with new ways to make your profile stand out visually, suggestions to help you optimize your profile, the ability to stand out more in search results (think of Google’s AuthorRank here), opening the privacy settings on your profile to allow more people to find and engage with you, and better tracking ability to understand your impact and visibility.

[Note: The majority of these features are only available to paying LinkedIn customers at this time, but some will make their way into the free accounts over time as well.]

Enhance Your Profile Visually

Taking its cue from other social networks, LinkedIn now allows premium members to add a cover image to their profile. This can be a great way to extend your brand or give viewers a visual clue as to who you are and what you are like.

You’ll have access to:

  • Larger profile photos
  • Expanded backgrounds

Artfully combining the two can convey a rich story. For example, Richard Branson’s cover image is of clouds, with his profile picture looking upward, denoting his reputation for progressive ideas that push the normal boundaries of business (and that he owns an airline that’s reaching for the stars).

Richard Branson - Founder of Virgin


In a few months, all members will be able to add the custom profile background, which is great, if you find an artful way to use it!

Optimize Your Profile with Keywords

Based on content you already provide, LinkedIn suggests keywords that you might want to use in your profile to appear more regularly in search results.

LinkedIn search terms

Be sure to incorporate these same terms into the following areas to maximize your impact.

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Experience
  • Skills

If you don’t optimize your profile with the right search terms, you simply won’t get found. So, don’t discount the importance of these suggestions.

Stand Out in Search Results

Awhile ago, Google+ introduced “AuthorRank,” which I’ve written about before. Content creators enrolled in the program have search results that are simply more attractive than results of individuals who aren’t enrolled.

LinkedIn appears to be applying a similar concept, enabling premium users to stand out in LinkedIn search results by displaying more information from your profile in search results. However, they don’t give specific examples of what’s different, and a search of my network didn’t make that obviously clear.

I believe that the new search results show your current and past positions, education, etc. in addition to the information already displayed (name, photo, headline, shared connections, similar people). However, I didn’t really see anything else that stood out as looking different, and I can’t swear that the positions and education weren’t there previously.

It would be nice if they did something to make premium users stand out a bit. For example, a larger profile image or part of your summary. However, whatever it is that they’re claiming will help you stand out in search results, I’m not seeing it yet…

More Flexibility in Your Privacy Settings

LinkedIn has introduced the concept of an open profile. This means that, if you choose to, you can set your profile in a way that everyone can see your details and contact you. This means that whether you are in the same network or share a group or not, people can interact with you.

While this sounds like it could be a good thing, a very real concern is that its primary function will be to generate a lot more junk mail in your inbox.

It may be great for LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers), but I don’t think it’s a feature I’ll be embracing any time soon…

Track Your Impact More

Premium members will have a more robust experience with the Who’s Viewed Your Profile page. Instead of seeing who’s looked recently, you’ll be able to check for the past 90 days.

While that may seem good, since this is something I keep up with on a regular basis (so that it doesn’t become overwhelming), it’s not really as beneficial as it might sound.

Do you want to spend an hour looking through profiles from the past 90 days to see who’s viewed you and to figure out how to deepen those relationships so that they eventually lead to partnerships, leads and sales, or do you want to spend a few minutes once a week doing that? For me, the shorter amount of time makes more sense.

However, this new feature also allows you to see how you compare to the top 100 profiles of your first-level connections. This is intended to help you see how your LinkedIn presence measures up against your peers.

Is it helpful to know that I’m in the top 24% of the most viewed profiles in my network? Not really… It’s more of a curiosity factor than anything.

But if I can use that information then to see what people are doing who are getting more profile views than I am, to look at their profiles and deconstruct what I can do to improve my own, well then… That’s not such a bad thing.

Of course, their profile views will be prompted by more than just how they appear in search results. They’ll be affected by how they use LinkedIn, what groups they’re active in, etc. But the information helps to identify those in my network who are “doing things right,” and allows me to watch and learn as I go along.

More importantly, it gives me a metric to watch as I seek to improve my use of LinkedIn. It’s a sliding scale that’s only relevant in relation to my network, who will improve and backslide just as I do, but it becomes a measure that I can watch as I seek to maximize my own use of LinkedIn. And that’s not a bad thing!


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