10 Simple Steps to Achieving All-Star Status on LinkedIn

LinkedIn celebrated its tenth birthday May 5. With 225 million members worldwide (over 77 million of them, in the US), LinkedIn has carved a niche for itself as the social network for business professionals.

Because it serves as a hub to showcase job experience, skills, and education, LinkedIn focuses more on words and less on images. However, its recent profile redesign organizes those words in tidy modules and offers new options for uploading visual content.

Profile Strength: All-Star

LinkedIn All-Star Profile 1In the “olden days” of LinkedIn (three months ago), the user’s goal was to create a “100 percent complete profile.” That challenge has been replaced with a prompt to achieve “All-Star” profile strength.

“All-Star” reminds me of a Little League baseball team and doesn’t seem particularly fitting for a professional network. I wonder how the strength meter ranks people who haven’t reached All-Star status: Pathetic Loser? Lazy-Bones? Under-Achiever?

I certainly don’t want those monikers associated with my profile! Even with the cheese factor, I’d rather be an All-Star. So I revisited my profile to freshen it up. And I discovered, to my dismay, that while LinkedIn deemed me an “Expert,” I had not yet achieved All-Star rank.

Eager to claim the cheesy-yet-desirable All-Star ranking, I made a few minor changes to my profile. Follow these ten simple steps and you can join me as a LinkedIn All-Star.

1. Upload your business portrait.

LinkedIn users routinely ignore connection requests from people whose profiles don’t display a photo. Claiming you don’t have a good enough picture of yourself is no excuse. If you want to be perceived as a professional, act like one. Invest in a business portrait session with a freelance photographer or photo studio. For around $150, you can obtain the rights to use your headshot in all your marketing materials.

2. Use your real name.

LinkedIn’s database alphabetizes all connections by last name followed by first name. If people know you by your nickname but you use your full name in a work environment, put your nickname in parentheses: Jonathan (Jon) Doe. It is acceptable to include a title such as Dr. or Rev.

3. Craft an enticing headline.

After your name and photo, your headline is the single most-viewed element on your LinkedIn profile. The headline displays prominently on your profile, in search results, messages, groups, invitations to connect, company page employee listings, and in popups when LinkedIn users hover over your image.

All-Star Profile 2

When you write your headline, ask, “What words and phrases would someone who’s searching for me use?”

Highlight your expertise with those keywords in your 120-character headline. Make your profile searchable by entering your geographic location and industry directly below the headline.

4. Summarize your expertise and experience.

In the Background Summary module, you get 2,000 characters (about half the length of this article) to introduce yourself in a conversational yet professional manner. You can upload or link to portfolios, presentations, photos, and videos from a huge list of service providers including Pinterest, twitpic, Forbes, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, Spotify, Scribd, Slideshare, Word.

A little side note:

When you add a job position in the Experience area, there’s an option to check a radio button so you can display your current job in the Headline area. If you check the button, it will override the other content you put in the Headline area.

5. Describe three job positions.

In the Experience module, add your current position as well as two previous positions. As you begin typing your company name, LinkedIn auto-searches for a corresponding Company Page. When you select that Company Page, your profile will link directly to it and will list you as an employee.

6. Highlight your education.

Outline educational experiences relevant to the position you seek or the industry in which you work.

7. List skills and expertise.

This is the “social proof” area of your profile where your LinkedIn connections will endorse you for various skills. To achieve All-Star rank, you must list at least three skills and can enter up to 50 areas of expertise.

LinkedIn Skills and Expertise

8. Connect with at least 50 people.

You must have 50 or more connections to earn All-Star status. From the Contacts tab of your profile, click “Add Connections.” You can instruct LinkedIn to upload contacts from your e-mail service provider to see who has a LinkedIn profile.

All-Star Profile 4

9. Check your progress.

Once you’ve added the basics, check your progress toward All-Stardom by viewing the “Recommended for you” prompt in the upper right-hand corner of your “Edit Profile” tab. These prompts alert you about sections of your profile that lack content.

All-Star Profile 6

10. Rearrange sections.

Grab the two-way arrow located at the top of each module and drag sections of your profile up or down.

All-Star Profile 7

This allows you to highlight your most compelling attributes to people who are checking out your profile.

Connect with me on LinkedIn:

Blogging Bistro Company Page: http://www.linkedin.com/company/blogging-bistro-llc

Laura Christianson’s profile: www.linkedin.com/in/laurachristianson/

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  • Robbi

    Hi Laura,
    What a great blog, I have read a couple of articles already and should definitely be in bed by now. I was trying to connecting to you via LinkedIn, but as I am a new user or they have tightened the strings since my previous long ago LinkedIn account, LinkedIn will not allow the connection. Shame. Robbi Heart.

  • Robbi

    Hi Laura,
    What a great blog, I have read a couple of articles already and should definitely be in bed by now. I was trying to connecting to you via LinkedIn, but as I am a new user or they have tightened the strings since my previous long ago LinkedIn account, LinkedIn will not allow the connection. Shame. Robbi Heart.

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  • Guest

    Thanks for posting this. I’m trying to get all star status, but up against a few things right from the get go. I understand if you don’t reach all star, you won’t show up in searches. Is that true? When trying to improve my profile, I don’t have a current employer, I was laid off after 25 years just recently. Activities for college, I didn’t have any except went to class. At the time, I was never involved at all other than study. I also worry about sharing my studies from college, etc as I’m not trying to find anything in the field I studied. I find it might be better to post just the college name and not broadcast what I studied unless it might be something I can hide from view after the fact. Also, years when I attended school, with job discrimination of age a possibility now for me, isn’t this opening myself up to that right off the bat?

  • Guest

    Thanks for posting this. I’m trying to get all star status, but up against a few things right from the get go. I understand if you don’t reach all star, you won’t show up in searches. Is that true? When trying to improve my profile, I don’t have a current employer, I was laid off after 25 years just recently. Activities for college, I didn’t have any except went to class. At the time, I was never involved at all other than study. I also worry about sharing my studies from college, etc as I’m not trying to find anything in the field I studied. I find it might be better to post just the college name and not broadcast what I studied unless it might be something I can hide from view after the fact. Also, years when I attended school, with job discrimination of age a possibility now for me, isn’t this opening myself up to that right off the bat?

  • Good questions, Scott. You might find this discussion on LinkedIn helpful http://community.linkedin.com/questions/4404/how-to-improve-personal-profile-to-all-star.html.

    I believe you will still show up in LinkedIn searches, even if you haven’t yet reached All-Star status. Otherwise, what’s the point of LinkedIn?

    Not sure what you can do about “Current Employer” — perhaps put “Transitioning between jobs” or “Actively seeking employment” and list some of your job skills?

    I would just post your college name and leave specific course of study out. So many of us are in career fields that are completely unrelated to what we studied in college that I don’t think that’s a big deal. Or it shouldn’t be! I think the college listing is geared more for people who are currently attending (or recently attended) college and have limited work experience.

    Age discrimination is definitely a factor in all careers. But I believe honesty is the best policy. Be confident in who you are and the skills you bring to the table, no matter what your age.

  • Good questions, Scott. You might find this discussion on LinkedIn helpful http://community.linkedin.com/questions/4404/how-to-improve-personal-profile-to-all-star.html.

    I believe you will still show up in LinkedIn searches, even if you haven’t yet reached All-Star status. Otherwise, what’s the point of LinkedIn?

    Not sure what you can do about “Current Employer” — perhaps put “Transitioning between jobs” or “Actively seeking employment” and list some of your job skills?

    I would just post your college name and leave specific course of study out. So many of us are in career fields that are completely unrelated to what we studied in college that I don’t think that’s a big deal. Or it shouldn’t be! I think the college listing is geared more for people who are currently attending (or recently attended) college and have limited work experience.

    Age discrimination is definitely a factor in all careers. But I believe honesty is the best policy. Be confident in who you are and the skills you bring to the table, no matter what your age.

  • Guest

    Thanks for getting back with me. I’ll take a look at the discussion you suggested.

    Just hard to get to the 100% complete without current employer. I’ll try your suggestion. Somehow, I need to get it 100% complete, then I’m still not sure if it will reach all star, but I’ll deal with that once I come to that.

    Thanks again!

  • Guest

    Thanks for getting back with me. I’ll take a look at the discussion you suggested.

    Just hard to get to the 100% complete without current employer. I’ll try your suggestion. Somehow, I need to get it 100% complete, then I’m still not sure if it will reach all star, but I’ll deal with that once I come to that.

    Thanks again!

  • David

    Hi! Any idea how one get fill up the profile strength completely? There’s still a small white area in mine… 🙂

  • David

    Hi! Any idea how one get fill up the profile strength completely? There’s still a small white area in mine… 🙂

  • David

    Oops… I meant: how one *can*, not ‘get* fill up…

  • David

    Oops… I meant: how one *can*, not ‘get* fill up…

  • Mine has that little open space, too. Very irritating, when you’ve made your best effort to “fill it up.” Try clicking on the “Improve your Profile” button, which is right next to your picture on your Profile tab. That will walk you through the steps LinkedIn thinks are missing.

  • Mine has that little open space, too. Very irritating, when you’ve made your best effort to “fill it up.” Try clicking on the “Improve your Profile” button, which is right next to your picture on your Profile tab. That will walk you through the steps LinkedIn thinks are missing.

  • Cheryl

    Thank-you for this information, much appreciated!!

  • Cheryl

    Thank-you for this information, much appreciated!!

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  • Mike

    Thanks Laura. I must admit to being slightly skeptical at first because other articles stating how to do this didn’t work. However it took me 15 minutes to get the ‘all star’ rating. I had already reached number 1 out of over 2,200 followers. So now I am top of the my game! Mike

  • Glad it worked for you, Mike, and thanks for following Blogging Bistro.

  • Kathy Cottle

    Nice tips! I was wondering why, after I added some work experience, my status went from all-star to expert?

  • All-Star is the highest level of “strength” for LinkedIn profiles, followed by Expert, Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner. There should be a prompt at the top of your profile that asks you if you want to improve your profile. If you follow those prompts, it often bumps you up to the next level. You could try that. Otherwise, I have no idea why LinkedIn would have downgraded your profiles strength after you added new information.