Ten Simple Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success


As a LinkedIn group manager, I have the daily opportunity to view profiles of nonprofit leaders from all over the world. Although I’m delighted to engage with so many social entrepreneurs using this platform, there are some unwritten best-practices about using LinkedIn that I’d like to share.

I am confident that they can help you grow your network and help spread the word about your organization’s important work more effectively.

Building upon my last #SM4GOOD post “How To Turn Strangers Into Colleagues Using Linkedin“, I want to share ten simple ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile for success.

Ten Simple Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success:

  1. Use a professional, classy picture of yourself. LinkedIn is a professional network, not Facebook. Use a classy looking picture of yourself that helps build your brand as a leader. It is ok to use an image of yourself with your family, friends, pets or participating in some activity on other platforms but not here. If you don’t have a a current, high-resolution picture uploaded yet, do that right away.
  2. Use your headline as a place for a benefits statement instead of your job titleLinkedIn gives you tons of space to write up a killer one-liner; add some spice to your headline. Which do you feel is more engaging to a potential donor or colleague?

    headline #1 that says “Executive Director of ABC town Community Services” or

    headline #2 that says “Helping at-risk youth in ABC town increase their self confidence through learning practical job skills”.
  3. Make your profile public for anyone to view. If you’re looking to make strategic connections through LinkedIn, make sure that anyone can view your complete profile any time. When someone wants to connect with me yet has blocked huge portions of their profile from the public, I am immediately skeptical about what they’re hiding and automatically decline the connection request.
  4. Don’t have too many (or too few) connections. We’ve all seen them; LION networkers with tens of thousands of “connections”. If you’re in the game of quantity over quality when it comes to first-degree connections, you should probably focus on Twitter as LinkedIn works best when you organically build yourself a network of people you know or legitimately want to get to know. On the flip side, having too few connections (let’s say under 50) gives the impression that you’re not really serious about using LinkedIn.
  5. Write your profile in the first person. This one I don’t understand. It’s your profile, you’re writing it. Why write in the third person? It’s not a resume, a book jacket or a biography. It’s a professional personal ad. Referring to yourself as your first name doesn’t make you look smarter or more professional, if anything it creates an emotional gap between you and the person browsing your profile. Use “I” instead.
  6. Strategically filter your displayed endorsements. It’s always exciting when someone endorses us for our work but that doesn’t mean we have to display all the kudos on our profile. I’m a big fan of picking the top 10-15 endorsement categories that align with the message you’re trying to send and deleting the rest. By eliminating random, off-topic endorsements from your profile you’ll look tidy and focused.
  7. Display authentic recommendations. People like doing business with those whose talent has been vouched for by other credible leaders. There are probably dozens of people who would be happy to recommend your work but until you ask them to write up a quick note about their experience working with you, there will be no social proof to show your prospects that you’re really great at what you do. Take the plunge and ask for some support from your network. Most people will easily say “yes” (if you sincerely did a great job for them).
  8. Go easy on the status updates. The trick in navigating social media is that each platform is completely different from every other. On Twitter you can easily get away with posting 15-20 times/day; however, on LinkedIn, this is just not done. The name of the game on LinkedIn is professional courtesy – only post relevant, informative updates 2-3 times/day.  (Oh yeah, don’t accidentally use hashtags or @mentions – looks super tacky).
  9. Reply to your direct messages in a timely manner. Someone sending you a message and not getting a reply within 3 business days is like someone calling you personally on the phone and you never calling them back – pretty rude. No matter what, make sure you have a system in place to get those messages and reply to each and every one as soon as possible. Stand apart from the crowd and actually check your inbox regularly – this one is a LinkedIn game changer.
  10. Send personalized connection requests. When you send a connection request to someone and just use the default request script, it gives the impression that you don’t really care about the person you’re sending the request to. Take ten extra seconds when expanding your network to write a personal note about who you are and why you want to connect with them. Go the extra mile, it makes a BIG difference.

The thing I love (and hate) about LinkedIn is that unlike Facebook or Twitter, there is a very distinctive culture and unwritten set of expectations that each user should adhere to. For many people, the amount of work that goes into setting up a proper LinkedIn profile, is so overwhelming that they don’t even try to figure it out then end up being one of the millions of profiles that no one looks at and no one engages with.

What could you accomplish and who could you meet by deciding to become an expert at using LinkedIn instead of trying to get by on just the basics?

Got a question about any of these ideas? Leave a comment and I’d be happy to reply. 

About The Author…

Next Level Nonprofit
Equipping EDs with the skills & support needed to enjoy a successful, sustainable & satisfying nonprofit career. Follow her on Twitter @ngolinsky
Natasha Golinskyon
Vancouver, Canada Area | Professional Training & Coaching


User Generated Content Drives the #GivingTuesday Movement Towards Success

UNnselfie MovementTime NewsFeed asserts that, “A good ‘word of the year’ will sum up our culture as it was during that particular orbit around the sun.” As the earth makes its full revolution, it seems only right that the giving season is here and #GivingTuesday has restored the balance over the 2013 Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year by introducing the #UNselfie. An online campaign designed to generate earned media for good causes around the globe by asking supporters to take a picture of themselves doing something for the greater good.

There were many vehicles in place for spreading awareness through print, radio, and television, but nothing takes the cake like simple word-of-mouth. The White House took part in pushing forth the #GivingTuesday Movement along with many other prominent public figures, celebrities, nonprofits, and socially responsible corporations.

People across the nation catapulted the movement’s efforts through user generate content by promoting #GivingTuesday as a national day of giving, helping good go viral through social media and a multi-channel approach. Whether you’ve made the The Bieber or The Sunsoaker your favorite selfie pose this year, #GivingTuesday provided each and every one of you self-regarding exhibitionists an opportunity to shed the narcissism and cast your stance on raising awareness for your favorite cause or nonprofit organization.

User Generated Content – #UNselfie Movement

The Tale Of The Hashtag

Over the last 30 days, 723,237 unique tweets were sent out with 289,063 of them peaking on #GivingTuesday while #UNselfie reached 33,580 total tweets and 16,933 on Decembers 3, 2013. They both achieved a Topsy Sentiment Score of 84, which is comparable to brands like Calvin Klein (83), Pepsi (84), and Taco Bell (86) during the 2013 NFL Superbowl. I’m talking about hundreds of billions of impressions with retweets, @replies, and the impact on other social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.


This year, there were 10,000+ nonprofits participating in #GivingTuesday worldwide, a 300% increase over 2012 with only 2500 organizations during its kick-off year. It is anticipated that the number of mentions for #GivingTuesday will surge to a cool million+ by the end of the year as the giving season continues.

As you can see in the graph below, the use of #UNselfie started to drop hard and fast when supporters stopped producing content just one day later. The good thing is that the giving has not been interrupted.


A Bigger Trend in Global Personal Philanthropy

Blackbaud, a leading source of nonprofit news, trends, best practices, and a founding partner of #GivingTuesday recently published its findings for the 2013 giving day to reveal a final tally of $19.2 million in online donations, up 90% from $10.1 million since the inaugural season in 2012. While Black Friday suffered it’s first decline in spending since 2009.

Is this a sign of the times? Are we are heading towards a major decline in global apathy? I hope so! With all the record-breaking fundraising which occurred for many organizations – big and small – perhaps #GivingTuesday is the answer towards breaking past the 2% GDP ceiling in charitable giving. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and keep the optimism flowing.

Needless to say, the bump in online fundraising for #GivingTuesday should provide a compelling argument to all the naysayers and skeptics. Take a look at FirstGiving for example; donations increased by 175%, from $159,102.96 in 2012 to $438,018.50 on December 3rd. Then there’s the General Board of Global Ministries UMC in Los Angeles who yielded $6.5 million from 11,000 donors in 34 countries.

Mobile and social media will continue to play a major role in online fundraising, especially with an increase of 205% in mobile donations in North America alone. Thus contributing to a larger trend in global personal philanthropy as we move into the new year. Combining this with the power of crowdsourcing will allow people to fundraise for the causes they care about most while at the same time garnering a return on relationship through increased awareness for the organizations they cherish.

It is important for 501(c)(3)’s to demonstrate transparency and high visibility in spending, allowing supporters to see how their contributions are causing impact. Existing technologies and new innovations in the nonprofit sector will continue to drive and expand this effort. In the future, digital literacy programs and capacity building will help all organizations participate in #GivingTuesday to reach new donors and break some records of their own.

Just as online technology is helping business reach millions of new potential customers in a more targeted way, it’s also helping nonprofits reach a huge pool of potential new donors.” —Bill Gates

Moving forward, I can see the first Tuesday after every Thanksgiving as the official launch date to the charitable giving season and year-end fundraising. #GivingTuesday will be established as a household term as commonly familiar to the masses as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Like many foundations in the country hosting a Giving Day to empower their communities, the #GivingTuesday Movement sets to do the same on a global scale.

If you missed this historical fundraising event, not to worry. The next one isn’t until December 2, 2014. I think you have a little bit of time to start prepping. The best is yet to come!

Congratulations on a well coordinate effort! Kudos to all +Giving Tuesday partners, ambassadors, and social change agents for participating. I am grateful to +Henry Timms of the +92nd Street Y, Kathy Calvin of the +United Nations Foundation, and +Steve MacLaughlin of +Blackbaud for making this a reality.

Special acknowledgment to +Google+ and +Mashable for hosting the first ever Hangout-a-thon which featured 12-hours of giving live and direct. Check out the video below if you missed it.

I suggest you bookmark this page and watch it in piecemeal.

Did you participate in #GivingTuesday this year? Please share your results, biggest challenges, and overall thoughts on how to make it better for next year.

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