Should I put (fill in the blank) on my LinkedIn profile?

I'm asked this question several times question marks each week. I always answer I don't know, which usually comes as a surprise to them and probably to you as well. After all, I'm the expert! 

What I really mean is I can't answer that confidently until I understand what they plan to accomplish on LinkedIn.

suggest you start by asking yourself three questions. 

Would putting this on my profile:

  • help people find me? 
  • improve their perception of me and my brand?
  • help them understand what I do and how I can help them?
If your answer to any of these questions is "Yes," then I suggest you put it on your profile.
Let's look at the three questions more closely.

Help people find me
Trust me on this one. Connections are the gas in the tank on LinkedIn, especially if the connections are strategic (for example, customers, potential customers, influencers of your customers, people at organizations where you want to work, etc.). You want people to find and connect with you.
For example, on my profile I list my first job out of college, Arthur Andersen & Co. This entry helps people from the "good old days" find me -- and they just might need some LinkedIn training or consulting at their company.

Improve their perception of me and my brand
People are using LinkedIn to size you up. Entries that display your expertise, emphasize your integrity, and show your creativity will cause people to like and trust you. Hopefully this leads to more connections and more business.
The Arthur Andersen entry also applies here, because most experienced business people around this part of the country recognize that if AA&Co. hired you right out of college, you are probably a really smart person.
So, even though I didn't have a 3.9+ GPA, like most students they hired, people assume I'm in that group, and it gives me positive branding kudos. (FYI, I had a 3.4, but I could interview with the best of them!)
Help them understand what I do and how I can help them
After all, if your profile doesn't get this done, why are you on LinkedIn anyway?
Professionally, I do speaking and consulting. Here's one of the ways I promote my speaking business: 

I am consistently asked to speak at Executive Agenda (EA), YPO and TEC meetings as well as CEO Roundtables and Renaissance Forums (REF), where my thirty years of experience as a business owner and manager enables me to help my peers understand how social media can benefit their companies.

Personally, I am involved with some awesome nonprofit groups. Including them in my LinkedIn profile helps me spread the word about the great things they're doing. By including links to their websites, I am encouraging others to get involved, too.

You can look at my profile to see several examples of this, both in the Experience section and the Volunteer Experience & Causes section.

I hope you're now equipped and motivated to beef up your LinkedIn profile.