Posted by: waynebreitbarth | March 11, 2012

LinkedIn Character Limits: Do You Know How Far You Can Go?

The response to last week’s email, my first  LinkedIn Infographic: “Portrait of a LinkedIn User,” was unbelievable. Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement. It is making its way around the Internet world. Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone.
 
Speaking of encouraging, I am doing just that as it relates to making sure you and your friends, relatives and coworkers consider attending my super popular live LinkedIn beginner class on March 21 from 5:00-7:30pm at my office in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. If you are still struggling with your strategy on LinkedIn, now is the time to fix that. Click here for a short video preview and registration information.
 
This week I am going to address another one of those frequently asked questions. I’m sure many of you will want to keep these numbers right next to your computer. 
 
The question is: “How many characters can I use in my Summary Section? Specialties Section? Headline?”
 
So, in typical Wayne fashion, I am not going to stop simply with the raw numbers but give you a comment on why these limits are important and why you should consider taking them to the limit (anyone humming the old Eagles song?)…for your benefit, of course.
 
LinkedIn’s Most Important Character Limits and Why You Should Care 
(All numbers in parentheses represent the maximum characters allowed)
 
Individual Profile:
  • Headline (120) – Most important real estate on your profile. Think keywords and story.
  • Summary (2,000) – It’s like your cover letter. Think keywords and story.
  • Specialties (500) – This is like your pantry full of keywords. Helps SEO of your profile.
  • Website Descriptions (26) – Be sure to use all three slots and describe them accordingly.
  • Position Title (100) – Go past your boring biz card title, and be creative with keywords.
  • Position Description (2,000) – Write with a slant toward emphasizing what past experiences demonstrate your future capabilities. Of course, use keywords.
  • Education/Degree (100) – Rather than simply putting BBA, MBA, etc., add descriptive phrases that might help people discover your profile when they do a search. For example, BBA with an international accounting emphasis or BBA with a minor in Spanish.
  • Education/Fields of Study (100) – Highlight classes you took that relate to what you are doing in your current position.
  • Education/Activities and Societies (500) – Be descriptive. If you were the president of Beta Alpha Psi, the viewer of your profile will recognize your leadership ability. If you were the captain of the field hockey team, a kindred spirit may reach out to you.
  • Interests (1000) – You may want to show just a bit of your personal side but not too much. It’s not Facebook.
  • Groups & Associations (1,000) – Good place to share organizations that may or may not have their own official LinkedIn group.
  • Honors & Awards (1,000) – If you don’t toot your own horn, nobody will. Be proud and know that these entries are important differentiators and build credibility.
  • Skills (61) – You can list up to 50 skills, and you have 61 characters to describe each skill. So don’t shortchange yourself on this. This is great for SEO of your profile. 
Other Individual Limits: 
  • Number of direct, first-level connections – 30,000
  • Number of outbound invitations – 3,000. You can request more, and LinkedIn seems to give them out pretty freely at 100 per request.
  • Number of invitations you can accept – Unlimited.
  • Maximum number of groups – 50 (doesn’t include subgroups). You know the drill here. The more groups you are in, the more people you can find and the more who can find you. There are over 1.2 million groups. I’m sure you can find 50.
  • Number of status updates per day – No limit. I suggest doing a couple each day.
  • Number of characters allowed in status updates – 700 (only 140 will transfer over to Twitter).
 
I hope you are encouraged to take full advantage of these LinkedIn limits. 
 
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