LinkedIn is one of the world’s top 20 most visited websites with over 225 million members in over 200 countries, 5 million of which are in the UK. The potential of LinkedIn, as both a tool to promote your skills and expand your commercial networks really is unlimited. Some focus on creating a comprehensive profile will ensure you can make the most of the myriad of networking and knowledge sharing options this platform offers.
1. Treat LinkedIn as your living, breathing CV
All too often, we treat our LinkedIn profiles like any other social media ones that we "have" to have. But unlike most, LinkedIn is strictly focused on your professional skills and experience – think of it as a live and interactive CV. Your profile allows others to discover who you are professionally, so when you set up your profile you should focus the content on who you wish to engage with – are you job hunting, seeking professional contacts or looking to grow your business – whether it’s just one or a combination of all three, make sure the content is relevant for your target audience.
2. Only use a professional style photo
Remember, your photo should reflect your professional life – so smart, not casual clothing, and a recent head/shoulders shot with you facing the camera is the best choice for LinkedIn.
3. Build Brand You
Firstly ensure you’ve covered the basics - a professional photo, your current job title*, employer and contact details and also a summary that covers your experience, projects and achievements. Ensure your career history, not just your most recent role, is covered. Be as comprehensive as you can in filling out each and every relevant, editable section.
*Note: Most people miss the professional headline section, however, because LinkedIn defaults to your most recent job title. Take the time to edit your headline, and make sure you use the best keywords for the business you are in.
4. Beyond the Basics – Focus on your Key Skills
Take the time to add as much detail about your skills as you can, because these keywords are how people find your profile. In addition, this is a section you might want to stay on top of – keep it current and relevant. Also don't list any skills you might have but are NOT skills you want to use on your next job.
5. Your job description – make it relevant
This is an important step you shouldn't skip! It's not enough to tell folks your job title; you need to also add the same sort of job description that you would use on your CV. You should include achievements in the description as well. Highlight the work you want to do now, and downplay elements you no longer consider part of your professional repertoire.
6. Create a customer LinkedIn URL
A typical LinkedIn profile link includes a nightmarishly long string of numbers and letters. Thankfully, LinkedIn allows users to set up a custom vanity URL that you can use instead. Here's how.
7. Fully complete your profile
Completing every single area of your LinkedIn profile can take a while, but it's worthwhile. Once its complete, review it regularly – it should reflect real time.
8. Develop your networks
Once your profile is fully completed, you can then focus on identifying individuals you wish to connect with, remember you can further broaden your network to reach 2nd and 3rd level connections. Join a variety of industry related groups – then actively and regularly contribute to them, at the very least ‘Like’ comments made by other members and use them to request information and initiate your own discussions. Focus on joining those groups that cover areas you are interested in and will highlight your expertise.
9. Utilise the endorsement feature
When you click on a profile on LinkedIn, you get a pop up box asking you to endorse the skills of the people you're connected with. These endorsements can be a valuable addition to your profile. However, make sure that the endorsements you receive are the ones you want recruiters or potential connections to focus on. LinkedIn does allow you to choose which endorsements you want people to see. Also it’s a given that if someone endorses you, you should endorse them too.
10. Regularly Like and Share
You need to be active on LinkedIn – so like and share relevant industry content with colleagues, peers and connections as this will raise your profile considerably.
Your LinkedIn Profile Checklist
• Get the basics right
• Showcase brand you
• Encourage endorsements
• Be active in industry groups
• Like and Share
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