LinkedIn For Dummies

If you’re a professional, then you should be active on LinkedIn. Though it’s been called the “ugly duckling of social media” because of it’s uniqueness, LinkedIn is crucial for marketing your professional brand as well as for job recruitment. I created my LinkedIn profile as my resume grew and quickly I learned how valuable it is for building professional relationships and my reputation.

Edit My Public Profile | LinkedIn

 

If you’re just starting out, LinkedIn may scare you. It is completely different than Facebook and Twitter in every respect. It’s supposed to be different. LinkedIn, though called “social media” is more what I’d call “professional media.” It’s not meant for sharing your gripes with your friends, posting pictures of you dog, or posting comments on friends’ updates. LinkedIn is a melting pot of professionals, and it’s yours to join and grow in.

Although other social networking sites have their place and purpose, none of them have the professionally directed power of LinkedIn. (source)

To get started, this article provides a lot of helpful information about LinkedIn profiles – what means what, what  goes where, etc. Most importantly, you must fill in every section! Don’t skip the headline or the summary.

For more help, here are 7 tips to tweak your profile like the pros (read the whole story here).

  1. Write a WOW inducing headline.
  2. In the personal summary section, include some personal details that will help you connect to others. Talk about your goals and what motivates you.
  3. Spell check, grammar check and then do it again.
  4. Include a “call to action” – make sure the reader knows where to go for more information about you.
  5. Make sure to fill in the Awards and Education section. Ask for professional recommendations from former employers for the Recommendations section.
  6. Did you know that LinkedIn is very SEO friendly? Include keywords for your personal brand, interest and experience in your profile.
  7. Don’t use a boring photo but make sure yours is professional and stands out. I hate the “yearbook” photo pose – it is way too generic.

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While there are great things you can do for your LinkedIn profile, of course there are huge mistakes you can make as well. Most mistakes are made with the profile photo. First, make sure to use a photo. Think about how much easier it is to connect with someone if you see their face. When researching for future employees or interns, I won’t even look at profiles without pictures. Embrace your face and put it out there.

Don’t be afraid to use the “status” feature for professional reasons. Post about your recent blog or project, or an accomplishment. I like to post relevant blogs I’ve read – or written – to engage with my connections. It’s another way to show others that you’re involved and care about your craft. Take your passion even further and join groups related to your field, school or interests. Think of it as a business party, and you want to make as many connections as possible to further your career.

Why are all of the sections on your professional profile so important? Think of it like keyword-optimizing your website for search engines – the more keywords you have on your professional profile that tell what you are about, the more likely you are to get discovered by those searching for people with your qualifications. (source)

My organization uses LinkedIn for employee recruitment, and I have heard first-hand from HR just how critically profiles are reviewed. For this reason, I encourage all of my friends to stay active on LinkedIn and optimize their profiles to impress. Just having a profile won’t do anything for you. You’ve got to follow the tips for success and remain vigilant. If you do, you’ll start to hear from recruiters. I’ve received several inquiries from recruiters, and it’s always a nice reminder that I’m doing something right with my profile.

What about you, are you active on LinkedIn? Has a a potential employer reviewed your profile and mentioned it during the interview?