LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network – a powerful tool for professional connections, recruiting and more. Yet, many of its users fail to take full advantage of everything the website has to offer. In this two-part Launch IQ series, we’ll share tips for using LinkedIn like a pro.
First things first, your LinkedIn profile is your online business card or résumé. Whether it is a future client or future employer, you want to make a memorable first impression in this brief snapshot into your professional prowess. A well-optimized LinkedIn profile not only works for you on the LinkedIn website, but it’s also search engine optimized so that you can be found throughout the web based on your areas of expertise. These tips will help you create a professional profile that impresses clients, connections and employers.
1. Perfect The Profile Picture.
Your profile image is typically the first thing people notice on LinkedIn. In networking, it is important to provide a positive “first look” to future connections. With that said, your profile picture doesn’t necessarily have to betaken by a professional photographer. If you don’t have any recent pictures, find a wall and a nice co-worker to take a picture of you. Personable but professional is the name of the profile picture game so don’t forget to smile.
2. Play The Name Game.
For married women, be sure to include your maiden name. It helps to increase your “findability” among past contacts. Also, add any professional designations (e.g. MA, MBA, CIC, etc.). You worked hard for those titles and they set you apart from the crowd at first glance.
3. Make Sure You Are All Linked In.
Speaking of being found, be sure to add all of your email addresses to the LinkedIn account profile. These can be added under Privacy & Settings when you click on the drop-down with your profile picture in the top right corner.
4. Simplify Your URL.
One feature that few people on LinkedIn take advantage of is the custom URL feature. This can be found under your profile photo while in edit mode. It’s easier to tell people to go to linkedin.com/pub/yourname than linkedin.com/pub/yourname-randomnumbers. It also communicates a greater mastery of the LinkedIn system.
5. Supercharge Your Professional Headline.
Many use this section to list their job title and current location, but with 250 characters available there is room to convey so much more! Use the extra space to further describe your current position in an engaging way.
6. Strategize For Your SEO-Friendly Summary.
The summary section of the LinkedIn profile is completely search engine optimized so your profile can be found on Google based on the keywords you strategically incorporate. Decide which keywords suit you and then weave them into your story.
7. Make An “Up-to-Date” Date.
Since many professionals like you are far too busy excelling at day-to-day activities, LinkedIn profiles are often neglected and updated only once or twice a year. Make a note to review your profile once a quarter and make necessary changes. Did you get a promotion or learn a new skill at your job? Be sure to highlight any notable accomplishments. Make sure you’ve added all your alumni and organizational connections as well. LinkedIn is great for finding old friends and even better for finding strategic networking partners with whom you already have something in common.
Now that your profile is optimized, the next step is making valuable connections through LinkedIn Advanced Search, Groups and other opportunities. Be sure to check back for the next LIQ when we examine best practices for more efficient networking on LinkedIn.