Proudly billing itself as the place to manage your professional identity, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to connect with over 225 million professional members. So how do you optimize your profile to stand out from the crowd and get found?
Pick the best email address.
If you don’t yet have a profile in LinkedIn, it’s easy to get started! Make sure to use a professional email address, either the one associated with your company or a personal email address that sounds professional. Your first and last name on a Gmail account, for example, is a lot better than the goofy email address you created as a joke in college. If you wouldn’t put it on your resume, definitely don’t put it on LinkedIn!
Use keywords to optimize your profile
Whether you’re filling out the information LinkedIn prompts you to complete for the first time, or updating your profile, make sure to use keywords in your job title. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients or prospective clients. What would they type into a search engine like Google (or LinkedIn’s search bar) when they’re looking for someone with your unique set of skills and services? Be specific, and use the words your clients or customers would use—even if they’re different than the words you’d typically use within your industry. There are multiple places to use keywords to optimize your profile on LinkedIn—not just your job title. LinkedIn allows you to write descriptions for all of the jobs you’ve held, and each section (job description, summary, experience) gives you another chance to use industry terms that will show up in Google and LinkedIn’s search feature, so make sure to continue using appropriate keywords. Also, don’t be shy when listing your skills and expertise.
Connect With Contacts, Old And New
LinkedIn is a great place for staying connected with old contacts as well as finding new ones. Use your email address to easily find people you already know. You can also post a link to your LinkedIn profile on other social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Get Recommendations, Not Just Endorsements
Recommendations are important! They carry a lot more weight than LinkedIn “endorsements,” which simply specify that you are qualified in a particular skill. The best way to get recommendations is to ask for them, and luckily LinkedIn has a built-in setting for this. If you click on the “profile” link and then on “recommendations” and “ask for recommendations,” LinkedIn will prompt you to ask specific people for them. Be aware that you can choose not to display recommendations if you don’t wish to. Endorsements look like this:
Recommendations actually include a photograph of the person making the recommendation, along with their name, job title and personalized testimonial. These carry far more weight.
Pick Your Best Photo
Your profile picture should be very professional—obviously those spring break photos are out. Pick one where you look the way you would for a job interview. Professional headshots are great, but at the very least, avoid shots that are blurry or candid. It can also be helpful to use the same picture you use on Twitter and Facebook and other social media, for consistency.
Be Aware Of Privacy Settings
LinkedIn has three different privacy settings. Click on your photo at the top right, and you’ll then be able to click on “Privacy and Settings”
Next, click on “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
There are multiple settings, your name and headline, your title and industry along with your location, and a totally anonymous post. What you select will be what others see when you click on their profile.
However, if you are anonymous, you will be unable to see anyone who has viewed your profile. Entries will look like this.
Allowing others to know when you’ve viewed their profile can help you find even more people to connect with.
Keep Your Profile Active
Joining a relevant group or two can be helpful in positioning yourself as an expert, and answering questions not only showcases your expertise (and helps others) but also keeps your profile active. Your business may consider starting a groups of its own—a way to send a weekly message to clients and prospects Other ways to maintain an active profile includes “liking” relevant links, and posting status updates of your own.
For Job Seekers
Upgrading to a paid account will allow you to post a Job Seeker Badge, which looks like a briefcase next to your name, but there are some free strategies you can use as well. Under the communications section of your profile, select the types of messages you are willing to receive. This will allow you to include what you’d like to be contacted for on LinkedIn
Just make sure that career opportunities is checked off!
Think of LinkedIn as an extension of your professional life. Follow these quick steps to put your best foot forward, and you’ll be well on your way to success using LinkedIn.
Do you have any tips to add for success on LinkedIn? Share in the comments.
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