LinkedIn is known as the social network for professionals to connect. You most likely have a LinkedIn profile, but how much are you using it? Have you thought about what your goal is for your presence on LinkedIn?
Do you use LinkedIn to connect to new people for leads, to find vendors, or perhaps to pad your network for your next potential job search? To ensure you are building the best network of connections on LinkedIn, there are certain tweaks you can make to your profile. Follow the checklist below to make your profile an effective resource for building your professional network:
- Is your profile picture a professional-looking headshot? One of the biggest mistakes is to have your company logo as your profile picture or leave it empty. Your profile picture does not have to be taken by a professional, but it should be a good headshot of you from the neck or shoulders up. You should be the only one in this photo; no pets or other people.
- Is your headline descriptive, detailed, and accurately reflective of you? Your headline should not just be your title. Add in other descriptive words so that people searching can make a better-educated decision about you and if they want to connect.
- Don’t skip the summary. The summary is a great opportunity to tell your connections about you. Don’t just list your current position; offer some more information about yourself. Include your traits, skills, and objectives or goals. Be sure to use descriptive keywords to help your profile show up in relevant searches.
- Did you choose a custom vanity URL for your LinkedIn profile? This helps you look more professional – LinkedIn.com/YourName looks much better on your resume than LinkedIn.com/YourName123456789.
- Have you added in at least your last three jobs? You can add more if you have had more than three jobs. If you are still in school or just out of college, you can include internships or part-time jobs you worked during school.
- Have you listed all of your educational background and included honors and awards you earned from your schools? This is important to employers or potential connections; they want to see how well you performed in school because it is an indicator of how well you will do in your profession.
- Check with LinkedIn’s progress meter. Make sure to fill in all of their suggested areas including languages, special projects, and volunteer work. This helps to better optimize your profile.
- Verify your public profile. Check to make sure that your public profile includes your name, picture, headline, and summary and that everything looks correct.
- Have you connected your new LinkedIn custom URL to your other social networks and listed it on your resume? Social networking will do more for you than you might think. Don’t discount the idea that your friends on other social networks won’t be good LinkedIn connections. Gather up as many connections as you can.
Much of the information on your LinkedIn profile is common sense. Think about when you look at the profiles of other potential connections – what makes you click “accept”? Does your profile have those same traits? Remember to continually update your LinkedIn profile with new information, skills, awards, honors, or jobs. The more often you can update your profile, the more exposure you will get to your network.
Getting the most out of LinkedIn
In order to get the most out of LinkedIn, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” Even the best profile can only get you so far because people have to see your profile in order to connect with you. Here are some extra tips for maintaining a good LinkedIn presence beyond just creating a great profile:
- Update your status regularly. The minimum number of status updates should be about three or four times a week. If you can post daily, or even multiple times a day, that is great; the more the merrier.
- Like, share, and comment on updates from your connections as often as possible. Each time you are on LinkedIn to post your update or make an adjustment to your profile, do a quick check of your stream and like, comment, or share some relevant and interesting posts from your connections.
- Join groups that are relevant to your profession and your interests. Participate in those groups, make comments, and create new conversations. This will give you access to new connections with similar professions and interests.
- Look for new connections and send invites with a personal message.
- Give recommendations and endorsements to your connections. Only give recommendations and endorsements for people you actually know and have worked with in order to verify the information. All too often connections just click the endorsement categories even if they never worked with the person. This is not a best practice.
- Ask for endorsements and recommendations from connections that you have worked with or gone to school with.
- Follow companies’ LinkedIn pages to stay connected and on top of their news.
Summary and Takeaways
LinkedIn can definitely be a useful tool for finding a job or just connecting with others to build your network. You might end up selling something to your network, or your network might have services that you are interested in. Building a great profile just takes a bit of effort, and then maintaining a presence on LinkedIn only takes a few minutes each week. The benefits from LinkedIn can be immeasurable, so allocate a minimal amount of time and you will see maximum impact.