LinkedIn is a network that you should visit daily for professional development — whatever your employment status may be.
Is your LinkedIn profile ready to be seen by others? Here are ten suggestions to give you instant LinkedIn cred.
1. Upload a decent photo
Your LinkedIn profile photo sets the tone for everything else a viewer will experience on your page — just like match.com or Instagram. Except LinkedIn isn’t match.com or Instagram. It’s the world’s largest professional network. So that means:
- No blurry photos
- No photos of you cropped out of a group shot
- No photos of you at a ball park (unless you’re gunning to work for one)
- No avatars
- And for goodness sake, no selfies! (That’s mobile camera speak for self-portraits.)
If you don’t have money for a professional photographer, get a family member, roommate, or neighbor to take your photo against a solid colored wall. Try a few standing, then some sitting down. Get a few with a formal shirt, a few with a “business casual” top.
Or consider the low-cost approach I took: bartering with a photographer for your services or product. This was by far the best deal I made in my first year of business!
2. Your headline = you, not your job
The headline of your LinkedIn profile is highly searchable. I know that no one on LinkedIn (or Google for that matter) is looking for “founder of Sierra Tierra Marketing.” So I list something more search-friendly that speaks of what I do on a daily basis — and for which people may want to hire me. “Social media consultant specializing in analysis, strategy, and instruction. Author | Speaker | Educator” paints a much better picture of who I am and how I can help potential clients and agencies with social media marketing.
3. Make your summary shine
Don’t let the positions in the “Experience” section do all the talking about your professional abilities. Many recruiters and potential clients won’t take the time to scroll that far without incentive.
How have you excelled at your job? Why do you often get promotions? Why did that last person tap you on the back (or send you an email) with “NICE JOB!”? Find common traits and spell it out in the summary, preferably with numbers or percentages of related increases (of sales) or decreases (of expenditures).
4. Update your most recent job
Even if you’re not actively looking for employment, review what your most recent entry is under “Experience.” Do you have a new title? New responsibilities? A recent accomplishment that speaks of your professional prowess? Be sure to list those here.
5. Add visuals to your experience
LinkedIn allows you to upload images, documents, and videos to each job you list under “Experience.” Why not liven up that section with visuals that show the greatness of which you’re capable? If you’re a graphic designer, professional organizer, or landscape artist, show off your most stunning accomplishments. If you’re a storyteller, community activist, or professional athlete, use video to show your work in action.
6. Join more groups
At times LinkedIn might not seem like it, but it is considered by many to be a social network. Demonstrate your ability to network with like-minded professionals by joining LinkedIn groups. Look at your coworkers’ and competitors’ profiles to see which groups they’ve joined — pick the best of the bunch you find there.
7. Follow some influencers
By following LinkedIn “influencers,” you give viewers a sense of which thought leaders you respect — whether it be President of the World Bank Jim Kim, industrial psychologist Dr. Marla Gottschalk, or Nancy Lublin of DoSomething.org (or all three). Influencers regularly post to LinkedIn, so you’ll also be able to comment on and share articles that are meaningful to you.
8. Follow your own company
It’s surprising how many employees do not follow their own company’s page on LinkedIn. Where’s the company pride, people? Seriously, show that you’re a proud team player and affiliate yourself with your current employer’s page.
9. Select skills and expertise that you want to be endorsed for
There is a ton of controversy over the value of LinkedIn endorsements. But you know what? They’re here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. So use them to your advantage.
Make sure that you list only the skills for which you want to receive a thumbs up. Hide skills that will not speak well to the place you are now and the path you wish to follow in your career.
10. Edit your contact information
Did you sign up for LinkedIn with your work email address? Is that address still valid? It would be a shame for you to do the nine previous steps and then have a potential client or recruiter write to an outdated address.