LinkedIn is your resume. It’s your business infomercial. It’s where people go if they want to know what you have done and can do. Does your page effectively reflect who you are?
First a few statistics about LinkedIn.
- There are over 200 million users.
- 35% of LinkedIn users access the site daily.
- There are over 2.7 million LinkedIn business pages.
- 39% of LinkedIn users pay for the premium service (I am not one of them)
There are a number of basic things you can do to make sure your LinkedIn page has the basics you need.
Go to the Profile menu and select Edit Profile from the drop down menu to see what is currently in your profile.
Here is a short list of the key components.
- Make sure you have a good photograph. Consider spending money on a professional photo. Or at least get a shot of you at least 6 feet in front of a neutral background. Make sure that you are not backlight. Smile – think of someone you love and show the camera the love. The first impression is the photograph – make sure it is a good one.
- Make sure that you have a short, direct summary of your abilities and highlight the special skills that you have.
- Complete the experience section for at least the last ten years.
- In the Skills and Expertise section add at least everything that you listed in #2 above.
- List your educational level and any awards you received while in school.
- List your membership in any professional organizations.
- Edit your LinkedIn URL to give it a more professional look. Mine is www.linkedin.com/in/dougbartontx/. Previously it was something like www.linkedin.com/pub/doug-barton/0/459/a64/. You can find your URL directly under your photo. You can edit it there. Like me you can add your state where you were born to your URL or some other defining info in case your name is already taken.
- Go into your Contact Info (directly beneath the number of total connections you have in your network) and add any websites, your Twitter account, your IM account (i.e. Skype), etc. as appropriate for your needs.
- If you have a Twitter account you can feed your Tweets directly to your LinkedIn “Activity” section. In fact, you can feed Twitter from your blog (automatic updates) that then will feed your LinkedIn page: one post, three channels covered.
- Ask your LinkedIn connections to endorse you for those skills most important to you. The more connections you have the more endorsements you will receive, however, LinkedIn will randomly select those skills until a trend is established and then it will suggest that your connections endorse you for skills that have been endorsed previously by others in your network. If you are not careful then the skills you believe to be most important could get buried beneath other skills that are repeatedly thrown out for endorsements.
- Request “Recommendations” from previous supervisors, peers and employees. Try to get at least one recommendation for each one of your work positions. When you reach out to your connection send them a draft of the recommendation. By making it easy for them to edit and return to you it will really help increase the probability that you will get a response.
- Join groups that are appropriate for you. Do not hesitate to create a group if you think one is needed.
Always connect with people you meet. Use LinkedIn as your storage point for any connections you make in the business world. Use it like an online storage box for your business cards.
Do not connect with people you do not know. This is especially true if that person only has a few connections. These are attempts at spam – to connect a bogus account to your, real account, in an attempt to promote some other business.
If someone unknown to you attempts to connect and they appear legit then you can offer to talk to them for a few minutes over the phone. This will give you time to get to know them and determine how you can support them and how they can support you.
The main thing is to remember that your LinkedIn profile can be seen with anyone with an account. Hiring managers, prospective clients, and anyone else can review what you have said about yourself. Make sure you are proud of the content and that it is accurate.