LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the social media space, with over 400 million subscribers and a goal of reaching the approximately 3.3 billion people in the global workforce. For those new to LinkedIn or looking to improve their profile, here are some tips.
LinkedIn photo and headline
Since your photo and headline follow you around LinkedIn and elsewhere, you want a picture that projects a professional image. In other words, probably not the one you have on Facebook. Your headline should reflect how you want to be viewed by the LinkedIn community as a personal brand. It should include keywords describing the problem you solve, what makes you unique and any proof you can provide. You can use your current title if you are employed, but also mention what you most want to be known as – Author, Project Management Expert, Intellectual Property Legal Expert and so forth.
This should be a synopsis of what you have to offer your target audience and why you are different from your would-be competitors. Make sure you mention your selected keywords, relevant industry terms and use descriptive adjectives to explain what makes you special. You have up to 2000 characters of space available to use in your summary.
In this section you can list your work experience in reverse chronological order. Focus on your accomplishments rather than simply listing your duties in each position. Use your resume as a reference for this section, however, you can add more of your personality here.
You have up to 1,000 characters of space available under each position you list in the Experience section. Make sure to use the keywords you want to be found for in your description of each position.
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to collect and showcase recommendations about your work for each position you list under your Experience section. You can also simply list all of your recommendations in one section if you choose. Recommendations are an often overlooked, but powerful tool to help build your credibility with viewers of your Profile. In addition to the text of the Recommendation, a photo of the person recommending you appears right next to it.
It is a good idea to call or email the person you would like to recommend you before sending them a request through LinkedIn. You must be directly connected with them on LinkedIn in order for them to recommend you.
LinkedIn allows you to invite those in your email address books to connect with you. You can do this in bulk for everyone in each address book or select those to whom you want to send invitations.
When someone connects with you they become a 1st level connection and you can see all of their connections (unless they have this capability blocked). This gives you a chance to see who you may want to connect with in their sphere of influence. You can request that your 1st level connections give you an Introduction to any of their 1st level connections, which is one of several ways to make new contacts.
LinkedIn offers many other capabilities which will be discussed in future blog posts. At a minimum make sure that your photo, headline, summary and experience are in place before you start making connections beyond those already in your email address books.