Master LinkedIn with Your Professional Profile

 

Are you taking advantage of your LinkedIn profile? Sue Cockburn from Social Media Today describes LinkedIn as “one of the most important social networks for new and small business owners looking to build their reputation, brand awareness, influence and network of contacts, particularly for business-to-business companies and those whose clientele tend to be white-collar.” Whether you're a small business owner or white collar professional, start fresh this new year by updating your LinkedIn account and professional network. We've include a few tips below that will take your profile from good to fantastic.

  • Add a professional photo to your profile. Your profile photo visually distinguishes you as a qualified professional and immediately leaves a personable impression. Set yourself apart from other professionals by investing in a quality headshot.
  • Use industry-relevant keywords. When writing your profile, use as many keywords as possible. Don't be hesitant to repeat these keywords throughout your descriptive text. Other professionals and potential employers use these keywords to search through profiles on LinkedIn.
  • Update your LinkedIn headline and summary. Your 120 character headline should be a snapshot of your professional career, while your summary should go into further detail. Try to utilize appropriate keywords in both your professional headline and summary. After all, you want your profile to be industry-relevant and searchable! Write a short narrative for your summary and use a collection of descriptive words (i.e. Professional Writer | Social Media Consultant | Marketing Specialist) for your headline. Already have a headline and summary? Refresh your descriptions with new keywords.
  • Update your current positions. When's the last time you updated your current positions? Take a moment to add your new position or to include more job descriptors in your current position's summary. You should make sure your education, honors, and awards are all up-to-date as well. And remember to use those keywords!
  • Endorse and recommend other professionals. Spend a few minutes every other day endorsing and recommending other professionals in your network. They're likely to reciprocate! You can also use this time to add new professionals or companies to your network.
  • Make use of your LinkedIn status updates. Post a new status update to your LinkedIn profile at least once a week (or at the most once a day). Providing relevant content to your network not only encourages others to interact with you, but increasingly makes your profile more searchable on LinkedIn.
  • Add a personal touch when appropriate. While you want your LinkedIn profile to demonstrate your professionalism, you don't want it to be devoid of personality. Tell a story from your professional career in your summary or include some of your future goals. Don't be afraid to use the first person, either. “I” statements can be a powerful, humanizing narrative tool, which can make you appear more candid and more transparent to other professionals in your network.