A LinkedIn profile is an effective tool in your armoury. It helps to build an online network, and this will be useful in many ways, not just job search, but also to extend your reach, develop new contacts who you may do business with.
Here are some simple steps to follow.
- The first thing you need to do is upload a photograph. This helps people to recognise and remember you. A close head and shoulders shot , similar to a passport photo, but perhaps a little more relaxed , looks most professional
- Develop your headline. You only have 120 characters, and you will insert your job title further down in current position, so don’t do that here. Words in the profile will be searched for, so use brief, descriptive, powerful words. So rather than Commercial Director, Smith Retail Stores, say Commercial Retail Expert.
- List your current position and ideally at least two previous positions. Use the same descriptive words as in your headline if possible .Describe your role for each position. This enables colleagues from former positions to locate and contact you.
- Complete the summary section of your profile. Write this in the third person to avoid using” I” repeatedly .Describe who you are, what you do and how you help people. Look at other people s entries to help get you started. Choose some you like and find powerful and emulate them.
- Fill in the specialities section. These are terms that will show up in search results, so this is a bit like choosing keyword for SEO –don’t use words that describe what you do. Instead choose search terms that you think people in your target market might use to find you, or search for background, experience, products and services. Words that describe your skills and expertise. E.g. for a retail background I might use, sourcing, negotiating, range development, product management, category management, Buying.
- Give and get some recommendations. You need at least three before your Profile is recognised by LinkedIn , so the best thing to do is connect with people you know and ask them
- Complete the interests, groups and associations section. This helps potential connections to form a picture of you, who you are and what your professional interests are. Join a few relevant groups. The terms in this section are hyper-linked and will take you to other users in the network who share these interests.
- You will be allocated a long URL, to avoid confusion with people of the same name. You can use the edit mode to customise it and make it shorter, more memorable and personal. This will also help to show up in search results on major search engines when someone searches your name
- Under the websites section you can list three URLs. Select the “other “option to set up the links. Describe them using relevant terms ., such as your business name or blog name .This helps to rank high for those keywords in search engines
- Add a Link to your twitter feed, if you have one. This is another way for people to connect to you.
- Make you profile publicly visible to everyone. Don’t use the restrict option in privacy settings. This gives you the highest visibility
Now you are ready to use LinkedIn to grow your network and your business