How to Build a LinkedIn Profile

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Social media’s growing role in business requires that every professional create and manage an online presence for both personal and professional promotion. Put your best foot forward on LinkedIn using some simple tips that will keep your profile working toward your goals even when you’re sleeping.

  1. Use your full name. In LinkedIn, you are given the option to only show your first name and last initial. What if there are 20 Mary L.’s on LinkedIn? It’s best to show your full name, making it easier for people to find you. You are on LinkedIn to network and make connections, and maybe find a job. Make your profile easy to locate.
  2. Always have a picture. Like all social media sites, there are fake profiles on LinkedIn. To make sure those searching for you know your profile is the real deal, use a photograph of you that is professional, but shows your personality. One in which you are dressed in business casual attire is a good idea. Choose a picture with only you and, if possible, one that is close up so others can clearly see your face.
  3. Don’t use your title as your professional headline. Instead, use this space to highlight your experience and talents. Your title at your current job will appear elsewhere, so there is no need to list it twice.
  4. Include your location and the industry you are in or the industry in which you would like to work. When recruiters are looking for prospective employees, they search by these criteria. Let them know you are a good fit.
  5. Have an elevator pitch summary. Tell us what’s great about you, but do it concisely. You will have plenty of room to give all the details from your positions in the “Experience” section. Think of this as the back of a book—you want to entice those looking at your profile to keep reading.
  6. Make sure you fill out the description for every position you list. If a recruiter is looking at your profile (and trust me, they are), they want to know all the great things you’ve done. This is your opportunity to be as detailed as you would like; but remember: you want to keep their attention. People love lists, so list your responsibilities and duties. It makes them easy to scan.
  7. Ask colleagues for recommendations. Don’t be shy about asking those you’ve worked with for recommendations. Before asking them, write a recommendation for them first. Show them you are willing to give them the credit they deserve as well. Recruiters like to see recommendations because they show that others are willing to endorse you.
  8. Fill out your expertise profile. In the “Skills & Expertise” section of your profile, you can list all your skills. You can put as many as you would like, so don’t limit yourself. This is another great place for endorsements and recommendations.
  9. Fill out your education. Make sure to put your education on your profile—it matters to employers.
  10. Fill out the “Additional Info” section. Here, you can share some personal details, let people know how you prefer to be contacted, and showcase some of your best projects. This could include publications, memberships, and languages. You can also add honors and awards, test scores, college courses, patents, certifications, and volunteer causes.

Once you have updated your profile, don’t just let it sit there. Share it with those you work with. Be active and participate in groups, and share some insights or articles you have enjoyed. Like any other social media outlet, you will get as much out of LinkedIn as you put into it; so, invest some effort and watch your profile work to help you achieve your goals.

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