I am a little biased to the writer’s point of view in this article as a trainer for Integrated Alliances on LinkedIn and other social media tools. LinkedIn as a business networking site has really gained momentum in the past 6 months. I would guess that it aligns with the increase in unemployed professionals across the country.
I run a couple of groups on LinkedIn, one for Alumni of the University of Rhode Island (my alma mater). In the past 3-4 months I have an average of 20 – 80 people joining my group each week. So while it is true that for your online reputation management and job search you should be on LinkedIn, I would recommend that you be on this — or any other business networking site– with a complete profile that is written with keywords in mind.
First impressions demand a complete social media profile
First impressions are created when anyone looks at your profile. If you are trying to build a solid network, how would it look with no picture, a generic, blase headline, and a one sentence past job and role descriptions? Here’s a few tips for you to get started on cleaning up your LinkedIn profile
Picture – Use a basic headshot picture from any digital camera, no professional help needed.
- A clean, white background is best.
- Do not use group photos or logo’s. No one will know which one your are.
- Upload up to a 4Mb file and the system has a cropping tool. The final picture is quite small – 80 x 80 pixels.
If you would like more advice on how to take a good profile photo consider this post on tips for headshots and photos
Headline – This is the most important section on your profile. On LinkedIn this field defaults to current job title at current employer. When you add or change the headline, it does not change the current job however. Use interesting, compelling, targeted keywords to attract interest. This is critical in attracting people to click through from search listings.
- Limited to 140 characters – use wisely.
- Search LinkedIn for the job title you are interested and consider who shows in the result page.
- Use the Google keyword tool if you don’t know what terms to use that fit your job interests.
Summary – Think of it as a brochure and a business Bio. Begin with how helpful you are to others, make people want to help you in return.
- Only include current and relevant information as this is a high-level overview.
- This is not an historical area unless the history remains part of the current and future.
- Formatting is limited to ALL CAPS, some special keyboard characters (~ > | #) and symbols that can be pulled in from Word (see above).
- You get 2,000 characters (about 2/3 of a printed page) to work with.
Specialties – While the Summary section is like a brochure, with complete sentences and fancy formatting, the Specialties section is a place that resembles a list – a list of keywords like in a Search Engine sense.
- Create a list of keywords, then look at the variations of these words and then look at synonyms and variants of the synonyms (see below).
- You have 500 characters to work with (about 2 paragraphs).
Experience (Work History) – What to include? How far to go back? What to say? The Best Practice is to include every employer since college. This creates more opportunities for you to create relationships with others.
- If you had multiple positions at a company, use the highest position held.
- Do NOT simply copy/paste in data from a resume.
- Use years only, no months needed.
- You get lot’s of space, 2,000 characters, so make use of it!
What to say? For each position, state the following:
- What does the company do?
- Who do they do it for?
- Where do they operate?
- What was your role?
- What made you special there?
You are competing with over 60,000 profiles on LinkedIn so do your utmost to make your profile get found in the crowd by recruiters, customers and vendors.
Do you have questions on how to improve your profile on LinkedIn? Please ask in the comments section, or connect with me on LinkedIn and reference this post. I will provide a free review and recommendation.
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