LinkedIn is a professional social networking site. It is similar to FaceBook, but it is for professionals to connect, do business, for employers to view applicants, and for applicants to view profiles of employees and companies they are investigating for a potential job.
I have viewed LinkedIn profiles in various stages of development. The more developed a profile is, the more likely it is to attract others to gain connections either for jobs or for business purposes. Recruiters, potential business partners, customers, and others looking to connect with like-minded individuals look through thousands of LinkedIn profiles every day. Don’t you want them looking at yours, too?
I used Developing in the title of this post because your LinkedIn profile should be an ongoing process, not just a one-time thing. Just as you update your resume (hopefully), you should also update your professional social network.
I do not subscribe to the premium version of LinkedIn, so this is what it looks like using a free account.
Here are a few tips to filling in a LinkedIn profile.
Add a picture – more profiles are viewed when a picture is included. The picture can be anything you’d like, just ensure it is a professional picture (this isn’t FaceBook).
Name – ensure your name is how you want it to appear. You can add your degree abbreviations after your name as I have).
Job title – this is where you add your current job title. If you are not currently employed you can either put your desired job title, or you can put that you are currently seeking employment. I recommend putting your desired job title as it looks a bit more professional.
Area / Industry – enter in the area you either live or are seeking work in and the industry you currently work in, or the industry you are looking for a position in.
Previous and Education – these sections will fill themselves in when you enter information in to the rest of your profile.
This section is for a brief summary of your professional background, accomplishments, and strengths. I have viewed profiles where this section is very brief (a couple of well-written sentences), and I have viewed profiles where this section is extremely in depth, and pretty much everything in between. My recommendation is to include highlights of your professional background and accomplishments as well as a list of your strengths. Creating a list of items makes this section easier to read than paragraphs.
This section is where you will enter your employment history. Be as thorough as possible with your title, the company name, the dates that you work(ed) with the company, the area, and a brief summary of your responsibilities and accomplishments. You have the ability to add the logo for the company if it is available as well.
With each job you post you have the ability to add projects or pieces of your work. Please don’t add anything that is confidential. I don’t have any projects or pieces of work that aren’t confidential, so I created PowerPoint presentations that outline the different areas I was involved in with the company and my general responsibilities within each area. This will give potential employers more information, if they choose to view.
Later in this post we will look at adding your education. Once you have added your education you are able to add specific courses you took while studying for that degree. I don’t recommend adding all of the classes you took, but a few that are pertinent to your business goals are good. For some reason this section appears before the education section.
You can add skills that you perceive you are good at. Things like: operation, customer service, team building, and sales management. You have the ability to recommend your connections for their skills, and they have the ability to recommend you in return. I suggest recommending others for their skills, especially those you know, as they will likely return the favor. Doing this periodically can increase your top skills on your LinkedIn page.
This is where you will enter in your education – earned and still-in-progress degrees. Be sure to include any activities or societies that you were or are a part of during while earning that degree.
Additional Info Section:
This section includes a couple of different details you can fill out. First is the Interests section – include any interests, hobbies, or accomplishments that you feel would be pertinent to a professional viewing your profile. These can include professional associations you are involved with, volunteer work, certifications that are not related to your education, etc. The second is the Personal Details section – you can choose whether you include things like your date of birth and your marital status. The third section is Advice for Contacting [you] – this is where you can let individuals who view your profile can see how you prefer to be contacted. Not everyone will look at this section before reaching out to you, but some will.
Honors & Awards and Additional Organizations Sections:
These sections are meant to promote you – to help you brand yourself. Any honors and awards that you have received professionally or in an educational setting should go here. If you are a part of any organizations, professionally or educationally, put it/them here.
This section will appear once others have provided recommendations for you through LinkedIn. Some individuals you have or currently do work with may provide these without asking; however, in my experience, this is rare. To obtain recommendations you will usually need to request someone to write a recommendation for you. I recommend voluntarily writing a recommendation for someone and then requesting one in return from them, rather than just requesting one. Also, make sure you only request recommendations from individuals who have personal knowledge of your work.
You have the ability to join groups on LinkedIn. Some groups allow you to join them without waiting for approval from a group administrator, but some do require approval. You may receive requests to join groups and you can search for groups that may interest you. I recommend only joining groups that you are interested in or have an affiliation to. For example, I have been in the telecommunications industry for several years, so I am a part of several retail and wireless groups. Once you join a group you can go into the group, view discussions, and contribute to the discussions. You will also have the ability connect with like-minded individuals through the group.
Influencers and News Sections:
You also have the ability to follow people, news profiles, and companies that interest you or who post interesting articles that you want to keep tabs on. When you follow someone, just like on FaceBook, these items come up in your news feed.
There is a lot of information that you can provide on your LinkedIn profile that can help individuals and companies determine whether they want to interview you for a job or do business with you. Ensure that the information you include in your profile is relevant to your professional life and that you would want to share with your employer, future employer, or potential client or business partner.
If you have additional questions about setting up a complete LinkedIn profile, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.