Whether you’re an entrepreneur seeking lucrative new partnerships or a skilled worker in search of the perfect job placement, LinkedIn is the social network you need to be using. As the world’s premier social network geared towards professionals from all walks of life, LinkedIn is effectively your online portfolio and résumé. Companies all over the world use it daily to seek out valuable new connections, but with some 350 million accounts on the network, it is important that you do everything you can to make your own profile stand out.
1. Use a Suitable Profile Picture
Your profile picture is one of the most important features of all and not only because it will be one of the first things that people see. On the Internet, it can sometimes seem hard to look human and stand out among the huge number of fake or spammy profiles on social media sites. A high-resolution portrait photo, preferably of a professional standard, simply makes you look more human. After all, human resources personnel searching through LinkedIn may encounter hundreds of profiles per day and they’re likely to completely ignore a profile without an image. Being visual creatures, people are also much more likely to remember you by your photo before they think about anything else.
2. Proofread Everything
LinkedIn is not Facebook, and it’s no place for inane, uninteresting and irrelevant updates littered with spelling and grammar errors. Think of your LinkedIn profile in the same way as you would think about a job application form or a résumé, and make certain to proofread everything before publishing it. Being a professional network, poor spelling and grammar will instantly turn prospective employers off. It is no place for lazy, shoddy writing, and you should maintain a professional yet engaging tone with perfect, error-free content.
3. Deactivate Your Activity Broadcast
If you’re using LinkedIn for job-hunting, you likely won’t want your current connections, customers, co-workers or superiors knowing everything about what you are doing. By default, the network will broadcast all of your activities to your connections. When you’re updating and tweaking your profile, you may also want to turn off your activity broadcast until everything is finished. You can temporarily turn off notifications by editing your profile page and moving the slider beneath “Notify your network” in the sidebar to the right. You’ll also be able to find a wider range of settings by navigating to “Accounts & Settings > Privacy and Settings”.
4. Give the Details
If there are any important fields in your profile that you have yet to fill out, LinkedIn will remind you about them. It is important to make sure that your profile is as complete as possible and even more important to keep it up to date with any new education or employment details. To increase your chances of making a great first impression, be sure to add an eye-catching headline and a short, concise summary. These snippets of information are usually the first things that people read, so take every step to make sure that they are good enough to encourage visitors to continue reading. While your headline should summarize your professional identity in just a few words, your summary serves to bring out your personality and provide an accurate overview of your profile.
5. Add LinkedIn to Your Emails and Website
Even by itself, LinkedIn is a great profile for advertising your skills and reaching out to prospective connections and potential employers or partners. However, it won’t do any harm to take a few additional steps to advertise your profile outside of the site. One of the easiest ways to promote your profile is to find a profile badge by navigating to linkedin.com/profile/profile-badges. Here, you’ll be able to choose from a list of badges that you can add to your website or email signature by using the code provided in the box to the right of the button preview. Anyone who sees the button will be able to click on it to be directed to your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile requires a degree of commitment whereby you regularly update it to reflect any changes in your line of work that might be relevant to potential connections or employers. You may also want to make use of additional sections, such as volunteering, publications and test scores, provided that they are relevant to your professional life. In conclusion, consider your LinkedIn profile to be part of an ongoing promotional process by adding content and optimizing it to attract the audience that you’re looking for.
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