With over 300 million users, Linkedin is a very powerful social media platform when it comes to business networking and recruitment, offering many features to raise your professional profile and connect with people in your field of expertise.
From my personal experience, when I am in the process of selecting a partner, consultant or participant for specific activities, taking a look only at their CV is not enough. Very often (or I would rather say always!), I would go one step ahead and check their professional profile on Linkedin. And interestingly, what I find there is very much helpful in making a decision.
I believe that today your Linkedin profile is your professional identity and it’s a must to have it updated and customise it in such a way that it reflects YOU.
Here are my two cents for updating your Linkedin profile with the right information and making use of the different features that it offers:
1. Creating your “Public profile URL”
But this does not look very nice if we have to share it with someone or add it on our business card. Edit your profile, and customize your public profile URL (found underneath your profile picture) to this format: linkedin.com/in/FirstNameLastName
2. Upload a profile picture
Some people do not like uploading their picture on Linkedin, but it is recommended that you have one (of yourself). Remember to keep your photo professional, close-up and smile!
3. Avoid spelling and grammatical errors
You should take your Linkedin profile as a website, and keep it free from spelling and grammatical errors. Before uploading information on your Linkedin profile, you can write it on a word document, where you can check for errors and also make use of bullets.
4. Professional Headline
When Linkedin members see your profile, the first thing that will attract their attention is your professional headline, which is by default your current position and the organisation you are working for. But you can change the headline to something like “ICT4D expert with 20 years experience….”. It all depends on who you want to reach and what they need to know about you.
5. Professional Summary
Your professional summary should reflect your skills and expertise very clearly, and it should have your personal touch (without too much exaggeration!). You can write your goals or objectives, followed by your specialties. Keep it short and concise.
6. Juice up your “Experience” section
“Experience” is not your resume. Make sure the jobs you choose to list support each other and put all your keywords in the title section.
7. Skills and expertise
Adding your skills and expertise to your Linkedin profile allows your connections to endorse you. Endorsements from each of your contact will add up on your profile and with time, your top skills and expertise will stand out.
8. List your “additional education”
List your certifications and licenses as well as traditional education. LinkedIn has now added new sections where you can list areas of expertise, publications, patents licenses and certifications.
9. Add your projects
For each of the work experience that you have listed on your Linkedin profile, add the projects on which you have worked. Linkedin also allows you to list the people with whom you have worked with on the projects.
10. Join strategic groups, companies or pages
If you are interested in specific topics, organisations etc, join groups, companies or pages related to your interests to be updated on news and opportunities. Joining Groups, companies also enables you to connect with professionals, start a discussion and contribute!
11. Get recommendations
For the work experience that you have added to your profile, make sure to get a recommendation. Having a recommendation on your Linkedin profile is a great way to reflect your professional experience and relationship with your colleagues or employer.
12. Add link to your website and social media pages
If you have a website, blog, or an account on other social media platforms (Twitter, Slideshare etc.), link them to your profile. This will direct your contacts to any other activity you want to share with them on other platforms.
These are just basic steps to have a professional and functional Linkedin profile. There are many more features that can be explored, but these are the minimum to get going. With its high level of search engine optimization, your LinkedIn profile can be found by most who conduct a web search on you. Hence it is important to feed your Linkedin profile with the right information and keywords!
I hope these are useful. Any other thing you would like to add? Feel free to drop a comment! 🙂
Photo Credit: Nederlanse social media academie