LinkedIn can seem like the slightly nerdy older sister in the social media landscape. You know she’s pretty handy. You know that time spent in her company would be well spent. But, let’s face it, she’s just not as fun as some of her social media mates. But that doesn’t mean she should be neglected.
LinkedIn is more than a place to digitally park your CV and be on your way. It can be used as an online showcase of your work. You can use it to grow your professional network by understanding who within your circle is connected to whom. Professionals and businesses alike use LinkedIn to publish information about what they are up to – it’s a one-stop-shop to stay on top of what’s happening. Through recommending the people you know and their skills you can build others up. And if you’re still not convinced of the power of LinkedIn: Google search your name. If you have a LinkedIn account it’s likely be among the first page of results.
Here are five ways to spend a bit of time with LinkedIn and polish your profile.
- Update your photo. If you don’t have a photo linked to your profile take a moment to set one up. A shadow woman does not make you look like a mystery wrapped in an enigma. It looks like you don’t care. Your photo should be up to date. Here’s the litmus test: if someone checked your LinkedIn profile before meeting you for the first time, would they be able to pick you out in a coffee shop? Your photo should project what you are all about right now. Maybe don’t use the professional head shot taken at the job you left ten years ago.
- Give yourself a vanity URL. Under your photo (because I assume you have one now) you will see your LinkedIn URL. When you hover just to the right of it, a small settings icon will appear. Click on that icon to edit your public settings. On the right hand side you can change your URL so that it reflects your name, rather than your name plus a series of numbers and letters.
- Make sure you are visible. On the same page, you can see what you are revealing to the general public (i.e. people you aren’t connected to). You can control what is publicly visible. I don’t see any real reason to keep LinkedIn information private. Keep it as open as possible. You can check to see exactly how your profile looks publicly and to your connections by using the view profile as feature.
- Update your summary and professional headline. Both of these things appear at the very top of your profile and are the things most likely to be read. Your professional headline can be more than just your job title – you can include a call to action and/or a bit about yourself. Although you are limited to 120 characters, your summary is your chance to introduce yourself. Use the first sentence to convey how you might help the person who has looked up your profile. Your summary should reflect your brand. If it suits, feel free to be chatty. You can even use emoticons if you want (on Safari, go to Edit > Emoji & Symbols or just send yourself an email from your phone and then cut and paste the emojis).
- Set up a cover image. You can add a cover image to your profile by clicking on ‘edit background image’ (just above your photo). You can check out free image sites like pexels.com to find something that reflects you. This is another tool to convey who you are and make your profile stand out.
If you have ten social media minutes free in your day why not give yourself a LinkedIn make-over? I guarantee it will lead to more opportunities than scrolling through your Facebook feed!