Maximize your LinkedIn Profile

With over 116 million users, LinkedIn is still part of the big three (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and a great way to build your professional network.  LinkedIn is a social networking site designed to bring professionals together in one place.  It is a great way to get connected to people in your area, profession, or similar interests.  Here are a few steps to getting your profile looking great and getting it noticed!

Name and Picture.  When you type in your name, capitalize the first letter of your first and last name!  I have seen it time and time again where people do not capitalize their name.  This looks extremely unprofessional and lazy.  You do not want that to be the first impression people get of you from your LinkedIn Profile.  Next step, add an image. You want people to know you are serious about your networking.  When people do not see an image, they tend to not want to connect.  You have a profile picture up on Facebook, you should also have one here.  Make sure the picture you choose is professional looking, not one you took of yourself in your bathroom mirror (i.e. Common Facebook profile pictures).

Headline.  When you write your headline, make sure it is something that describes you best.  Mine, for example, is “Owner-Fresh View Concepts- Graphics and Consulting”.  I wanted people to know about my business first hand and what type of business it is.  Your job title and probably the company you work for are the best for the headline, so it is easy for people to find you when searching LinkedIn.

Summary and Specialties.  This is a very important section.  This gives you the opportunity to tell people who you are and what you are capable of.  This is best written in first person, and actually writing it yourself is always a plus.  Third person summaries are becoming a thing of the past.  In the specialties section, put all the things that you are best at in this section.  An example would be- if you are a web designer/developer, you may want to put:   HTML, CSS, PHP, DHTML, XHTML, MySQL, RSS, SEO, XML, Adobe CS5, WordPress CMS, Ecommerce, osCommerce, Open Cart, Joomla, Drupal. This way when people need someone for a specific job, they will know you are qualified.

Work History.  Be specific, especially if you are using LinkedIn to find a job!  Put your company name, years you worked, and what you did while you were there.  I have seen tons of profiles with incomplete work history and I definitely take that into account if I want to connect with them or not.

Education.  Flaunt that degree, you worked hard for it! If you did not go to college, put down your certifications, awards, or anything else that shows you are good at what you do.  People connecting with you or possible employers like to see that you have extended yourself beyond “self-taught”.

Add Twitter and your website.  Add your twitter account to your profile, so your connections know where else to find you.  Adding your website, especially if you own a business, is a great way to capitalize on new leads.  You can customize your website links within add website box by checking the “Website: Other” and typing in the title of your website.  I have also added My Blog to this list.

Add your Blog feed.  If you blog, let your LinkedIn connections know about it!  You can add this by clicking “Add Application” and simply typing in your blog’s URL.  This is just another way to get exposure for your blog!

Connections and Recommendations.  Now you are ready to start adding connections.  LinkedIn lets you search your current email contacts, and also gives you a list of people you might know.  Do not be afraid to introduce yourself to people you do not know, but you feel may be a great connection to have!  Once you have a few connections, ask for recommendations!  These are a great way for other people to know that your connections think you do a great job!  The more you can get the better!   This is a great way for business owners to show they do great work and have great customer service!

There is so much you can add to you LinkedIn profile, so dig into it and see what else you can add to make your profile describe you best!  Feel free to take a look at my profile and contact me if you would like help setting up your own profile!