Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Success

In the spirit of graduations that have launched recent graduates into the job market, we are providing insight into one of the professional-networking sites to have impacted the online community in the past decade.

Emerging in 2003, LinkedIn grew fast. Described as an online resume tool, this tool site helps individuals and professionals like yourself develop a personal brand. How do you want to be viewed? What is it that you wish to accomplish? How can an employer/company benefit with you in their team?

Keep in mind the following tips when editing or creating your LinkedIn profile.

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If you’re going to do something, put your best foot forward.

1. Have a finished profile. This means making sure it is 100% complete. Again, it is your online resume so be thorough. LinkedIn lets you know which sections are incomplete and once your profile is finished. For increased benefit, set your profile as public and claim a personal and professional URL. Although this is all online, employers want to know that they are connecting with a real person. Instead of a gray box, please have a profile picture. It leaves them with a visual and believe it or not, allows your profile viewers to develop trust in your qualifications but make sure it is a good representation of yourself. Avoid group shots, cropped photos and party photos.

Never underestimate the power of words.

2. Optimize your profile with SEO & keywords. LinkedIn allows you to list skills, list experience and more. Use this as an opportunity to employ keywords related to your experience and the field you are interested in working in. They should range from being broad to very targeted. What ranks the highest on this site are words found in your name, headline, job title, company name and skills. LinkedIn allows you to list 50 skills – use them all. Yes, there are searches that look for specific people and companies but keywords are also being searched for and sorted through by relevance. The goal is to boost your position in these searches so be smart.

3. Summary sells. Consider the summary section your cover letter, your elevator pitch and your chance to showcase your personality. Keep in mind the keywords that you use as well. You want to use this as your map to point viewers in the right direction of your profile. Tell a story, share your accomplishments and use headers to break up your summary into different sections. Once you have captured and maintained their attention, close them with a way to contact you. It is important to proofread! Don’t make any spelling or grammatical errors. This is your work being put to the test here, take care in creating it. 

After creation, remain engaged.

4. Linking and experience. Take advantage of cross-promoting opportunities. With LinkedIn, you can link the company you worked for or that you own with your work/volunteering experience. Do not rely on just this to make your experience section stand out. Typically, you do more than what your position describes. List the highlights of what you accomplished – Did you train others? What goals did you accomplish? Were you in charge of any projects?  Keep it brief for the purpose of efficiency.

5. Update, update, update. Now that you have set up your LinkedIn profile completely, keep tabs on it. It is important to increase your engagement in this site’s community. Your updates should be relevant to your field, your job or your search for employment in a particular field. It can be blog posts that you’ve written, relevant articles and accomplishments. Here the goal is now to be consistent and show up on news feeds. Feel free to begin conversations in LinkedIn groups and in your updates. Engagement requires a dialogue and for optimal success, LinkedIn should be used and checked as frequently as you check your Facebook.

6. Build and maintain connections. Who is relevant in the field of work that you are pursuing? These are the people you want to connect to. With a regularly updated profile, you can build influence with your connections to further benefit your professional career. Connections can also endorse skills that you may have which boost your legitimacy. When requesting connections, add a personalized note and thank them when they accept your invitation. It goes a long way and will separate you from the many users on LinkedIn not taking that extra step.

Of course, these 6 steps do not encompass the full potential of LinkedIn, yet they are the most crucial aspects of this particular social media network site that need to be attended to. Use this to land that job, reach out to a pioneer in your field and get noticed. Let us know how it goes!

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Victoria Wallace

Victoria is a writer, editor and the Content Manager. She loves blogging and just contributing amazing content online that can help people. She believes it can all happen one post at a time.

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