As you'll learn in these LinkedIn Profile tips, this social networking site is a bit different from some of the others. This is the one to really let the business world know that you are serious about your business and just who you are. It has become the business to business social networking option. On LinkedIn you can connect with other professionals and business people you know (and who know you) and through them, create an awareness of your business plus develop leads and traffic.
Whether you’re looking for work, want to network for increased sales or career opportunities, or wanting to put your new business on the map, these LinkedIn profile tips will help you create and maintain a professional appearance.
(Read the tips here about the importance of using LinkedIn for a job search.)
Why does it matter? Setting up a LinkedIn profile that is professional in appearance is the first thing that will attract the kind of notice you want to achieve your business aims. You might be casual on Facebook, but if you want to really sell yourself and/or your business on LinkedIn, you must be professional in how you present yourself. Consider your profile on LinkedIn as your resume. Make it shine.
With these LinkedIn Profile tips you'll start building the reputation you desire as you set up your LinkedIn profile for maximum effect.
When it is set up correctly, your profile can actually help you connect at a deeper level. It can become a handy tool to make sure you are found in more searches – and presented, snapshot-style, in your best light.
Step 1. Register for LinkedIn
The first part is simple enough. Go to LinkedIn.com and enter your contact information.
Once you’ve done this, and chosen a password, press the green “Join Now” button.
The next page will produce a window populated with the email address you signed up with. Change it if you prefer; otherwise, enter your email password so LinkedIn can search your address book for contacts already on LinkedIn.
(Note: You can skip this step if you’d prefer to add people manually.)
A popup will search your contacts and offer you the results. If you don’t want to include people found in the search results, uncheck them; otherwise press the teal-blue “Add Connection(s)” button.
Add additional connections LinkedIn finds from other institutions, email addresses and sources.
LinkedIn offers you the chance to invite contacts not yet on LinkedIn to join you there.
Step 2. Create Your Profile
Once you have finished adding all your connections and inviting those not yet on LinkedIn, you’ll be invited to start filling in your profile. Make it detailed.
First, think carefully of the people who you would like to impress the most. Are they:
Industry or niche movers and shakers?
A mix of the above?
LinkedIn Profile Tip Highlight: Whatever your mix or group, don’t just randomly enter data. Instead, think about which answer option your chosen group would like to see the most and optimize your profile.
As you fill in the fields on the web form, new fields relevant to the
last one filled in may or may not open up.
Just add relevant data, keeping your target reader in mind.
(And think about those you don’t want to connect with, too!)
When you have finished entering your basic data, press the teal blue “Create Profile” button.
You will immediately be asked to check the email address you signed up with and confirm that you did indeed wish to join LinkedIn.
Go to your email account, select the confirmation email and click on the link contained within.
You will be taken back to this screen. Either skip this step or enter the requested data and press “Continue”. Since we entered our email contacts earlier, we are going to skip.
You will receive a Welcome email from LinkedIn. You can choose to add more contacts at this time… or add them later.
Select those you wish to contact and connect.
You will be taken back instantly to LinkedIn to add a personal message in your invitation.
LinkedIn Profile Tip Highlight:
DO NOT SKIP PERSONALIZING THIS MESSAGE. It is considered very bad form on LinkedIn to leave the default message, when sending invitations.
LinkedIn will then offer – you guessed it – more invitation opportunities. When you are done, go to your Profile and either view it or edit it, straight away.
When you are ready to Edit your Profile, be sure to update as many slugs as possible. The more you fill in, the more weight and authority your LinkedIn Profile will carry.
Step 3. Optimize Your Profile
Here’s where the real fun begins: Making sure your Profile stands out.
LinkedIn Profile Tip Highlight: Do Not Lie – this is just not tolerated among professionals.
Start by adding your current head shot. You can either click on the Photo slug… or select the little camera icon on the blank photo mockup to add your preferred Profile photo.
Use a current photo. Make sure the quality is professional, and that it conveys everything you want it to convey. When they look at your Profile photo, people checking out your Profile should feel that they are seeing the real you – that you are connecting with them – so choose a photo where you are looking them directly in the eye in a friendly yet professional manner.
You will be able to drag your photo to the correct position, so don’t worry too much about photo size. Keeping it under 500 pixels wide is quite adequate for a more than satisfactory picture quality with fast load time.
If you are looking to attract clients or employers, make sure you set your Profile photo to be visible to everyone.
Then press “Save Settings”.
Below your photo, you will be able to scroll down and discover other slugs you can edit. Whenever you see the little blue pencil icon or a blue “+” sign, it’s editable.
Start with your Summary. This is your chance to really present yourself in a great light.
LinkedIn Profile Tip Highlight: Remember that LinkedIn is searchable, so do include keywords your target audience might use, when looking for contacts.
LinkedIn Profile Tip Highlight:
Your Summary is the most important slug to complete. Here are seven tips to take your Summary from average to exceptional:
1. Write your Summary in advance, taking the time to proof it and let it gel.
2. Re-read it again - after an interval of at least a couple of hours. You may find it surprising how awkward phrases jump out at you or rearrange themselves neatly in your head; how many spelling mistakes you catch and how many important points you can add, substitute – or that you missed including.
3. Break it up with sub-heads and include graphics.
4. Focus on turning it into a mini-story – not a list of achievements.
5. Don’t use jargon – and take out every word that distracts or weakens. Look at this example: “renovated St. Mary’s Church” gives a much clearer visual than “fulfilled my client’s mandate to bring St. Mary’s, in the heart of historic Bishopton, forward from its antediluvian 19th century roots into the challenging pace of the 21st century.”
6. Consider the psychology of who you wish to reach: Potential clients who routinely handle millions of dollars are most concerned with efficiency and time-saving. Every second is usually packed with activity and every second is focused. Save the humor for a different demographic. And don’t spend three paragraphs talking about your NASCAR racing hobby if your demographic is all disabled seniors looking for someone to design ramps.
7. Don’t include irrelevant data – no matter how entertaining. Use your blog if you want to wittily talk about your early years as a Dog Food Tester: If you want to impress clients with your consulting skill in architecture, table the witty, quirky or just plain irrelevant stuff for now.
Get your bearings first and see who wants to connect with you – remember, this is the place where people veto even their best friends, if they think those friends won’t make them “look good”.
Write your Summary to appeal to your target audience. Write from the heart. Don’t worry about being perfect. Just do it.
(Worst mistake you can make? Leaving it blank!)
Fill out as much of your Profile as you can – every single slug. (Exception: Don’t include irrelevant, incongruous data in your “Experience”.)
Get a conversation going straight away. Post a short comment, link with personal comment or teaser question in the “Activity” slug.
View your Profile when you are finished editing. You will be able to see sections that need tweaking – and you can click on “Profile” in your menu bar and “Edit” any time.
(Note: LinkedIn will also prompt you with the “Improve My Profile” button or auto-suggestions, if it notices you’ve neglected certain areas.)
Remember that you can also upgrade to a Premium account, and take advantage of additional LinkedIn resources and features, such as the Profile Organizer.
When you are completely satisfied with your LinkedIn presence, then – and only then – you should share it with your Facebook and Twitter connections.
(Customize the “Share” message in the text area box too, if you can personalize it without losing the directness of the command.)
Congratulations! With these LinkedIn Profile tips you have made a great start in getting yourself out there in LinkedIn – and reaching the right audience.
Note: Review these LinkedIn Profile Tips often.
More suggestions on how to build a business or develop another income stream.
One of the most important things you can have for your business is a website that works for you. In just the same way that we explain in LinkIn Profile Tips, it is important to have a professional looking website. Unless you are a big business with a well staffed website department, you may have to do all this yourself.
Especially if you are starting out, where funds are limited, choosing a platform to advertise your business online (or create a new business) is one you need to give much thought to before you just jump in and do what you think everyone else is doing - they may have entirely different business goals than you.
If you're on this site, chances are like lots of our readers, you're looking for a way to either make the most of your current income or would like to increase your income - or both. Most of us are in the "both" category!
Here's what we suggest:
Want clear answers? Read on.
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