LinkedIn for beginners: Creating & optimizing your profile

Posted by Faye on September 16, 2011 in Marketing & Social Media, The Social Networks |

Whether you’re just starting out in your career, changing your career, or looking for new business, having a LinkedIn profile can greatly improve your chances of getting hired or meeting new clients. In a previous post I mentioned 5 reasons you should be on Linkedin.

Sign up for a free profile at http://www.linkedin.com. All that’s required is your name, email address, and a password you create. Watch this quick video to get started.

Quick tips for creating your LinkedIn profile 

Click on image to enlarge

  • Use a professional-looking photo. It doesn’t have to be professionally taken, just professional looking — a head shot is fine. Don’t use a photo with you & your kids, your pets, a logo, or graphic. You’re a professional here. This isn’t Facebook.
  • Work history. Put your work history in the appropriate place. If you’re a baby boomer or older Gen X’er, you needn’t provide your entire work history — the past 10-15 years is sufficient.
  • Education. This is where you show off those degrees. Leave off the graduation year if it ages you.
  • Websites. Display your company’s website, your personal website or your blog. Instead of just “blog,” put the name of your blog. LinkedIn allows you to have up to 3 sites listed on your profile.
  • If you have a Twitter profile you can add it to your LinkedIn profile (which doesn’t count as one of the three sites). Adding a Twitter account is done on the settings page.
  • Personal interests. Do you have hobbies or interests outside of work? List them here. Do not put personal information such as your address and phone number.
  • Claim your vanity URL. Instead of the gobbledygook that typically follows your name, change it to a custom URL so it reads “www.linkedin.com/in/yourcustomname.” Put it on your business cards and make it easy for potential clients or employers to find you. Go to Settings –> Helpful Links –> Edit your public profile.

 Your settings

The settings page is where you can control who can view your public profile, as well as adjust preferences and privacy settings. Your settings are located in the drop-down on the top right under your name.

(Click on image to see larger view)

 Your summary and specialties

This is not only prime real estate on your profile, but the place where you can brag about your skills and experience. Use it wisely. (I prefer to use the space for my personal thoughts on social marketing). You can write it in 1st or 3rd person, but be consistent.

As you write your summary, use appropriate keywords to describe your skills and specialties. These keywords are what will get you found in searches on LinkedIn. You never know who might be looking for your particular talents — your next employer or your next client.

In an upcoming post I’ll review the apps that LinkedIn offers to enhance and add value to your profile.

Do you have any comments or questions about setting up your profile? Post them below and I’ll answer each one. Have you already set up your profile? Post the link here!



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