By now, you’ve probably heard of LinkedIn. It’s a social networking site used for business. LinkedIn reported over 175 million registered users as of June 2012. That’s a lot of potential connections. If you’re a working professional or job searching, having a presence on LinkedIn is essential. Although LinkedIn offers a premium membership with lots of special services, the free basic version is a great way to begin.
Once you become a member, setting up your profile is your first priority. Your profile conveys who you are, establishes your personal brand identity and builds credibility. Think of it as the digital version of your resume – only customized for Google searches by like-minded professionals, recruiters and potential employers.
In Part I of this post, I’ll provide the first two of five tips to make your profile shine:
1) Upload a professional picture of yourself.
The first impression people form of you on LinkedIn will stem from the image you choose for your profile. A photo provides that personal connection. Take advantage of the opportunity to show you are a professional. Dress in the clothes you would wear for an interview, pay attention to personal grooming (get that updated hair cut) and get someone to take a nice picture of you. If you have the resources, visit a portrait studio or, for a low cost option, check out Sears, JC Penney, and other large stores which may have in-house photo studios and offer portrait packages for a reasonable price. Coupons abound in the newspaper and online. Make sure you tell the photographer you need a digital copy of your photo to post online to LinkedIn.
2) Create a “searchable” title.
Don’t just use your business card title – include descriptive words that capture the professional expertise you offer. Recruiters and future employers are trying to fill needs and you want to position yourself as someone who can take charge and provide a solution. Your profile will be found based on keyword search terms so take advantage of the opportunity to provide plenty of descriptions. You can provide multiple terms separated by commas. For example: when I search on “Engineer” on LinkedIn, the first entry is Anthony Fasano, P.E. who defines himself as “Executive Director, Engineer, Professional Speaker for Engineers, Bestselling Author.” Anthony’s profile is very robust and is a good model for those interested in improving their own LinkedIn profiles.
Stay tuned for three more tips in the next blog post.
What’s your advice for standing out from the crowd on LinkedIn?
Audrey Caldwell, MBA
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications