Using LinkedIn Effectively: Part 1 – Building Your Profile

LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool for professionals. With over 175 million members, it’s an excellent way to present yourself professionally, stay connected, build your network, and find new business opportunities.

Building your LinkedIn Profile Some people use it exclusively for job hunting, while others use it for keeping their business cards in order.   In this series of articles I’ll discuss the basics of LinkedIn, as well as some of the more advanced ways it can work for you.

To get started on LinkedIn you first need to create a free account and build out your personal profile which will look a lot like your resume.  Your profile will include your picture, a summary of your background, job experience, education, languages, skills, interests, organizations you belong to, as well as any personal details that you want to include. It will also include activity or messages that you post to LinkedIn. Because it has so many features, it’s so much more powerful than any resume you could ever send. And since it will be used by all of your connections, not just potential employers, you can include information that will be important to many different types of connections.

It’s important to build out every section of your profile in order to tell your story as fully as possible.  Even your picture tells a story.  For most users, it’s important to present a professional image that lets other people know more about who you are.  This generally will not be as casual or goofy as your Facebook photo which might only be viewed by a few friends. Stay away from pictures with animals, expensive yachts and bathing suits, unless that’s the story you want to tell. In this age of easy and inexpensive digital photography, a current “selfie” photo at your office might be better than a professional photo at a holiday event years ago.

Another important part of your profile is the summary.  It tells people who you are and what you are looking for.  If you are looking for a job, you can make that very clear in your summary.  If you are in business development, or an expert software developer, this is the place to make that clear and even give a few examples.  Keep in mind that this is a summary and resist the urge to make this lengthy in order to keep your readers engaged.

LinkedIn also lets you list a number of skills which will be very important later, so take the time to list as many

skills as you think are credible for you.

A great feature of LinkedIn is that it helps you build your profile with suggestions and it even tracks your progress and how your profile ranks in ‘completeness.’

If you take the time to build out a solid profile in LinkedIn, it will serve you in many ways for years to come.

Here’s a link to the full video from my LinkedIn Presentation.  http://youtu.be/Vx8oBSW7YKo

 

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