Completing Your Linkedin Profile

April 2, 2012
How to complete your LinkedIn profile

How’s your LinkedIn profile looking these days? If you’re like most people, it’s a little sparse. But LinkedIn is becoming the place to make business connections, hire top talent, and brand your company as the best in your field. Here’s how to make sure your personal profile is working for, not against, you.

Basic info

Photo

People want to connect to and interact with a person, not a placeholder image. Make sure you upload a photo that is:

  • Of yourself - Don’t use a logo or picture of your dog.
  • Current - Make sure the photo was taken in the last two or three years. If you’ve experienced some big changes (weight/loss or gain, hair color change, etc.) more recently than that, use a photo that reflects that change.
  • Appropriate - Your connections are professional ones, and probably don’t care to see a photo of you drinking a beer (even if you own a brewery).
  • Sized correctly - Any picture bigger than 100x100 pixels will be cropped. Use LinkedIn’s photo cropping feature (or a program like Photoshop) to make sure your photo looks its best. Zoom in close to your face so users can clearly see who you are.

Name, headline, and location & industry

Include your full name, headline (i.e., CEO Acme Industries, Experienced Web Designer, etc.), location, and industry. This gives people a quick snapshot of what you do.

Summary

The summary section is a place for you to talk about your current position, professional experience and goals, and any specialities you may have. Imagine that someone has asked you, “What do you do now, and what career goals do you have?” and write your answer here.

Experience

Like on a traditional resume, this section is where you list your previous and current positions.

  • List only the jobs you’ve had in your ideal field. If you want to be hired as a social media expert, don’t list that year you spent working for an ice cream shop. If you’re just starting out in the workforce, use this space to list volunteer and/or any other work that may apply to your ideal job.
  • For each position you list, emphasize the value you’ve brought to the company. Don’t just list your tasks and responsibilities.

Skills and expertise

Beef up your profile by adding your skills. Not only is this great for SEO, but it gives people a quick overview of your competencies. You can add up to 50 skills, but don’t add anything in which you’re not well versed. Nothing brings a job interview to a screeching halt like the interviewer’s discovering you fudged some details on your profile.

Education

Use this section to list schools you’ve attended, degrees you’ve pursued, and any additional activities and honors you received while there.

Additional information

Add a link to your business blog, personal website, or Twitter account, and list some of your interests.

Personal information

Add your phone number, address, Instant Message handle, birthday, and marital status. None of these items is required, so leave the field blank if you don’t want to include it.

Contact you for...

Are you interested in consulting offers but not job offers, or career opportunities but not reference requests? Use this section to let people know what you’re interested in connecting with people to discuss.

Go the extra mile

Once you’ve got the nuts and bolts of your profile in, it’s time to add the bells and whistles.

Applications

LinkedIn has a handful of applications (or apps) you can add to your profile to make it a bit more dynamic. Embed presentations from SlideShare, use the My Travel app to see where your connections are traveling, or connect your blog to your profile.

Recommendations

Ask your connections to write recommendations for you. These recommendations are posted to your profile and act as testimonials for your previous and current work.

Status updates

Use the “Post an update” field to share articles and other content and show people viewing your profile that you’re keeping abreast of the latest industry news. Comment on the articles your connections share, and respond to anyone who comments on yours.

Groups

With over a million LinkedIn Groups from which to choose, there’s something for everyone. Join groups related to your industry—or groups in which your target audience participates—and join the conversation. Give advice and be helpful.

Final thoughts

As with all articles on social media, this one hits the high points. There’s lots more sections you can add (like Certifications, Languages, Patents, and Publications) that will personalize your profile and showcase your business and personal brand. Investigate what others are doing, mix and match, and make the profile that’s just right for you and your business.

More on LinkedIn and branding

[Image: nan palmero]