4 steps to make the most of your LinkedIn profile

4 steps to make the most of your LinkedIn profile

UPDATE: This article is now also available as a Slideshare!

Whether you’re looking to land your first job, a new job, or start a new business, LinkedIn is the place to be to establish your professional digital presence. It is the leading social media platform to connect with your colleagues, showcase your work experience and accomplishments, learn from prominent influencers in your industry, and publish your own updates and long-form posts to raise your profile.

Many know the basics of setting up their social media profiles, but here are a few lesser known tidbits that could help you reach your goals or put you over the top:

Cross promote your profiles

Too many people look at LinkedIn as an island, a place that is apart from the rest of their social media profiles. Potential employers are paying much more attention to your digital footprint, so you’re better off giving them a path to follow, instead of letting Google connect your personal dalliances to your professional persona.

LinkedIn gives you a few opportunities to include links to other platforms in the Contact section, Additional Info section, and you should also consider placing some links in your Summary section.

It’s not about being fake or trying to be something you’re not. It is about putting your best foot forward and being responsible for your professional reputation. Which leads nicely into the next tip …

Create professional profiles on other platforms

If you are going to provide links to other platforms, at least send them somewhere you’d be proud to send them. Your college years may have been full of fun, excitement, and experimentation, but you may not want that evidence to emerge so soon in your professional relationships. As mentioned earlier, It’s about putting your best foot forward.

If you have had an active profile for more than a few years, it’s likely that there is some objectionable material out there. There are ways of scrubbing your profiles, and it might be wise to do that in any case, but I suggest starting fresh and demonstrating that you understand the platform and the importance of personal branding.

By keeping your personal and professional profiles separate, you’re doing precisely what you do at the office already, just on a different level.

Claim your name!

In order to successfully integrate your social media profiles and your print-ready résumé, make sure you customize your LinkedIn URL. By default, the URL to your profile is a jumble of numbers and letters. Not appealing to the eye, or easy to type in directly.

In the edit profile screen, the link appears below your profile picture. Click the settings icon that appears when you hover over the link. This will take you to your public profile view. On the right of that view, you can click the link to edit it accordingly. The best option is to claim your actual name, but if your name is common, like mine, you’ll need to get creative. The easiest and most memorable are brief and distinct. Find the combination that works best for you and your brand.

Rearrange your sections

Do you have any awards, special recognition, certifications, designations, or special education or training that deserves highlighting? Put it up front and make it the first thing they read! You now have the same control over the order of your content as you do over your résumé. The best part is that it is very easy to do.

When you edit your profile and hover over a section, an up/down arrow icon will appear in the upper right hand corner. Click and drag that section to place it in the appropriate order.

That’s it

Now you have the means to get ahead and find that job, start that career, or launch that business from a place of strength and credibility. Best of luck in your search.

Did I miss something? Have you done something that reaped big rewards? Let me know in the comments and share the wisdom.

photo credit: Scrabble – Resume via photopin (license)

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Published by

Ashley Brown, APR

I have seen and done it all, on large and small scales, including communications planning, event coordination, print production, digital presence management, media relations, and more. Bringing in an outside perspective, with an objective set of eyes to pour over your organization's communications programs is considered best practice and yields actionable results. I gather anecdotal and empirical evidence to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your current communications programs, and make suggestions about how to improve your planning and execution processes, as well as your communications products and materials.

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