Add a photo to your profile, allowing people to put a face to the name. Make sure that the picture is a professional headshot and not a more colourful shot that would be better reserved for a Facebook page. It’s also important that you don’t just pick your favourite photo that has been photo shopped and cropped to make you look your best; your photo should reflect how you will look when you meet a business contact in person, not when you’re about to go out.
Proof then Post
Similarly to CV’s and cover letters, mistakes or typos are not acceptable on a LinkedIn profile so be sure to proofread before you post. Copy all the text from your profile and paste it into Microsoft Word so you can spell check everything and find any typos that you may have overlooked. Make sure that all hyperlinks are correct and working and that all information posted is truthful as, regardless of white lies on CV’s, in the online world these can be easily verified.
Keywords to Success
Improve your ranking in search results by using keywords throughout your profile. Try not to overemphasise generic buzzwords like ‘communications skills’, ‘creative’ or ‘innovative’ as these will often leave your profile in search results of millions. Instead, include words that actually mean something in your profession, such as a specific skill set or an ability to use certain software or equipment. Your most important keywords should appear in your headline as well.
Recommendations are a great addition to any profile as they reinforce what you are saying about yourself, while adding more interesting points to your profile. They can be a great opportunity for others to get a glimpse of what it is to work with you and some first-hand knowledge of your work ethic. To display true LinkedIn etiquette, write them for other people before asking for them. It is also worth copying and printing these recommendations to include in online or email job applications.
Stick to the Point
Keep your previous job listings relevant and concentrating on your current career goal. You can include previous jobs that are no longer significant, but limit it to job title, company and a brief description of duties. This way your profile is more direct to the employers you want to attract.
Personalise the Profile
Too often a LinkedIn profile can end up reading more like a resume than a person’s working career. Personalise the information and show some personality. Explain why you want to work in certain areas and why you enjoyed some aspects of your job more than others. Listing your goals, motivations and aspirations will make people want to know more about you and get to know you, rather than just reading off your past employment and education history.
Link in to LinkedIn
It can be a good idea to integrate your twitter feed on your profile. Social networks like these can open up your range of contacts and put you in touch with people. But be warned - if you do decide to treat other social networks like Twitter or Facebook as professional platforms then make sure they are exactly that; professional. Horror stories of employees being disciplined and even sacked because of their online activity should have taught us all a lesson by now. Keep your boss’ or potential employer’s reactions in mind when posting any public pictures and content.