LinkedIn Profile Essentials: Why and How

It’s time for a post about LinkedIn because I’m spending a lot of time explaining it. Even people who have been using it a while are not using it as well as they could be. You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t use it, or if you don’t use it well. It’s not just for stuffy “businessy” people. You’ll find plenty of heart-centered people in there.

And it doesn’t take much time at all! There’s really no down side to having an updated LinkedIn profile. And plenty of up sides.

Below are a few specific reasons why you should spiff up your profile, followed by quick tips on how to make it work best. I’m including links to step-by-step instructions.

Even if you’re sure social media is not for you, at least get a listing in LinkedIn and I’ll let you off the hook on the rest.

My LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn says I’m an all-star. That’s fun to see.

Who am I to advise on this?

I’ve been using LinkedIn longer than most people have even heard of it, and I’ve tinkered around to see what works. I gave gotten business from LinkedIn with very little effort. And I’m in the top 5% of most viewed LinkedIn profiles. I understand social media and I enjoy sharing the shortcuts.

So here’s my checklist for you…

Why You Should Keep an Updated LinkedIn Profile

  1. LinkedIn has replaced the phone book for business listings. It’s one of the first places people look when they want a business connection of any kind. (If they don’t look in LinkedIn directly, they look in Google, where LinkedIn profiles appear prominently in search results.)
  2. Your audience is in there looking around. If they aren’t, the people they ask for referrals are in there. Your referral sources are there.
  3. When these prospective customers or employers look at your profile, they will move on if your profile isn’t clear and complete. Someone else will get the lead instead of you.
  4. We can’t easily stay in touch with everyone we meet, but staying visible in LinkedIn helps your wider network remember you when they need someone like you.
  5. If nothing else, you’ll get more traffic to your website if you add your website in your LinkedIn profile.
  6. If you don’t have a website, it’s the perfect “free website” so you have somewhere to send people for more about you.

9 LinkedIn Profile Setup Essentials

  1. Custom headline.
    As you go through the steps to customize your profile, be sure to write a specific headline… and be playful if you want. Don’t just use the default setting which would be your current job title. You can use the headline to explain the type of work you’re looking for. Use it like a tag line or personal brand. This is an important place to use keywords for how you want to be found. [How]
  2. Custom profile address (URL).
    Customize your LinkedIn profile address (URL) so it’s easier to put in an email signature. [How]
  3. Complete the summary.
    Put in something specific in the Summary section. Don’t just let a list of jobs speak for you. Be yourself. Let them know who you are and what you care about. Again, use keywords in here for how you want to be found in a search.
  4. Use 1st person (“I”).
    3rd person “corporate speak” is out. Human is in.
  5. Add your website.
    Be sure you include your website and other contact info.  [How]
  6. Fix your visibility settings.
    Fix your privacy and account settings so people can easily see what you’re up to. [How]
  7. Fix your contact settings.
    Adjust your settings so that it’s easy to contact you. Default settings can make it harder than necessary. [How]
  8. Professional photo.
    Definitely add a photo, ideally a professional headshot, or a good-enough headshot. Crop it close to your head so people can recognize you in a small thumbnail image.
  9. Connect.
    Now go connect with people that are already on LinkedIn. The more connections, the more you’ll get out of it. One action will have a wider effect with the same amount of time. [How]

If you’re feeling stumped along the way, the LinkedIn Help section is very helpful.

More LinkedIn Tips for Newbies and Beyond

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  • Laurie Johnson

    Thanks Val!