I recently came across Neal Schaffer’s Checklist of 17 Professional LinkedIn Tips. While they’re all worthwhile, I’ve picked out five tips that provide the most bang for your buck in the least amount of time. Complete these and your profile will be markedly improved. Extra Credit: Work your way through the remaining 12 items in the infographic below!
#1 Add (or Update) Your Photo
Every profile should have a professional photo. Since it is a networking site, it seems odd to others if you don’t have a picture (What are you hiding? Is she who I think she is?). Besides, people might not remember your name, but they will likely remember your face.
Which brings me to my second point – even if you have a picture, consider updating it. Ask yourself if it looks like you (now – not 10 years or 20 pounds ago!) and if it is professional (hint: the cropped out boyfriend and bar behind you are not doing you any favors).
#2 Re-write Your Headline
LinkedIn’s standard headline defaults to your title and company. But you can do much better than that. This is what is seen next to your name when you come up in a search. Think of the headline kind’ve like your own personal tagline or branding statement. As such, it should answer one or more of the following questions: Who are you? What are your skills? What do you stand for? And if someone wants to see your title and company don’t worry – it’s in your profile.
#3 Customize Your URL
Once you’ve gone through the trouble of setting up your LinkedIn profile, you want to be able to share it with ease. Whether it’s a link at the bottom of your email, or part of your contact information on your resume, make it simple and straightforward.
The default URL to your personal LinkedIn page is a mess of letters, numbers and dashes. Clean it up and customize it to your liking by going to your profile and clicking on the “Edit Profile” button. Then click on the “Edit” link next to your URL (right under your picture). This will take you to a “Public Profile” page. In the bottom right corner, you’ll see a section that gives you the option to customize your public profile URL.
#4 Request Recommendations
Recommendations are considered an essential part of a “complete” LinkedIn profile. Recruiters and hiring managers look to these to determine your credibility. Don’t wait until you’re job searching to ask for them. It looks better if they aren’t all dated around the same time. Whenever you finish a big project or leave a job, assuming you did a great job and left on good terms – request a recommendation.
#5 Join Groups
Joining groups related to your profession not only allows you to stay on top of industry news, but it broadens your network because you are able to connect with others in that group that you would otherwise not have access to if they were 3rd level connections. Plus it’s a great place to post relevant articles, comment and well…network. And isn’t that the whole point of LinkedIn in the first place?!