Making The Most Of Your LinkedIn Account (part 1)

by Lori Smith

LinkedIn is a very powerful social media resource that is used for professional purposes, such as networking. It serves as a really huge database of professionals with over 277 million members, 3 million company pages, and 2 million groups. With 5.7 billion searches conducted in 2012 alone it is no wonder two new members are joining every second!

You may ask, “I am on LinkedIn, now what?” You will want to make sure that you are coming up in searches. Creating a complete and content rich profile is a great way to increase the odds of appearing in searches. Here are some simple steps you can complete to better your odds:

Profile
Include a professional picture. Headshots work best. Profiles with a picture are 7-11 times more likely to be viewed. It also lets employers know that it is a real person’s account.

Headline
Headlines are the words that you will see under the picture. LinkedIn defaults to your current position. You can and should customize this! Use key words and phrases. Under your headline complete the geographic field by listing the industry/field and geographic location of where you are or where you want to be. Consider listing a metropolitan area closest to your ideal location.

URL
LinkedIn will create a URL for you. Take a moment and customize your URL to include your name. Promote your LinkedIn profile by listing this customized URL on your resume, business cards, and email signatures.

Summary
Keep this simple. Include small amounts of information which will be easy to read. List in short paragraphs or bullet points.

Experience Profile
List positions which you have held including responsibilities (remember to include key words) and achievements. This is your portfolio section where you can upload documents, PowerPoints, videos and other material you have created.

Skills and Expertise
Add in at least ten skills you want to highlight. Think of key words and skills in your field. People who view your LinkedIn profile can endorse you for these skills by clicking on the endorse button next to each skill, and the picture of whoever endorsed you will appear. LinkedIn defaults to listing these skills in descending order based on the number of endorsements. LinkedIn now allows you to reorder these skills regardless of the number of endorsements.

Now that you know the ins and outs of what makes a great LinkedIn profile, it is time to create or update your LinkedIn account. LinkedIn provides many resources to assist you in creating your account. Visit these links for additional information: http://university.linkedin.com/linkedin-for-students.htmland www.linkedin.com.

Part two of this series will discuss how to use LinkedIn to network and Job Search.

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