Last year, The Influencer Whisperer wrote about one of my biggest pet peeves in the social media sphere: The LinkedIn Appropriateness Police.
It became clear, however, soon after I hit "publish" that many people had questions about the LinkedIn basics and how to get more involved on the platform.
If you're new to LinkedIn (or don't regularly use the platform), here are some 101-level requirements for getting the most out of it.
Part 1: Your Profile Essentials
Each LinkedIn profile should include this basic information:
- Basic information (name, country, industry, headline)
- Profile Photo
- Work experience (a minimum of 3 jobs)
- Skills & Expertise (a minimum of 5 skills)
- At least 50 connections (with a goal of reaching 500 connections)
1. Basic Information
In order for your LinkedIn profile to be optimized and searchable on the platform, you must include information such as your full name, your industry, your country and a professional headline. Your headline can include or comprise of a number of things but the best headlines include your current job title, your key skill(s) and your company’s name. For some additional tips on personal branding, click here.
Your headline is important because it is used wherever you post comments, in the "People Also Viewed" section of fellow LinkedIn members, in Search results and more.
In order to update contact and personal information associated with your profile, read more from LinkedIn.
2. A Profile Photo
According to LinkedIn, your profile is 7 times more likely to be viewed if you have a profile photo. A professional headshot or photo from the shoulders up works well. I do not recommend taking "selfies" or having low-quality photography as your profile photo. This image showcases who you are to the entire LinkedIn community.
5 Tips for Picking the Right LinkedIn Profile Picture
3. Writing a Background Summary
When it comes to being searchable and findable on LinkedIn, adding keywords and other important information in your background summary is a must. What words would you want people to use in order to be able to find you? That's what you should include in your professional summary.
How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Summary
4. & 5. Education & Work Experience
In order to achieve rock star status on LinkedIn, it's recommended to include both your educational information, as well as at least three job positions on your LinkedIn profile.
To do this, simply click on +Add in the Experience or Education section to add any position to your profile. When you are listing where it is you attended school or worked, LinkedIn will (most of the time) prompt you with the company name supported by the company logo.
Select this official name, and then the educational institution or company's logo will appear on your profile too.
LinkedIn e-Course: Add Work Experience and Education
6. Including Skills & Featured Skills
The Skills section of your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity for you to add keywords that describe what you do and your abilities. LinkedIn has developed a low-friction way for your network to endorse you for these keywords, which can show those viewing your profile that you are indeed skilled and experienced in your field.
To add skills keywords to your profile, simply start typing in your keyword and select from the prompt-list. Your network will be asked to endorse you for these skills, so make sure that they are relevant to you.
14 Do’s & Don’ts for LinkedIn "Skills & Expertise" profile category
7. Having 50+ connections (But setting a goal to reach 500)
Begin with adding everyone you know IF IT MAKES SENSE: work colleagues, customers, friends etc. The easiest way to do this is by syncing your existing contacts from online sources, like your email. LinkedIn Contacts regularly synchronizes with a number of contact sources such as Google Gmail, Google Contacts, Yahoo! Mail, Evernote, and many others.
To check if people you know are using LinkedIn, click on the “My Network” tab and select “Add Connections” or "More Options". You will be prompted to enter your email address after which LinkedIn will display a list of contacts you know who currently have a LinkedIn profile.
Beyond your immediate circle, it’s important to keep other connections targeted. This is about quality, not quantity. Generally, LinkedIn advises you to only connect to people you know. However, if you want to expand your contacts into the wider industry that you are involved in, whether they be potential colleagues, clients or customers, be sure to include a personal note with your connection request. Explain why you would like to connect and remember to be polite!
Inviting or Connecting with People on LinkedIn
Enhancing your LinkedIn Profile
In order to separate your LinkedIn profile from everyone else's, it's important to also practice the following activities on a regular basis:
- Add multimedia to your LinkedIn profile.
- Customize your LinkedIn url (one time only activity)
- Soliciting recommendations and endorsements
By checking your LinkedIn profile strength meter, you'll be prompted on ways you can make even more of an impact on the platform.