The key to your success on LinkedIn begins with a powerful and professional presence. The profile should be written strategically, with your ideal client in mind before you start connecting, so as to maximize the impact of your first impression online. LinkedIn gives you the ability to control your online identity, because Linkedin profiles quickly rise to the top of search results letting you control what people see about you and your company online.
Here are 7 steps to creating the perfect Linkedin profile:
Start by gathering your materials
Pull out your resume, your bio, and your marketing materials to help you with your profile. Your Name Should ONLY Contain Your Name – Avoid adding any additional titles, acronyms or credentials. Keep it clean and concise! Create a strong HEADLINE- Go beyond saying you are a “Student at XXX college” and share information that will interest other viewers, like your skills, area of study, and goals.
Show Your Face
Upload a Picture. Employers and LinkedIn viewers are seven times more likely to click on profiles that have a picture. Don’t crop yourself out of a picture you look great in from a party or social gathering. Get yourself a professional headshot by a photographer and make sure you smile! Profile pictures should be of you and only you – dressed in business casuals or professional clothes.
Sell Your Skills
LinkedIn’s Skills section provides you with an opportunity to highlight your skills. The entry in Skills and Expertise Should Be Filled With Keywords. Everything you put here will show up in your Endorsements section, so choose carefully!
LinkedIn provides all users with the opportunity to create a 2,000 character summary. This is your chance to introduce yourself and your interests – in your own words. While there’s a long-standing rule never to use the 1st Person voice in your resume; LinkedIn is the perfect place to speak in a personal voice and say “I.” Summarise yourself, but be conversational. Share your skills, interests, and career goals. Instead of saying what you’re studying, talk about why you’ve chosen what you study and how you hope to use your skills in the future. Share your interests and quirks – and demonstrate your willingness to speak to others about what you do.
Once you’ve completed your summary, list your internships and work experience – including the highlights of what you’ve done under the “Experience” section. You can also use LinkedIn’s Sections to add Special Projects, Languages, and Coursework.
Engage in groups
You are able to join a maximum of 50 groups on LinkedIn so take advantage of every one of them. Try and find groups related to your industry and in your target area to bring you closer to those who can either become potential clients or strategic alliances.
Some groups will be dead, others will be full of spam, but there are many that are full of active discussions with great people and great moderators that maintain quality conversation within the group. It’s a process of trial and error to find the great ones, but it’s well worth your time!
Gain Credibility with References
A solid well-written reference is precious in the professional world. They are paramount to distinguishing you from your competition online. When people recommend you, their words appear in your profile, and are commonly searched by recruiting sourcers and hiring managers.
Once you have your profile completely set up, you are ready to utilize many of LinkedIn’s other functions and reap their rewards for your job search. Happy hunting!