With more than 380 million members, LinkedIn has become one of the fastest growing social media platforms for professionals and career like-minded individuals. The potential it has allows both young professionals and season veterans to network and connect with top-level talent and big business firms all around the world. With that being said, the one question comes to mind when you are using your LinkedIn account: Are you using LinkedIn to its fullest potential?
For many people, the answer is no. It is not because they do not understand how the site works. Instead, they underutilize their profiles that can later be an extremely powerful tool when leveraging that new career for your work trajectory. First and foremost, you need to know the basics.
What is LinkedIn and how is it used?
LinkedIn is simply a Web2.0 social media network that allows daily visitors to professionally brand themselves in the most efficient and effective way. Think of this concept like the other popular social media properties out there such as Facebook or Twitter. The only difference is that LinkedIn is primarily focused on careers and professional development. That type of style and theme enables users to connect, share, and search for informative information that can help bolster their professional image for jobs or career advancement.
While the site itself provides users with a user-friendly platform, LinkedIn does provide other features to help brand your professional image in the best possible way. Below, I have provided five vital tips that you should implement into your LinkedIn profile. This will allow you to gain more traction with your profile and structure your social media presence for visitors and potential employers.
1. Customize your Public Profile URL
To make your LinkedIn profile look more professional, customize your public profile URL domain with your name or key phrase. Usually when you create a LinkedIn profile, the URL will be associated with a combination of numbers and letters at the end of the site’s URL. To change this, go to the settings page and customize your URL to something more simplified. To learn more, please follow the directions here.
2. Create a Bio
The best way to shape your profile is by adding a 500 to 1000-word bio on your educational and professional experience in the summary section of LinkedIn. This is usually the first thing future employer and visitors see when they visit your profile. Make sure to stick with the theme of professionalism. Be informative and highlight various accomplishments in quick short sentences. Try not to dive too deep on any personal information. Leave that for Facebook.
3. Expand on your Work Experience
To help optimize your profile on LinkedIn, try to dive deeper and provide a strong and informative synopsis of your educational background and work experience for each section. Highlight various accomplishments and try and stay quantitative. Think of this section as your resume. The more ‘numbers’ driven your profile is, the strong it will be to read. In addition, try and set a theme for the career trajectory you are trying to portray. For example, if you are going into a field of finance, it does not make any sense to add information about you working at a summer camp five to ten years ago.
4. Show Work Samples
Whether it is an article to showcase your writing or a video or presentation that highlights high profile projects, try and add a variety of media (images, documents, links, and presentations) that visitors and future employers can see. This type of content can enhance those successes you are trying to persuade in your summary and experience descriptions.
5. Create Skills and Get Endorsed
In the early 2012s, LinkedIn launched a feature called ‘endorsements,’ which enables users to endorse their skills through various connections. Start off by expanding on your skills. Use key words that are relatable to your previous jobs and projects. Then try and engage with other LinkedIn accounts so that those specific individuals can return the favor back. To get this started, try reaching out to coworkers and friends. Then build upon your shared networks.