If you are a young professional looking to make your mark in your industry and/or advance in your career, it is critical that you have an effective LinkedIn profile. Not only is LinkedIn professional currency, this is your opportunity to showcase and market your brand. Follow these simple steps to ensure that you’re sharing the right message and using LinkedIn effectively.
1. Complete your profile
Your profile should be 100% complete. Transfer the bullet points from your resume to the “Experience” section and be sure to add any media mentions, projects, etc., that highlight your industry knowledge. Add any volunteer experience that demonstrates leadership and/or commitment to your trade.
2. Update your photo
Folks are more likely to connect with you if you use a photo. Be sure that it is professional in nature and welcoming. Passport photos and the like can have the opposite effect (read: never use a passport photo).
3. Make your headline count
Your headline is the first impression you make so be sure it is catchy and represents your value proposition and not your job title. LinkedIn is a networking tool, not a yearbook. Think of your industry and your key differentiators. If you’re using LinkedIn for your job search it is especially critical to use your headline to attract the right jobs.
4. Take advantage of the summary section
Here is your chance to expand on your elevator pitch. Use this space to tell your story and connect with others. Highlight projects, special interests, and your passions.
5. Ask for recommendations
Going back to former co-workers or supervisors and asking them to write a few words about your work ethic and contributions is another great way to reinforce how awesome you are. You’ll have the ability to accept or reject what they wrote, but hopefully you have a few loyal colleagues who are willing to put in a good word for you.