LinkedIn 101 for Beginners: Step 1–The Profile

LinkedIn profiles receive a fairly high rank in Google, so this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.  If a recruiter is looking at two people, and one is an empty page, while the other has a great LinkedIn profile, we all know who will get the interview.  Do a simple test. Type your name into the google search engine and see what comes up.  If nothing does, then you do not exist to recruiters or employers searching to fill positions.  If you do come up, what does your google identity say about you? 

LinkedIn is one of my favorite places to network, but it can be very overwhelming to new participants because of all the tabs, links, and features it offers.  Not knowing how it works is one of the reasons why many professionals are still not capitalizing on its many features.

Get Started on LinkedIn by Creating a Complete Profile:

On your ”Profile Tab”, on the right hand side there is a blue bar.  This bar tells you what percentage of your profile is left to fill out.  A profile that’s 100% complete comes up higher in employer or recruiter searches within LinkedIn.  To create a complete profile is not difficult, but it can be time consuming.  A few important pieces to get your profile to 100%:

  • Make sure you have a professional profile picture. Unless you are making a conscious choice to be hidden, you really need a picture. Head-shots are best. Your LinkedIn profile picture tells a ’1000 words’ to the viewer about you the professional, and forms an immediate 1st impression.  No one wants to hire someone they think is not going to fit into their team.  So smile, and please do not represent yourself with a poor quality picture.
  • In your profile square you can add your twitter account, any website you want to showcase, or link to your blog.  You can post an update or share career related information within this section as well.  The more you share, the more you will be noticed.  Also under your name, click ”edit” to put a tag-line that showcases your personal brand and core competencies.
  • Create a well thought out summary that tells your story and shows the world your value proposition. Use key words in your profile to ensure that you will come up in searches performed on LinkedIn by companies looking to hire.  The best way to find the key words that fit your career is to read job descriptions related to the positions you want.  Use those key words you find, and position them in your summary if it fits with how you want to market yourself.
  • Many new LinkedIn users only list their most recent position.  Add all previous employers.  This way you’ll be able to connect with people from your past, even if you don’t have their current contact information. Its a good way to build your network faster.
  • Request quality recommendations from prior bosses, project managers, or professors. You can do this by clicking the ”Profile Tab” and then selecting ”Recommendations”. These recommendations are fully viewable to impress the public.
  • In addition to Education, Volunteer Experiences, and Honors…Make sure you add as many ‘‘Sections” as you want or need to paint a complete portrait of yourself and who you are in your career.
  • Under the ”More Tab” add ‘‘Skills”.  LinkedIn recruiters and HR professionals search often for specific skills they are looking for to fill a vacant position. LinkedIn created this category to showcase your talents.  Its a way to shine and be found faster by those looking for the skills you are offering.
  • Customize your completed profile’s URL to be your actual name instead of using the LinkedIn default URL provided. You can edit this by clicking on your name in the top right, and going to ”Settings”.  Then click on the ”Edit your Public Profile” link and save your name.  I can spend hours on all the other features you can customize here under settings, but for now get started with linking your profile URL to your name.
  • If you are an active job seeker I strongly suggest posting your resume.  Click on ”Edit Profile”.  Then under the ”Applications” section add the application called Box.net Files.  You’ll be asked to enter your LinkedIn password along with your email address.  Follow the steps till you get to the page that lets you upload your resume from your hard drive. You can also upload a portfolio of documents that can help you get hired. If you need to submit a physical copy of your resume or portfolio, make sure to use paper cores or mailing tubes to store your important documents safely.
  • There are many applications you can utilize on your LinkedIn account that can add value to your personal brand.  I will list just a few to help you in your job search and optimize your profile.  You can use ”SlideShare” to upload PowerPoint presentations, your video resume, or any demonstration/visual proposal you would like to showcase.  The ”Amazon Reading” list application shows off your interests, and if you blog you should integrate the Blog Link application to your profile so others can see what you have written.

I am not going to be able to explore everything LinkedIn can do for you and your career in this one blog. Most articles on LinkedIn cover too much, and then beginners quit before they get started. Step 1 for any new user is to create a complete profile by following the details I listed in the above bullets.  Only after that has been achieved, can you go onto phase 2 which is to build connections and network.  That will be Part 2 of LinkedIn 101. Step-by-step you can utilize LinkedIn and get noticed by employers and leaders in your field.

Thanks for the Share!!

1 comment

  1. Carlton Wiegel

    I’m still learning from you, as I’m trying to reach my goals. I definitely love reading everything that is posted on your site.Keep the aarticles coming. I liked it!

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