LinkedIn for beginners: Setting up a good profile
LinkedIn is an excellent professional social network. It’s a great place to start a job hunt – and you never know when a recruiter will look at your profile. So, we thought we’d put together some top tips for setting up your LinkedIn profile, and getting the most out of the network.
Like everything, setting up a good LinkedIn profile takes a bit of time and effort.
If you think about it, your LinkedIn profile could be the first impression you make with your future employer. So, you need your profile to look professional, and make sure the content on it is up to date and accurate.
If you already have an account, you’ll know that there are various sections of the profile which need to be completed. Make sure these sections are detailed, and relevant – so anyone who looks at your profile sees key information about you – and wants to look further.
It’s blatantly obvious if somebody hasn’t given their profile any TLC.
Make a statement
You need to think about how you want potential contacts to perceive you, and what you’re all about. Keep it professional, but also personal. And most importantly, don’t lie. Your content should be interesting, and give a detailed account of your past achievements. It’s also worth stating your career goals.
Anyone reading your profile should be able to understand your key skills and where you would like your career to head. Keep it simple, and to reiterate, be honest.
It’s essential to have a profile photo. People want to see the face behind the words. Again, remember you are making a first impression, so make sure your image is appropriate. It should be a clear picture of just you – a head and shoulders shot is best. Remember, it’s a professional network and a photo of you with a beer in hand won’t work!
It’s all in the detail
Firstly, focus your attention on your headline and summary. Your headline has the potential to attract contacts to your page – it tells them who you are and what you do – and your summary their first impression of you as a person and a professional.
Think of your headline and summary as a brief CV. They are your first point of call on your profile, and give you the chance to tell contacts what drives you and what sets you apart from others in the field.
It should be clear and simple. Write it. Read it out loud. Tweak it. Ask someone else to read it.
Steer clear of using clichés and too many ‘buzzwords’ or keywords. Using these in the right places can do wonders for you in terms of making your profile easier to find, but overkill can make you appear to be full of hot air when it comes to describing your abilities and goals. Again, re-reading what you write before publishing is a a good idea.
Finally, remember the ‘less is more’ concept does not apply to LinkedIn. A good LinkedIn profile should have lots of detail. Describe your past experiences, give details of your achievements and responsibilities – and remember to talk about what you want to achieve. And it’s really important to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Add to it as you gain experience, or hit targets – otherwise you forget! (And doing this makes it much easier to keep your CV up to date too…) Don’t go over the top and write essays for each section – summarise as much as possible, keeping to the important information. Make sure it’s interesting and stay on topic. It’s all about balance.
And of course, you need to make sure you have your CORRECT contact details on there too.
These few points are more than enough to get you up and running with a decent LinkedIn profile. Start adding connections and who knows where it will take you!