You’re looking to get started on LinkedIn, you’ve signed up and set up your professional profile, but now what do you do? Unlike with Facebook, there are best practices as to how you should set up your profile, what you should be posting about — and what not to. Below, we’ve provided tips and tricks to guide you. Check if you’re up to speed on the latest best practices for your profile and beyond on LinkedIn.
Table of Contents
Why You Should be on LinkedIn
Most people are interested in growing their careers and exploring opportunities no matter what type of business they’re in. LinkedIn was created for the sole purpose of connecting professionals! So, if you find yourself asking, “should I be on LinkedIn?” answer the following questions:
- Looking to grow your professional network?
- Interested in growing your career, whether that be by finding a new opportunity or adding to your current work schedule?
- Seeking opportunities to strengthen your resume?
If you answered yes to any of those, then you should sign up for a LinkedIn account today! It’s free and a fantastic exercise to help you think about your career, including where you currently are and your future goals. Also, it helps that over 90% of recruiters rely on LinkedIn to fill roles!
Visit www.linkedin.com to sign up and begin your profile.
Profile Best Practices
You’ve signed up for a profile, great! Now, it’s time to fill out your profile. The more you fill it out, the more you’re utilizing the features LinkedIn has built in to help you shine. We won’t cover exactly what to fill out and what not to, as that’s up to you. But, we will be sharing the top five best practices we’ve come to live by on our own LinkedIn profiles and constantly recommend to others.
1) Choose the Right Profile Picture
Your profile picture could be your first visual introduction to potential new clients, jobs, or professionals in your field. While we hope “don’t judge a book by its cover” rule applies, you should be putting your best professional image as your profile picture. It’s how you are introducing yourself to people so always keep that in mind.
The ideal rules for the perfect profile picture is that it is:
- Recent and looks like you
- Professional; you should be dressed as you would for work in the image
- Focused in; your face should take up 60% of the image, and you should be the only one in the photo
- Well-lit and clear; bad image quality and a poorly lit image can make you appear badly. Use a professional headshot if possible, or make sure the image is high quality to avoid any clarity issues.
2) Use Your Headline as More Than a Job Title
There is no rule that the description at the top of your profile has to be just a job title, and we insist that you utilize it as more than that! Use it to say more about how you see your role and why you do what you do. Maybe you highlight that you’re an SEO Expert or certified in Google Analytics. Whatever the case may be, use this headline to express how you stand out from all the other profiles.
3) Turn Your Summary Into a Story
Ah, yes. One of the most challenging portions of filling out a LinkedIn profile – the summary! There are many best practices and approaches for writing your summary, but stay true to you and your career. Your summary should:
- Convey your career goals.
- Tell more about who you are as a professional.
- Highlight your skills.
- Be conversational and invite the reader in.
Essentially, you are writing your elevator pitch with a bit more enhancement than usual. Sell yourself, your skills, and what you do.
It’s also smart to include buzzwords, but be careful to avoid overused words such as strategic, creative, passionate, leadership, etc. Each word you use should help you stand out from the rest of the pack. If you need help, ask friends and colleagues for words they would use to describe you professionally. This could drum up new ideas.
Once you’ve written a version or two of your summary, run it by someone, watch their reaction to it and make changes based on their feedback. It can be hard to write about yourself, so never be afraid to seek help from others.
4) Monitor Your Profile Visibility
Your profile visibility can play a huge role in helping new connections and opportunities to find you. After you’ve set up your profile, make sure to review these settings. To get there on desktop, click on the Me drop-down menu option then select Settings & Privacy.
Next, select Privacy and run through all options to make sure How Others See Your Profile And Network Information, How Others See Your LinkedIn Activity, and all other categories are set to how you would like them.
We have two key recommendations here:
- Keep key information (photo, headline, location, etc.) anywhere from public to open to your network, which includes LinkedIn members connected up to three degrees away from you. We recommend this so you do not miss opportunities from recruiters that may not be connected to you, or those you know. You can control this via Edit Your Public Profile.
- Under How Others See Your LinkedIn Activity we strongly recommend you turn off sharing profile edits. We recommend this because if you begin making updates to your LinkedIn profile can signal to your current position that you may be thinking about making a change. At the least, it will clutter up your feed with fluff.
5) Add Personality!
While you’re building your LinkedIn profile, things can get pretty serious. It’s all business, no pleasure. However, we recommend you keep your personality in mind. Don’t become so serious that you blend in with everyone else. Figure out how to stand out. Your profile is selling YOU, so making sure that your personality comes across is so important. It could make the difference between getting a strong job offer and missing an opportunity.
Need some examples of great profiles? Check out these examples LinkedIn chose to feature.
Growing Your Network
While LinkedIn is dressed up in a suit & tie, remind yourself that it’s still a social network. Like all social networking sites – you must network!
Growing your LinkedIn network is relatively easy. Begin by adding your past and present colleagues, college and post-college classmates, current professionals and experts in your circle. Next, visit the My Network tab in the menu. This tab will help you find other professionals you may know, or have heard of in the past. Add those who are relevant to your professional goals, including users who you’ve only met one time or are a friend of a friend. You never know what opportunities could lie in that connection! We recommend writing a brief note to weaker connections to increase your acceptance rate.
Once you’ve added everyone you know and utilized the My Network tab, your next step it to continue to connect with people. If you meet someone, always remember to connect with them after on LinkedIn. Building your network only widens the net for more opportunities and growth to come your way.
Posting Content on LinkedIn
Another part of a social networking site is being social, but to be social, you must post content and also like, comment and share as well. If you’re unsure of how exactly to post to LinkedIn, you’re not alone! We’ve had many clients ask us how. Below, we show you step-by-step how to post to LinkedIn.
How to Post
If you’ve ever posted to Facebook, LinkedIn is extremely similar to that. If you haven’t, not to worry. We’re here to show you the process! First, we will type out the instructions and then we have inserted a video showing those steps for visual learners. (Feel free to jump head if you prefer video instructions.)
First, log into your LinkedIn account. Once you’ve logged in, you should be on the home page, or your feed where you can see what other people you are connected with are sharing, posting, and engaging with. At the top, you’ll find a white box with the messaging Share an Article, Photo, Video or Idea in it. This is where you create your updates.
Within updates, you can utilize links to articles you want to share, to your website, or anything else you may want to post an update on. Simply paste the link in, wait for the link preview to populate, and delete the link from the update box. The link preview will stay in place without you having to keep the URL in the text part of your update.
You may also tag people utilizing the @ symbol then typing their name and use #hashtags. If you use a link in your update, LinkedIn will suggest hashtags based on that link for you to browse.
Lastly, make any adjustments to the post settings you’d like, such as turning off comments or sharing only to your network, and hit post. Your update is now live!
What to Post/Share
Now you know how to post and what you can include in your posts. Great! The next step is deciding what to post. Many things are appropriate to post to LinkedIn, and many are not. Remember, that you don’t have to come up with all original content here either. After you’ve connected with industry professionals, you can share their content that applies to your career by hitting the Share button underneath their post. Here are some of our suggestions on appropriate items to post/share.
- News/articles related to your industry, client industries, or related industries to your field.
- Your business updates, such as signing a new client or hiring a new employee.
- Your blog posts.
- Employment needs for your business or yourself.
- NOTE: Be careful doing this if posting that you’re looking for a job will cause any problems with your current position. Remember that posts are public to your network and more than likely you are connected with someone you work with.
- Personal tidbits of your life that relate to your professional growth & career.
- Pictures that you’d share with friends & family (e.g., kids, vacation images) unless they relate directly to your brand/image.
- Overly personal posts that do not relate to your professional life or career.
Where to View My Updates
LinkedIn can be confusing when it comes to finding and viewing all your past posts so we thought we’d show you how to find them. We’ve provided a text and visual how-to below.
To view all your past posts navigate to your profile by clicking the Me menu drop down then View Profile. From here, scroll down to the activity section of your profile; this should be right above experience. Hit the See All button within the activity box. Now, you can view all your activity including what you’ve liked, commented on, and posted. If you want to exclusively see your past posts select the Posts tab at the top of the page under the heading YourName’s Activity title.
Now you’re ready to dive in and get started on LinkedIn!