LinkedIn is one of the most important networks for professionals of any industry to join. Statistics show that it can provide innumerable opportunities to begin or grow your career. LinkedIn includes members from all of the Fortune 500 companies, and 39% of its members are managers, executives or owners. The network’s reach is global, with heavy concentrations in Europe, Asia, and the United States.
Due to LinkedIn’s highly influential membership, users need to invest time and effort to make sure that their profile is flawless. You want to take full advantage of the opportunity to network business connections or go after a new job. Within the LinkedIn profile, there are a few key aspects to focus on. They may seem small, but each are important in creating a professional digital persona:
- Profile Picture – Your profile picture should fit the job you are applying for or field you work in. For administrative positions, pictures should exhibit professionalism. It should be current, simple, with the appropriate dress attire. If you are applying for a creative job, you may want to express that with your picture. Think of it as your digital first impression; how do you want to be perceived?
- Recommendation – LinkedIn recommendations are an upfront way to prove your professionalism and trustworthiness. You can fill the rest of your profile with as much as you want, but someone looking at it has no way to know if you are telling the truth. A recommendation verifies and strengthens your claims, which will give you an immediate advantage.
- Connections – These are the foundation on which LinkedIn is built. The more connections you curate, the easier it will be to network. However, your connections should be people you have met in person. Since this is a professional network, many users will not accept connection requests from people they don’t know. However, if you have a specific purpose for connecting to someone you don’t know, use a common connection to solicit an introduction. The network has protocol built into the site for networking, and using it is advantageous.
- Vanity URL – This is a small but important detail to your profile. Changing your profile URL to incorporate your name will make it easier for you to be searched. It is a little feature that could make all the difference.
- Focused Headline – Headlines should be succinct and accurate, comprised of either a short description of your skills or job title. “Advertising Account Executive” or “Recent Grad, Economics Major” are two examples of acceptable headlines. By using poignant descriptions it will be easier to be picked up by recruiters searching for a specific position.
Although getting into the details may seem tedious, a thoroughly planned LinkedIn profile stands out much more than one simply thrown together. People will notice your time and effort, and that may make all the difference when applying to jobs or networking. LinkedIn accounts for 73% of people hired through a social media network, and you don’t want to miss that chance.