LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for professionals. It’s a place to highlight your skills, connect with other colleagues and network. But, in order to get the most out of this popular social network, you have to know how to use correctly.
Headline vs. Title
This is one of the most underused tricks on LinkedIn. Most people confuse the two, not using the title feature at all and placing their title where the headline belongs. Make this small change and immediately improve your profile. Your title belongs immediately after your last name. People often miss this because LinkedIn does not provide a space labeled “Title”. Alternatively, your headline should showcase what you do and how you can help your audience. Here is my LinkedIn profile with a title and headline:
Contact Info Tricks
Working our way down the page the next important section (also underused) is your “contact” tab. This section of your LinkedIn profile should be entirely completed; email address, Twitter handle and three websites. One great trick is the “other” feature. Instead of listing Website 1, Website, 2 and Website 3, you can title each website to increase curiosity and clicks. Think of your audience and craft a website title that will make them want to click. Additionally, link to pages that will immediately peak your audience’s attention. Don’t simply link to your website’s home page. For example, if you’re an accountant and want to highlight why a small businesses would want to work with you link to a page on your website that has tons of awesome reviews.
Customized Public Profile URL
LinkedIn allows you to create a customized URL. This is easy to create and makes your profile look more professional. To create your public profile URL simply go to your profile and click on the sprocket located to left of your “contact” tab. From there you’ll brought to a new page. Look the top right corner to see where you can edit your public profile URL:
Your LinkedIn summary is a place to showcase your talents and tell the story of your career. Write this section in the first person, be short, concise and up-to-date. Tell people what you do and why you’re exception at it. If you’ve won awards, been published or presented at a conference, let the reader know. Don’t use this space to simply rattle off your resume.
LinkedIn allows you to add media to your summary, take advantage of this. You can add documents, photos, links, video and presentations. Gather your best work and add it to your summary to really showcase yourself.
If you’ve contributed to any publications (company blog or by-lines for example) you should highlight them on your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn allows you to add an unlimited number of publications directly to your profile. In addition, you can order them in any way you like. I recommend highlighting your best pieces at the top! You can add all your publications or just the ones you think showcase your capabilities and knowledge the most. It’s important to keep this section up-to-date as well. Also, pay special attention to this section if you want to be an influencer in your industry.
Experience & Additional Info
These are the only sections of your profile that should read like a resume. Complete both sections in their entirety and let it back up your summary. If you add your email address to this section as well, people who you aren’t connected to can still get in contact (remember only your connections can send messages and see your email address in your contact section). This is especially important if you’re hoping to book speaking opportunities or get a byline.
Skills & Endorsements
This section is important for search purposes. List all the skills you would hope to come up for in a search. The more endorsements for each skill, the more often you’ll come up in that search. As you add skills to your arsenal be sure to add them to your LinkedIn profile.
Up to this point in your profile everything is coming from your point of view. Recommendations allows you to backup the story you’ve told. It is important you both give and receive recommendations on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to ask people to recommend you on your LinkedIn profile.
Meaghan Edelstein is a social media and mobile marketing expert. By using social media tools and platforms to promote her nonprofit, Spirit Jump, she was able to gain national attention from Good Morning America, NPR, Cure Magazing, BlogWorld, NTEN and Mashable. She’s gone on to produce social media events such as the Global Strategic Management Institute’s Social Media Strategies Summits, Mobile Marketing Summits and Blogging Strategies Summit. She’s shared her expertise with the world by contributing to Mashable, Social Media Examiner, RingCentral Blog and Glip.