Chances are that you just got out of college, or are about to, or you might just be looking for a job change, however, someone suggested that you create a profile on LinkedIn and now you are thinking, how do I do that?
I’m positive that everyone is aware of LinkedIn, and most of us can easily figure out how to get it started and create a profile. But now what is the question that usually daunts all of us. So here are a few steps to guide you from ‘ Yeah I sort-of have a LinkedIn profile’ to ‘Let me send you my LinkedIn profile for your reference’.
What is LinkedIn?
To just give a quick idea of what LinkedIn is all about – LinkedIn is a social network used for professional networking and career development. It is basically the equivalent of the good old job fairs where people connected and networked in order to land a job or expand their career perspectives.
Having a profile on LinkedIn is almost expected by most professional organizations, thus making it a highly beneficial platform for you to invest your time in.
Step 1: Identify Keywords
Before we begin, here is a little note on how LinkedIn actually bases all its activities on something called ‘Keywords’. A keyword is defined as a word or concept of great significance, but here it has to be of great significance to your professional field. Computers aren’t smart enough to distinguish between the nuances of sentences, thus they just look for keywords and count them.
The top five areas where keywords are prioritized by LinkedIn include –
Pro Tip: The easiest way to figure out which keywords you should use is to first look at your resume and highlight all the main descriptive words. Sift through the key-words your colleagues use throughout their profiles. Look at about ten job ads you are interested in, and scan them for keywords. Using these methods, you will be able to identify the keywords you must be focussing on in your profile, to engage maximum traffic to your profile.
Step 2: Create a formal profile
The first and most obvious step is to open up the website or app, and with the help of the basic guidelines provided, you register yourself with your name and other such details. Let me point out that this is a proper professional platform so you HAVE to use your real name and don’t call yourself Ms. Rina Hardworking or Mr. Rana Full-effort! As shallow as it may sound, it is highly recommended that you upload a picture of yourself on your profile.
Ideally, a good quality picture with your face visible and nice lighting is a good bet.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind the industry you would like to work for while uploading, for example, if you are an upcoming lawyer, a more formal picture would work, but if you are in advertising, something a bit more approachable and casual would work. A photograph usually multiplies the number of views you get.
Step 3: Specify Industry profession and location
So you may be a stern believer of the theories of how the government is watching you through your social media accounts, but let me kindly tell you that even if they were, I highly doubt they’d be interested in your LinkedIn profile. So please, ensure you mention which industry you work in and also the location. Mention your state and city to let the recruiter know where you may possibly be available.
In order to do this, go to your ‘Edit Profile’ page and you will find the option to choose your industry and location. This is one of the top five keywords LinkedIn prioritizes and hence is an important way to drive traffic to your page.
Step 4: Change your URL
Uniform resource locator ( URL) is the address people have to type in to open your profile, or rather the link they must use to open it.
You have an option to change your LinkedIn URL and I highly recommend you use it because otherwise, your profile link will be your name followed by some gibberish numbers, which is not refined. Go to ‘Edit your public profile’ option and in the upper right corner you will find an option to edit URL.
Pro Tip: Don’t use numbers and birthdates, but try to use your initials or your designation or maybe a location to customize your URL to make it look professional.
Step 5: Summarize
I have one word for you and it is summary! LinkedIn gives you space for about 2000 words to summarise yourself and your abilities, to let the viewer get a gist of who you are and what you can do. Don’t just go on to brag about your skill, use a bit of creativity, and keep it short and crisp. The key is to make use of the keywords to attract more viewers from industries related to yours, to view your profile.
Pro Tip: Try and choose between first-person and third person while writing the summary based on your field of professional interest.
Step 6: Describe your experiences
This is basically your online resume. LinkedIn allows you to add the various job experiences you have, along with descriptions to tell your viewers what you did, and what you gained from those roles.
As I mentioned earlier, keyword density is the key, along with the relevance of course. Write a simple and short note to describe what your interviewer would want to hear, using the relevant keywords. LinkedIn uses this in order to suggest a profile to a person looking for people to hire, so it is very important for you to use this space wisely.
Pro Tip: Ideally, base your summary on the following three –
- Context ( About the company and why you wanted to work there)
- Action ( What you did in the company)
- Result ( What you learned and achieved )
Step 7: Mention your skills
List out every relevant skill you have in LinkedIn’s skills section. You can add up to 50 skills and it is recommended you add as many as you can. The more varied skills you have, the more chances recruiters have of finding you.
Take into consideration how companies or recruiters would describe your skill, for instance, some people call it sales, while other people would call it business development. Thus, you could list both to increase opportunities for yourself. You can add or remove skills as when you like, to customize your profile.
Pro Tip: When you edit your skills section, you can also put your cursor on the word “More” at the top of your profile page and scroll down to “Skills & Expertise.” This takes you to a page where you can type in a word and a helpful list of related skills will appear on the left-hand side of the page.
Step 8: Get recommendations
Get a few people you’ve worked with or studied under to give you some recommendations. The benefit is that this appears not only on your page but also on the page of those who recommend you. Thus, it is visible to all their connections as well. This definitely increases your prospects of landing a job through LinkedIn. Similar to your career summary, recommendations also work well if keywords are used and if there are meaty specifics about how well or efficiently you worked with or for someone, though these are not entirely in your hands.
Pro Tip: If you know the person well enough, informing them about the field you are going to pursue will enable them to write their recommendations accordingly.
Step 9: CONNECT. CONNECT. CONNECT.
All the effort you put into your profile trickles down to your connections. You can go to the ‘My Network’ option and then connect with people you may know, or people who have requested to connect with you. Apart from this, you may also link your LinkedIn profile to your email and then find people in your existing contact list. Another smart way to connect is to look for employees from your dream companies, or the workplaces you want to follow and connect with them to get the latest updates and information. Network with as many people as you can, as this is the very purpose of your LinkedIn account.
Pro Tip: Always remember that LinkedIn should strictly be maintained as a professional account and it shouldn’t be used for personal reasons, regardless of what you may hear and believe.
LinkedIn is a great platform to hire and get hired, and also to keep yourself updated on the professional front. Now that you’ve understood the basics, go out there and do what you do best – be yourself!