LinkedIn is like any other social network; you have to put time and effort into your LinkedIn presence if you hope to make connections, generate business leads or accomplish other business-related goals. Creating a profile is a crucial first step, but after that, you’ve got to spend time optimizing your profile, as well as maintaining an active presence on the site in order to stay visible—and relevant—in a fast-moving stream of content and activity.
The good news? There are a number of changes you can make to your LinkedIn profile now that will make your experience on the site more fruitful and productive. Ready to dive in?
6 Changes To Make To Your LinkedIn Profile Today
- Update your profile. When’s the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Even if it was yesterday, it’s always a good idea to keep your LinkedIn profile updated. After all, every time you perform any activity on LinkedIn, that information is shared with people in your network and you appear in the stream. And with each appearance, it’s like a little tap on the shoulder to all of your connections that says, “Hey! I’m here! Check me out, won’t you?”
- Explain your positions and experiences. I do a lot of LinkedIn training for clients, and one of the most common mistakes I see is that people treat their profiles as resumes. Stop it! This is the place to show what you’ve done and what you can do. If you’re looking for a job, this is the perfect space in which to demonstrate your skills to a prospective employer and help that person get a better idea of what you bring to the table. Even if you’re not currently looking for a job, it pays off to give your connections a complete and comprehensive view of your professional skill set.
- Write a recommendation. Take a few minutes to write a recommendation for a friend or colleague. Not only is it a great way to pay it forward, but you’ll also likely get a recommendation in return. These testimonials are effective additions to your LinkedIn profile because they give your connections a glimpse into the experience that others have had while working with you, and regardless of the social networking platform, word of mouth testimonials are undeniably powerful.
- Add an application. LinkedIn offers a number of apps to help you add depth to your profile. Share what you’re reading, embed your SlideShare presentations, showcase your WordPress blog or add a poll. Other applications are available for specific industries, including Legal Updates, Real Estate Pro and Lawyer Ratings. I usually recommend placing these apps toward the bottom of your profile so that they don’t distract from your work experience and history.
- Expand your connections. When’s the last time you sent requests for new connections? Let LinkedIn do the work for you by entering your email address and password, and the site will automatically scan your address book for contacts. You can also click on the “People You May Know” section at the top right of your homepage. A piece of advice? Don’t send someone the generic request to connect. Take just a few seconds to write a personalized message—that little effort will go a long, long way.
- Join a group. LinkedIn Groups not only offer networking opportunities, but also a place in which to demonstrate your skills and expertise. Find a group based on your education, your industry, your interests or other criteria. And once you’ve joined, stay active! Post content that you think group members will enjoy. Participate in conversations. Make additional connections. Again, anything you can do to stay active and visible on LinkedIn will make your experience that much more worthwhile, regardless of your goals in using the site.
Now that you’ve got your work cut out for you, head on over to LinkedIn and spend some time on your profile. I can’t emphasize enough how powerful a tool LinkedIn can be when it comes to making and maintaining professional connections, as well as generating business leads and new business development, but it’s all about what you put into LinkedIn that determines what you’ll get out of the site.
Image courtesy of smi23le via Creative Commons