If Facebook and Twitter face towards your customer base, then LinkedIn faces towards your colleagues, suppliers, would-be employers and business contacts in any field and your LinkedIn Profile is becoming more and more important.
On Linked in you can connect with people you may be working with now, contacts you may make in the future, and people who you know, if they knew more about you, would most likely want to do business with you. LinkedIn is also a great way of re-connecting with those you have worked with in the past.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as showing your face to the business world, who you are, where you’re working, your past experience, references and connections. You wouldn’t send out a resume half finished or badly presented, so your LinkedIn profile, which can act as an adjunct to your resume, needs to be up-to-date, well presented and inviting to those who happen upon it.
1. Your LinkedIn profile picture – and yes you do need one, needs to be both professional and friendly. It’s the face you show to the online business world. Don’t try and be too clever with this one – you don’t have to have a professionally taken picture, but a really clear picture of your face, preferably with a smile.
You can be formally or casually dressed but the picture has to be of you, looking at the camera. Ask yourself. Would I want to do business with me if I saw this pic? If the answer is no, then change it. And don't think for a second you can get away without a profile picture. You simply can't, as people will think that you're trying to hide something.
2. Your History and Experience – Get it all up there and keep it updated. Think of it as your resume (again). Anyone could see it. If it’s not informative and updated visitors to your page will think you can’t be bothered….and leave.
3. Your Summary – This is where you write the most about yourself. Keep it relevant, concise and informative. If you’re not sure about writing about yourself then draft something out and ask someone to read it and edit if necessary. Not everyone can or likes to write, let alone about themselves, but your information is essential and it needs to be very readable.
4. List your Skills and Specialities – Not only does this tell people about you, but it gives you the opportunity to show your voice and tell visitors more about you. Don’t be bashful, list them all in a professional way.
5. Network and Connect – Find people you’ve done business with, you are doing business with, or you’d like to work with. Look for colleagues past and present. Join Groups that interest you, and where you think you may find like-minded people. You never know when you will have the opportunity to travel or meet up and being part of the same LinkedIn Group can give you an introduction where otherwise you might not have one, to someone, somewhere you would like to connect with.
Look at LinkedIn as a business opportunity, which it is. It’s waiting to be utilised. And best of all it’s free.
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