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LinkedIn is the top social network for professionals with 135 million members and counting. It’s not just a place to display your resume of current and past achievements in your career, but a network you can use to reach out and connect with other professionals in your industry. You can use it to facilitate job inquiries, include it on your paper resume, connect with current or past colleagues, receive recommendations, generate leads, find partners, and so much more.
Your LinkedIn Profile
The first thing you want on LinkedIn is a strong profile. The following are areas you will want to ensure you use to their fullest extent in order to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Your headline is what comes up in search results within the LinkedIn network, and it is also going to be your first impression on new connections requests that you send. You will want to put what it is you do, whether it is accounting, search optimization, legal advice, etc. here so that people will know who you are and why they want to connect with you.
When it comes to your photo, I would suggest using a picture that people would recognize, such as the same picture you use for your Gravatar (for blog commenting), Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You will want people to easily recognize you across all of your social media properties, including LinkedIn. This photo should be a professional one that displays your face clearly which should help people feel they can trust you. This means skip the sunglasses or heavy shadows, unless you are in the fashion or art industry!
Current and Past Jobs
Be sure to use these areas to highlight what you are good at doing and what you want to be known for. If your goal is to show your expertise in real estate, you can probably skip adding any jobs that do not relate to this field unless they showcase your adaptation to growth and transition.
Let people know your education background, but don’t just limit it to high school and college. Include any certifications you have received which relate to your industry.
While there are default ways to add your websites to your LinkedIn profiles using the words My Website, My Company, and My Blog, I highly suggest NOT using those. Instead, use the Other option so you can customize the text which links to your website.
Keep in mind that this really has nothing to do with having keyword anchor text SEO value. Rather, you want people to make your text something that people will want to go and check out.
Don’t use one of your website links for your Twitter. Instead, add your Twitter account via the Twitter settings.
This will also allow you to incorporate your tweets as status updates. If you don’t think every tweet should go through your LinkedIn account, you can select the option to only share tweets ending in #in instead so you don’t clog up your connections news feeds with a lot Twitter-only chatter.
Summary & Specialties
This area allows you to sum up why people should connect and do business with you. Again, this isn’t your resume, so don’t just state that you’re looking for a job in a particular field. Write a few paragraphs that summarize your expertise and passion for your industry.
Custom Profile URL & Privacy Settings
Be sure to customize your profile URL so it is easy to share. If possible, make it your name so you can have a URL that is http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.
Also, make your privacy settings as open as you are comfortable with so people can learn more about you and see why they would want to connect with you. Remember that anything not set to public will not be viewable by anyone but your connections. If your entire profile is private, then no one new may get the chance to know you.
If you have a personal or business blog on WordPress, then you can use the WordPress Application on LinkedIn to show either your most recent posts.
You can applications by going under the More menu at the top of your LinkedIn homepage. This is a great way to share your latest blog posts with visitors to your profile.
Amazon for Authors
If you have published a book, you can use the Amazon Application to showcase your latest two books right on your profile.
This is a great way to share that you are a published author with your connections, even if it is just a Kindle book.
Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for Search
One last thing to remember when it comes to filling out your LinkedIn profile is the search optimization elements that you have control of. Utilizing these in addition to setting your profile as public will allow your profile to come up in search results on Google or other search engines.
The strongest SEO elements on your profile are your name, which appears as the SEO title for your profile page, the filename of your profile image, and the job titles of your current & past employment. These will help your profile rank for your name and will also help them rank well for the keywords used in your job titles as well, both on search engines and within LinkedIn’s own search results.
There’s much more to LinkedIn besides your profile. Next week, we will look at the top activities you can do on LinkedIn to continue building your professional brand.