Getting Started with your LinkedIn Profile
A LinkedIn profile helps you
- Showcase your skills and experience
- Be found for new business opportunities
- Stay in touch with colleagues and friends
To get started, simply go to LinkedIn.com, and complete the registration form with your First and Last Name, Email address, and desired password.
Be prepared to fill in the information shown below.
LinkedIn will now walk you through several optional steps. These are exactly that, optional. You may skip them and come back. Please note a basic, free account is all that is required. You do NOT need to sign up for a Premium Account.
Make Your Profile Shine
Here’s some additional information we recommend you add.
The goal is to strive for a 100% complete profile. LinkedIn does a very good job of walking you through the necessary steps to help you achieve this goal. The following are aspects of your profile you will want to include. You do NOT have to enter everything all at once.
LinkedIn photos must be a headshot picture of just you. It’s an exquisite place to show some style. Uploading and cropping are easy. The final picture is 400×400 pixels (enlarged), so details matter. Tip: This photo is meant to show you at your professional – not personal – best. Check out this guide to make sure you get the right photo.
Like a headline in the newspaper, your LinkedIn profile headline should really grab their attention. Don’t accept the default that LinkedIn provides like “Title at Company”. Use compelling, colorful words, and key phrases to attract viewers. Answer This: Why should people choose to do business with you?
The summary is a conversation between you and the viewer – it’s from you vs. about you, and it should never be written in the third person.
- Who are you?
- What are you like?
- How do you help others?
- How can they help you?
Include current, relevant information in a high-level overview. Be interesting and a little personal with limited historical info. End it with a Call-To-Action about what you want them to do, such as “Call me at 555-345-1212.” Tip: This should also contain keywords to make it easier for people to find you.
List all your relevant paid and volunteer positions since college to create the most opportunities. Career progression at the same company? Use the highest title and include job progression in the job description. Do NOT upload your resume as it will cause massive, unnecessary editing. Limit the use of statistics and list years only for dates. It’s okay to move positions around if your most important ones are not at the top (grab/drop). For each position, answer the following:
- What does the company do?
- Who do they do it for? (customers)
- Where do they do it? (territory)
- What was your role and what made you special?
List 3 URLs to specific websites, even if they are on the same site. Rename the label on each link to something more attractive. To do so, select “Other” as the label name rather than “My Website” and LinkedIn lets you add customized link text. For example, mine are “Pathfinders Advertising,” “My Blogs,” or “Work with me.”
Groups and Associations
A list of industry, professional, and social organizations with whom you have any affiliation. List these organizations with commas in between them to make these words clickable links. Include the full spelling as well as the ACRONYM if it applies. This is a text field, not LinkedIn Groups (see “Join LinkedIn Groups and Follow Companies” below). Example: Young Professionals Network, YPN; American Marketing Association, AMA
You should have at least five recommendations and you may need to ask for 20-25 to get there. Kudos from customers and superiors are the best. Ask them to describe a project with some specifics (numbers) and highlight your positive contribution. Make it about 3-4 sentences. Tip: Get a recommendation by giving a recommendation to someone else!
Skills are famous now, for better or worse, because of the LinkedIn Endorsements that you are prompted with every time you visit a profile. You may list up to 50 skills and they can be single words or sets of words. Think “keywords” when picking skills you will list. People will be endorsing these, perhaps even people you don’t know.
Organizations and Causes
Want to share what motivates you with others? It’s good for business. List the causes you care about and those that others might find interesting. It’s a great way to bond with like-minded individuals, people you will really enjoy.
If you are in a field with “Certs,” by all means include them. This LinkedIn section asks for Certification (Professional Certified Marketer, PCM®), the Certification Authority (American Marketing Association), and the License Number (if you have it). Fill in the dates (years only) unless it never expires.
Join LinkedIn Groups and Follow Companies
You may join as many as 50 LinkedIn Groups; we suggest at least 5 to 10 to start with. Join large groups in your region, industry, profession, and those catering to your personal interests. This is a great way to connect with people with similar interests. Following companies gives you greater insight on the company as well as the company’s network of employees. While you’re at it, give Pathfinders Advertising a follow!
Connect with People Outside Your Network
As a newcomer, make sure you don’t just connect with people you know – reach outside of your network and connect with people in companies you would like to do business with. And when you do, please include a custom invite message tailored to the individual you want to connect with. Do NOT use the generic one LinkedIn suggest. Finally, remember to stay in touch by sending them a message or commenting on their updates so you stay top of mind. Tip: Add any person you meet to your LinkedIn profile within 24 hours. People are most likely to connect with you immediately after meeting you.
See. Easy, right?