I’m sure most of you are familiar with LinkedIn by now; even if you have yet to join at least you’ve most likely heard about it. LinkedIn has become one of the top three social media networks among Twitter and FaceBook and is the world’s largest online professional LinkedIn Logonetwork. It’s a great tool for creating, developing and maintaining business relationships. As I recently was working on a presentation of using social media in business for a client, I thought I would share six quick tips to help you create a better LinkedIn profile.

  1. Add a picture. LinkedIn is about individuals so it looks odd when someone’s LinkedIn profile has a faceless silhouette rather than an actual photograph. A photograph not only personalizes your profile, it completes it.
  2.  Finish Your Profile and keep it current. If you are currently using LinkedIn, or at a minimum signed up for it, finish your profile. Your profile should display 100% Complete. If not, LinkedIn makes it easy with a profile wizard. Even though LinkedIn has many features, your profile is still one of the most compelling reasons to use the website, which is why LinkedIn is one of the best searchable databases of businesspeople available. And if you want to be found by others, you need to make sure that your data is complete and current. Fill out your profile completely and accurately. Just like your resume, it’s critical that people can find out key info about you. It helps when people are deciding to hire you, do business with you, or make referrals to you.
  3. Edit your headline. As the second line on your profile, just below your name, there is a space for your professional “headline.” It appears in search results next to your name. The Headline’s communication power is great, think of the Headline as your professional tagline. Be creative, it is an opportunity to more specifically describe the type professional you are and the type of work you do.
  4.  Don’t hide. All your search engine optimization will go to waste if you hide your profile. The two things that people do when researching business associates they have not met is Google them and search for their LinkedIn profile. Change the settings on your profile to “Full View” so your profile can be fully indexed by the search engines.
  5. Email addresses. Be sure to add both your professional (work) email address as well as a personal one. In the case that you suddenly lose your job this will ensure that when you leave the company you will still have access to your LinkedIn account.
  6.  Personalize your URL. Change your LinkedIn profile URL from the default set of numbers to your name. This helps people find you when they search for your name within LinkedIn as well as in Google and other search engines. By default, your LinkedIn URL will be alpha-numeric gibberish. A LI URL that includes your name is far more user friendly. You can personalize your LI URL by clicking “Settings,” then “Public Profile” under “Profile Settings.” I suggest you use the following: www.linkedin.com/in/FirstNameLastName. A personalized URL is more marketable, more professional, and easier to remember.

If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you should take the plunge. It is very easy to create and maintain a presence on LinkedIn. Use it to create, develop and maintain business relationships and to create awareness of yourself among potential clients, employers and peers in your field. LinkedIn allows you to demonstrate your competence and expertise and helps to manage and control your online reputation.

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