Photo: Nan Palmero
Although it doesn’t get as much attention as Facebook, LinkedIn is a great social network for both businesses and professionals. LinkedIn is particularly helpful if you’re interested in taking your career to the next level. And really, who isn’t?
Last week, I had the opportunity to listen to LinkedIn expert Lisa Dalla Vecchia at an IABC/BC volunteer appreciation event. Lisa, who is currently the Alumni & Career Communications Manager at SFU Beedie School of Business, gave some tips about LinkedIn and how to leverage this platform to enhance your online profile.
I’m already a huge fan of using LinkedIn to enhance personal branding, so I was really surprised to learn about many features that I wasn’t aware of. Based on Lisa’s presentation and what I know about this professional platform, here’s how you can rock this often under-utilized platform.
1. Complete your LinkedIn profile.
Your presence on LinkedIn should be more than just about replicating what’s already on your resumé.
Lisa reiterates that LinkedIn can help establish your online presence and define your professional brand. Use the “summary” section to communicate your passion and what makes you unique. Define your brand by reflecting on what people usually ask your help for. Do that, and you’re one step closer to defining what makes you stand out.
Make your LinkedIn profile more powerful by avoiding overused buzzwords. Show, don’t tell.
Hot Tip: If necessary, turn off your activity broadcasts. This is helpful if you’re doing a lot of updates or if your boss is in network and you don’t want him or her to see your profile updates.
When filling out your profile:
- Use a professional photo. What works on Facebook probably won’t work on LinkedIn
- List your expertise. Think keywords when filling up the “Specialties” section. Lisa recommends adding your top specialties but not going overboard. You don’t want to appear scattered!
- Install applications. You can include apps to your LinkedIn profile to showcase your WordPress blog, SlideShare presentations, and Behance portfolio.
- Showcase your achievements. When describing previous and current experience, go beyond listing your tasks. Describe your achievements and how you accomplished them. See job opening descriptions if you’re not sure where to start with this part of your LinkedIn profile.
- Show off your education. Mention any majors and minors you have in addition to adding your educational institution. Lisa recommends not listing your GPA unless you’re an accounting or finance student. List your awards and honours.
- Fill out the “Additional Information”. Mention any key interests you have.
- List trade associations or interest groups you currently belong to.
- Add links to your websites. Include a link to your blog, portfolio or other social media profiles. Include your Twitter information if you’re comfortable doing so.
Hot tip: When adding websites to your LinkedIn profile, edit the default ‘My Website’ label to provide more information about where your guests are being redirected (e.g. Say “marketing portfolio” vs “kcclaveria.com”). This information is helpful to people viewing your profile, and it is a good SEO tactic.
- Set up your profile’s privacy settings. If you make your profile public, it will appear on a Google search, usually within the first page.
- Claim your profile’s vanity URL. Lisa recommends something consistent with your other social accounts.
- Make it easy for others to get in touch by including your contact information. Add things such as your phone number, address, birthday, and marital status to the “Personal Information” section.
- Fill up your contact settings. Include your availability, the types of opportunities you are looking for, and what information you’d like to see included in a request.
Hot tip: You can move stuff around on your LinkedIn profile. Why is this important? This lets you showcase the most important things first — potential employers and recruiters are not likely to read everything on your LinkedIn profile. To do this, go to “Edit Profile,” click the section you’d like to move, and drag it to its new location.