LinkedIn is an excellent business tool. It may not get as much of our attention as some other social media platforms (yes, I’m looking at you Facebook and Twitter), but it definitely is a valuable resource, especially in the workplace.
According to a Forbes article from last summer, the top activity on LinkedIn is industry networking. Being able to network in new ways is an amazing benefit to the social media revolution.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your LinkedIn presence in tip-top shape so your virtual networking experience is as valuable as your in-person networking.
Don’t cut and paste your resume
LinkedIn hooks you into a network. You wouldn’t hand out your resume before introducing yourself, so don’t do it here. Instead, describe your experience and abilities as you would to someone you just met.
Write a personal tagline
That line of text under your name is the first thing people see in your Profile. It follows your name in search hit lists. It’s your brand. (Note: your email address is not a brand!) You might need to refine your professional personality into a more eye-catching phrase that describes who you are at a glance.
Put your elevator pitch to work
That 30-second description, the essence of who you are and what you do, is a personal elevator pitch. Use it in the ‘Summary’ section to engage readers. You’ve got 5-10 seconds to capture their attention. The more meaningful your summary is, the more time you’ll get from readers.
Point out your skills
Think of the ‘Specialties’ field as your personal search engine optimizer. This searchable section is where that list of industry buzzwords from your resume belongs (but don’t use jargon or over-used business phrases). This is also the place to display particular abilities and interests, the personal values you bring to your professional performance, or even a note of humor or passion.
Distinguish yourself from the crowd
Use the ‘Additional Information’ section to round out your Profile with a few key interests. Add websites that showcase your abilities or passions. Then edit the default ‘My Website’ label to encourage click-throughs (you get Google page rankings for those, raising your visibility). Maybe you belong to a trade association or an interest group; help other members find you by naming those groups. If you’re an award winner recognized by peers, customers or employers, add prestige without bragging by listing them here.
Taking a few minutes to develop your LinkedIn profile and revisiting it regularly will be time well spent. It’s a valued resource in the business community and has a very real place in social media alongside Facebook and Twitter.Tagged LinkedIn, Morningstar Communications, Networking, Rachel Spear, social media