There was a time when only recruiters and employers took an active role on LinkedIn. In the early days of the world’s largest professional online network, simply publishing your work history was enough to be found on LinkedIn. Career professionals would periodically visit the site to update new employment information, or to congratulate peers on promotions or new roles.
Today, LinkedIn is the “Facebook” of the global professional community. Being active on the social site requires additional and persistent effort on a weekly basis, but that effort is rewarded with so much more for business professionals and organizations. But many professionals are still confused as to how to actively participate in LinkedIn, and realize the inherent advantages for sales, recruitment, new job opportunities, volunteering and networking.
There are three essential steps to turning an inactive LinkedIn profile into an optimized business and career tool. LinkedIn provides a free rating of your “profile strength” found in the top right hand corner of your page.
LinkedIn rates each profile based on five levels of strength:
1) Just beginning
5) All Star
Getting your profile to the “All Star” level distinguishes you as a career professional who cares about your personal branding. But reaching that level isn’t as hard as many people think it is. By following these six steps, you can quickly upgrade your rating, and the impression you make with colleagues, other businesses and prospective employers.
- Add your industry and your geographic location (city and state/province or region).
- Completely fill out the employment details of at least (2) previously held positions.
- Concisely fill out the details of your education, awards and accomplishments (including volunteer roles in college or university, or present community causes)
- Indicate a minimum of five skills that you have mastered, that are relevant to your role.
- Upload a quality and updated profile picture.
- Connect with a minimum of fifty (50) colleagues, former team members, or professionals in your network on LinkedIn.
Once you have uploaded the information, your profile strength will be updated immediately on LinkedIn. In business practice, get in the habit of connecting with other professionals you have worked with routinely. Simply find them in LinkedIn by name or company name search, and send them an invitation to connect.
Tips for Creative Professionals
If your role involves creative services, including writing, graphic or website design, marketing or public relations, upload a select number of examples to your profile. Choose your best work to visually demonstrate the type of campaigns you have been involved with, and list some brief notes about the work. Add to this portfolio on a regular basis. When you do, LinkedIn will automatically publish any update to your profile, encouraging peers, employers and other professionals to “have a look”, which will increase your profile views, invitations to connect and possible new career opportunities.
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