Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Achieve LinkedIn All-Star status in 10 steps

By Laura Christianson

With 225 million members worldwide, 10-year-old LinkedIn is the social network for showcasing skills, job experience and education. LinkedIn’s recent redesign organizes your content in tidy modules and introduces options for uploading visual content.

In the olden days of LinkedIn (three months ago), the user’s goal was to create a “100 percent complete profile,” now known as an “All-Star” profile. Follow these 10 simple steps to achieve All-Star status.

Upload your business portrait. LinkedIn users routinely ignore connection requests from people whose profiles don’t display a photo. Claiming you don’t have a good enough picture of yourself is no excuse. If you want to be perceived as a professional, act like one. Invest in a business portrait session with a freelance photographer or photo studio. For around $150, you can obtain the rights to use your headshot in all your marketing materials.

Use your real name. LinkedIn’s database alphabetizes connections by last name followed by first name. If people know you by your nickname but you use your full name in a work environment, put your nickname in parentheses: Jonathan (Jon) Doe. It is acceptable to include a title such as Dr. or Rev. 

Craft an enticing headline. After your name and photo, your headline is the single most-viewed element on your LinkedIn profile. The headline displays prominently on your profile, in search results, messages, groups, invitations to connect, company page employee listings and in popups when LinkedIn users hover over your image. 

When you write your headline, ask, “What words and phrases would someone who’s searching for me use?” Highlight your expertise with those keywords in your 120-character headline. Make your profile searchable by entering your geographic location and industry directly below the headline.

Summarize your expertise and experience. You get 2,000 characters (a little more than half the length of this article) to introduce yourself. You can upload or link to portfolios, presentations, photos and videos from providers including Pinterest, Forbes, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, Scribd, Slideshare, Word and more. 

Describe three job positions. In the Experience module, add your current position and two previous positions. As you begin typing your company name, LinkedIn auto-searches for a corresponding Company Page. When you select that Company Page, your profile will link directly to it and will list you as an employee. 

Tips 6-10 and the complete article

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