LinkedIn offers a wealth of access to individuals and companies across a wide variety of industries around the world. You’ve heard of it as the social network for professionals and even have some friends who use it. After wondering what all the buzz is about with LinkedIn, you finally fold and create an account. Now what do you do? LinkedIn might guide you through simple steps but how deep should you actually get into LinkedIn to start? Follow these five easy steps to get started and you’ll be a LinkedIn All Star before you know it.

setting up LinkedIn Profile

  1. Take a clear headshot photo using a high quality camera, not your cell phone. If all you have is your computer or cell phone camera then fine—for now. Just make sure you have a clear image to start. Do NOT use your Facebook or any other social media profile image that you wouldn’t want your boss or potential employer to see.When taking your photo, sit in front of a plain wall or backdrop. Make sure you’re not in front of a mirror that could otherwise reflect other items in the room with you. Definitely do not take a bathroom selfie dressed in half a suit and boxer shorts! You only need a clear image from the shoulders up. Wear a polo, shirt and tie with jacket, or blouse. Have someone take the photo or use auto-capture. No selfies! If you can get to a local photo studio for your headshot, do it!
  1. Update your experience, education, skills, and certificates at minimum. Be sure to include accomplishments for each position, project, or volunteer experience listed. Note* the link and document features are for you to showcase items from your professional portfolio. Do not link to the website or work of others. If you don’t have content for this, don’t worry about it.
  1. Write a compelling summary that lets visitors know who you are, your experience, and what you do now. Summary lengths vary. Think of this as your resume snapshot. People may not choose to explore your profile further beyond the summary. In addition, the summary will help you to show up in search results. Use key words that are relevant to your experience and your industry.
  1. Review your privacy settings. Make sure your public profile is what you want people to view as they arrive to your profile. Update your communication settings including your email notifications, what you’re interested in being contacted about, who can contact you, and tips for contacting.
  1. Invite friends to connect! LinkedIn is about networking. Connect with people you know or have worked with. If you especially have a particular interest in getting closer to reaching any company, connect with people who are professionals you know even if not in your immediate industry. You never know who may know someone that knows someone that can introduce you to that right someone.

Once you’ve connected with others you’ll start to see more updates on LinkedIn. Engage and interact with these updates! Let people know you’re active so that you are top of mind for the next business opportunity. Stay in touch with your connections sending a private message time to time. Once in a while take a gander at who’s viewed your profile and send a short message to introduce yourself if they don’t reach out first. LinkedIn is about helping professionals maintain relationships. After all, people do business with those who they know first before they seek out strangers for an opportunity. When you’re top of mind you may be one of the first contacted about an opportunity. Be genuine in your interactions with connections. The more active you are and the more content coming from you on LinkedIn, the more likely your profile will show up in search, the more people will remember you, and the more you will benefit from this social network. Are you a LinkedIn All Star? What are your tips for a beginner on LinkedIn? If you’re new, what questions do you have? Let us know in the comments!

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*image source: Great Occupations


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