For those of you who don’t know – LinkedIn is a social networking platform focused around business. It can be used to grow and develop connections within your industry, showcase your experience and find new opportunities. If you think it is a place to post photos of your cat or look for dates, you are in the wrong place. With that in mind – lets look at how to make your profile an ‘All Star’.
How to get a LinkedIn All Star account
I use LinkedIn regularly and I would like to share my experience with you. Like with any system – the more you put in, the more you can get out. If you are prepared to put in some effort with your LinkedIn profile it can give huge returns. Many of my recent professional experiences in the last couple of years have been down to people and organisations I have connected with via LinkedIn. In my use of LinkedIn I see a lot of poorly completed profiles that do not showcase the skills or experience of the individual. The more information you add into your profile the more relevant it is. Therefore try to complete each section as much as you can you can with relevant information. Here are some tips on how to complete each section correctly to make your profile reach ‘All Star’ status:
This will be the title information people will see about you. You will need to enter:
- Your name
- Current position
- Education (if you choose to show it)
- Region and industry.
- Pronoun (optional)
This is also where you should add a photo of yourself and a background picture. Notice I said a photo of yourself – not your baby, pets or car. Think of it as if you have been asked to send a photo with a job application. I am no professional photographer but a well-lit photo with a neutral background is best. If you are using a mobile phone try using the ‘portrait’ setting which will emphasise you in the foreground and slightly blur the background. Standing or sitting at angles to the camera with your face turned towards the camera gives the photo a better look, try not to face straight on – its not a passport photo after-all.
For a relevant and good quality background or banner photos check out royalty-free sites such as www.pexels.com
A note on headlines: Your headline defaults to your current job position and your current company. You may notice some people change their headlines to a long descriptive sentence. I don’t know how this originated but it’s not a good idea and here’s why: When you send a connection request or interact in any way with a post – this is all people see. Therefore, they don’t know what your position is or where you work. So having a headline like: “a passionate goal orientated highly skilled professional with 25 years experience” may sound great but it will decrease the amount of connections, interaction and views you get – it makes you less relevant and actually a bit annoying… I would recommend leaving the headline as the default and saving the descriptive sentences for your ‘about’ section.
Post nominal letters: LinkedIn currently does not have a specific section for post nominal letters. If you have post nominal letters you would like use most people just add them after their name. This does not impact on the visibility of your profile or the ability of your profile to be found in searches so is the best workaround.
This is a section for you to explain who you are, what you do and how you got to where you are. Highlight any particular experiences or steps you have taken. Showcase any photos, screen grabs or newspaper clips. You have worked hard to get where you are – use this section to show it.
Use this section to showcase and highlight your past and present employment roles. Add the company, job title and duration. If you have been promoted within a company add this as a separate role and it will be displayed as a change in role. It is a great way to show how you progressed at a company. Be sure to use the text boxes to explain the role, the responsibilities you had and the tasks you would need to complete.
This is primarily for higher education (degrees) any non-degree qualification should be put in the ‘Licenses and Certifications’ section (see below). Search and select the relevant school or university from the drop down and select the degree type e.g. bachelors, from the drop down. Do not just type in the degree type as, if you do this, it will not be searchable and less people will find your profile. Again, use the description box to add details or the course, unit titles and experience gained. If this is a new qualification don’t forget the ‘Share with network’ button at the bottom! Share with your network to promote your new qualification! Your contacts will be able to ‘like’ and comment on the update. It is a great way to interact with your connections.
Licenses and Certifications
Here you can add any licenses or training certificates you have gained. Again – keep it relevant – you may be proud of your cycling proficiency or 2 length-swimming certificate but if they are not directly relevant to your role – leave them out. Do add any in-house training you have received or training such as health and safety.
Do you volunteer your time out of work? Perhaps you manage a child’s football team or help at a charity. Add your volunteer experience here – it may not seem relevant but it can illustrate additional skills and responsibilities you have.
Skills & Endorsements
This is probably the most under-used parts of LinkedIn and yet is probably the most important. Add your skills!! This is where you can list all the specific skills you have. If you are skilled at a task add it – it is not boasting to state you are skilled in Customer Service or Accounts if you are. Once you have added skills your contacts can endorse you by simply viewing your profile and clicking on them. It shows they have worked with you enough to know you do have the stated skill.
Also, don’t forget to endorse your own connections! Once you have connected with someone be sure to view their profile and endorse them for skills. This is a great way to grow your professional relationship with your contacts. It also adds a link back to your profile from the endorsement you have just given. So the great thing is the more people you endorse the more links back to your profile are generated!
Add as many people as you know. Synchronising your email contacts is the easiest – 50 or more contacts are required for ‘All Star’ status.
This is another vastly under-used part of LinkedIn, which should not be forgotten. If you have worked closely with a company or a contact – ask for a recommendation. Your contacts can write you a recommendation that will appear on your profile.
Also, don’t forget to also give recommendations! If a contact has given you exceptional service or is exceptionally skilled – then say it! Write them a recommendation. This will be displayed on their profile with a link back to you. The more recommendations you give the more links back to your profile you get! You benefit your contacts with your words and you benefit with an added link back to your profile.
Here you can add any additional information such as Honours & Awards, Organisations you belong to, Publications and Projects you have completed or been part of.
Interests and Groups
When you follow a company or join a group they will be displayed in this section. Search for relevant companies and follow them – this will add them to your interests and improve your home screen feed with their updates. Also searching and joining relevant groups can also be a great source of information. You will find new people with a similar interest to you and will give you the opportunity to interact.
Public Profile and URL
Last but not least you will need to determine how much (or little) of your profile will be displayed publicly. Use the buttons to show or hide each section to anyone who is not already connected to you.
Remember to customise your public URL (web address). Many people leave this as a default but you can change it to make it more relevant to you and what you do. This is what you can display and promote on your business cards, email footer or website. So long as your account is open the URL is unique to your profile.
With all this in place your profile will gain the ‘All Star’ status and attract more views giving you the chance to interact with more people and gain more opportunities. You are now ready to like, comment, post and write articles, remember LinkedIn is a social platform so interact and be social!
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