When we’re talking about social media, LinkedIn typically takes a backseat to more leisure-friendly platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. But for professionals, particularly young professionals, that could be a mistake. We asked Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn’s director of corporate communications, for some tips to get the most out of the career-oriented networking site.
Do: Upload a profile picture. Your profile is 14 percent more likely to be viewed if there is a photo attached to it. That being said, keep it classy.
“Unless you are a veterinarian, your profile shouldn’t have a photo of you and your dog,” Fisher says.
Do: Think in terms of the present. Fisher says the platform isn’t just for job seekers, it’s for building your overall professional brand each and every day. As you broaden your skillset, you should be updating your profile. If you’re using the site correctly, it’s not just a reflection of your personal brand, but that of the company that employs you. LinkedIn allows you to upload projects you’ve worked on, like slideshows or infographics, as well as publish your own blogs.
“In terms of how you’re writing your summary, you should be thinking about drawing people in to learn more about you and the brand you are working for,” Fisher says.
Do: Keep tabs on your industry. LinkedIn’s Pulse aggregates news in your selected industries of interest and places the content in a feed right at the top of your homepage. Take a minute to go into your settings to select email frequency and choose areas you’re into, and LinkedIn will take care of the rest.
As for what not to do?
Don’t: Be boring.
“One thing I see is that people create their profile and then never update it,” says Fisher. Remember what we said above about focusing on the present? A lack of updates sends the message that your career has stagnated.
“As you evolve professionally, so should your profile,” she says.
Don’t: Ignore your network. While your own profile is important, so is interact with your network. Take a few minutes each day to like a status, endorse a business partner’s skills or give feedback on a blogpost. It’s a subtle way to let people know you are engaged professionally.
Don’t: Build a network without context. When creating your network, you are essentially vouching for other professionals. Fisher recommends connecting only with individuals you would feel comfortable reaching out to for advice or with whom you would want to share ideas.
With over 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn is the largest professional network on the Internet. Chances are, you already have a profile. Now you just need to ensure you’re getting as much out of it as you can.
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