Steering the Right Course for Your LinkedIn Profile
Whether you’re setting up your LinkedIn account now, or you’ve already filled in a lot of the blanks, take a critical look at what you’re entering in order to steer the right course with this powerful tool.
No doubt reminiscing online with old friends is fun. That’s what Facebook is for.
Think of your LinkedIn presence as a firehose: If you don’t aim it in the right direction, you could do some damage to your image.
With LinkedIn you need to keep your professional objectives at top of mind to put yourself into the best light. This will open your online presence to success-targeted interactions and connections.
Just Say No to Automated Email Import & Network Invitations
After entering your basic name, zip code and employment status info, LinkedIn will offer to import all of your contacts right from your email account, and give you the option of automatically inviting these contacts to join your network with one click.
It’s a tempting time-saver, but don’t do it – for a few good reasons:
Look at your email list. Do you really need to connect with the carpet cleaner you used in 2007? What about your sister’s co-worker’s niece who asked you to bring your 5-Alarm Chili to that Superbowl party?
Even someone you met at a legitimate business event might not qualify as a helpful LinkedIn connection.
I recommend selecting only a small number of high quality contacts, and waiting a bit before connecting with others. Think about why you are creating your online presence on LinkedIn. Can this particular person help you:
- Keep current on industry news?
- Show off your particular expertise?
- Find great professional referrals?
- Promote your events?
- Recommend people to others?
- Get hired for a job, consultancy or business transaction?
If not, skip them for now. You can always invite them later when you’re more familiar with the power of LInkedIn.
Send a Personal Message to The Select Few
Send a personal message to each of your few selected contacts, inviting them to join your LinkedIn network. Refer to an event you both attended or some other commonality. Make it personal, but businesslike
Be Careful with Facebook and Twitter Contacts
Unless your social media accounts have always been strictly for business and every one of your posts has been professional and business-related, I advise against connecting automatically with friends from these sources. Twitter contact connections are particularly hazardous since you have no control over who follows you.
Go through these contacts critically, with your only business objectives in mind. And when you find a selected contact who can truly benefit you, send them a personal invitation, not an automated one.
Make Your Job History Keyword-Friendly
Use appropriate, searchable keywords when describing your job responsibilities. Include 3-letter acronyms in parentheses after the written out word, like “Pay-per-click (PPC)”. This will help the LinkedIn search algorithm show you to people searching these terms.
Your Education & Skills
Your college stats are important here. However, entering your High School name and year will prompt LInkedIn to offer former classmates who are on LinkedIn now – and you’ll appear to them as well.
Don’t get distracted by thoughts of connecting with your old girlfriend – unless of course she’s a powerful CEO in your industry. Even then, think carefully about the pros and cons of this connection.
Keep using keywords and phrases when listing your skills, and use as many of the suggested skills offered as you can to search-optimize your profile.
LinkedIn will now start to recommend new connections to you, based on what you’ve entered. This sidebar will continue to update automatically based on your response to its suggested connections. Now isn’t that nice? No more slogging through a bunch of info that has nothing to do with your objectives: LinkedIn automatically offers you targeted information and saves you a lot of time in the process.
Now you’ve got a good start on your LinkedIn profile. You used search keywords, you’ve stayed consistent with your objectives, and you’ve been prudent with your invitations.
Tell your old girlfriend I said hi.