Submitted by Alex on October 4, 2012 – 3:03 pmNo Comment | 9,325 views
As of June 2012, LinkedIn has more than 175 million registered users in over 200 countries and territories. This makes LinkedIn one of the most important and successful social networking websites for people in professional occupations. Indeed, LinkedIn is regarded by many people to be one important channel to network with other professionals, to exchange information, to find jobs, or to do business. Whereas some people just discovered this social networking website and have only a handful of contact, others maintain thousands of different business contacts already.
Still, networking with LinkedIn requires a good and effective profile. The profile is the first thing people will see, and it intends to give important information about you in a nutshell, who your are, what your strengths and competencies are, and where you come from. It should be an invitation for others to get to know you better, to connect, and to build a long-lasting relationship.
One of the most important features of your profile is your picture, which allow people to make a first impression of you. Your picture should ideally communicate business, so it is advisable to be dressed for business on your picture and to keep it serious, and to express competence. The main question you can ask yourself (or perhaps some of your friends) is whether you would do business with yourself, if you saw that picture for the first time.
Your summary is likely to be read first. Therefore, you may want to write here everything you think is important for others to know first and at a glance. The summary may contain anything from a short summary of your experience, to projects you have been working on, results booked in the recent years, or your strengths. An important thing to remember is that many people will land on your profile by searching for keywords, so it is advisable to insert keywords in your summary under which you would like appear in the search results.
Your experience demonstrates what you have done in the past. Your experience should elaborate on the companies you have worked for and the positions you have held. You can either elaborate your experiences more with bullet points, describing your major achievements in each position. Depending on where you stand at the moment, you may want to omit any experience which is not relevant to the position you are currently holding, or which is not relevant to the direction you want to grow into. For example, an Executive Director who is looking for his next career move would most likely not want to mention his internship, which he did more than twenty years ago.
Another great benefit of filling out your experience as much as possible is that it allows current and former colleagues to find you more easily and connect with you.
Skills & Expertise
Skills and expertise are an excellent way to provide simple keywords of what you believe you do well, and areas where you can potentially provide a benefit to others. Skills and expertise can be anything, from language skills to IT expertise, to project management experience or designing space shuttles.
Your education will reflect your academic achievements, whether you have a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s, MBA, CFA, ACCA, or any other type of certificate or diploma; this is where you can mention them in order to demonstrate your qualifications in any other field.
Good news often spreads through word of mouth. In LinkedIn, you can have yourself recommended by a (former) colleague or manager, or someone you have dealt with in a professional way. Positive recommendations show the other users that you are being trusted by others, and that you are being valued. You can also write a recommendation for someone you have done business with in return.
Joining groups is an excellent way to discuss various topics within your industry, or interest. Potentially, you may get into a discussion with people, and potentially connect with them. If you want to, you can have the groups you are a member of displayed on your profile, so that others can see you are active in your field, and active on LinkedIn in general.
At all times, it is important to keep your profile up-to-date, to modify your experience, your summary, your skills and expertise when necessary. You may even want to update your picture from time to time, or write comments for your network to read. Furthermore, it is common sense to answer any contact requests or mails quickly. LinkedIn is business oriented social network, and as with any kind of networking you will need to remain active and pro-active.
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