Years ago, I set up a LinkedIn account that I barely opened. For me, it was the most “boring” of all social media platforms because nothing “fun” is ever on there. All you get to see are business-y people acting and looking all business-y.
But last year, when I decided to focus on getting myself somewhere (as opposed to running around frantically in circles, not knowing what to do and devouring every task and information I could get my hands on), I set up a LinkedIn account with the goal of actually taking care of it, grooming it, and building my credentials through it – so I could land a job that would align with what I can do and love to do.
So I revved up my “professional” engine and started working on getting my profile set up.
What to do:
- Change your profile picture
Fine. Mine may not be as professional as it should be, but it works. You know why? Because it isn’t some staged stiff photo of myself. That’s a photo of me, smiling, because I can do my job right.
Please.. no cleavage selfies, no drunken party pics, and no bird’s-eye-view photos (because I wanna get to know you, and that’s not going to happen if your forehead’s in the way).
- Add in all relevant work experience
With emphasis on relevant. I mean, since the day I graduated from college and realized that I was on my own (no Mama or Papa or Lola to save my butt), I took on SO. MANY. JOBS. Seriously.. I did! I wrote for people, I did homework for students, created master’s degree theses, spent my days scavenging forums and job boards for gigs. I was restless and thirsty for new, exciting things. But these stuff don’t necessarily need to go into your LinkedIn profile. Select the ones that make sense to your professional goals.
- Label yourself
Labels aren’t always good, but in the professional world, they are. Add in your professional headline. Know what to call yourself, so that when someone visits your profile they’ll know exactly what you do. Make sure that people who land on your profile know who you are and what you do. Also, be discoverable in search. People looking for your expertise may not be able to find you because you didn’t fill out your professional headline.
- Walk the talk
I started a blog about virtual assistance and social media. The write-ups I did went to my personal Facebook page and “fan” page, my Twitter feed, and of course, LinkedIn. Although I feature other stuff on my blog (makeup and ~feelingz~), I tend to keep them out of my LinkedIn profile – because having them on there doesn’t serve a purpose.
Create an air of authority for more credibility. How do you build your credibility? Start a blog. Write about stuff you know. Wow them.
- Join relevant groups
This is in line with walking the talk (and again, with emphasis on relevance). When people see the types of groups you’re a member of, they’ll form their first impression of you. And trust me, you’ll really want that initial impression to be a good one. Make sure you’re part of some awesome groups that are relevant to your professional career. It’s a subtle way of saying, “I’m serious about my profession and I intend to learn more and be surrounded by like-minded individuals.”
- Showcase your skills
Aside from blogging and reaching out to people – announcing that you know what you’re doing and not just goofing around – make sure to add the list of skills that you have. Again, add the skills that are relevant to your profession. We don’t need to know that you can lick your elbows or hold your breath underwater for 12 hours (I doubt if there’s even an option for those on LinkedIn) – you get the point.
What not to do:
- Don’t link your personal social media accounts to LinkedIn
Just don’t. Your professional network doesn’t need to read your passive-aggressive tweets toward the co-worker who took your food or favorite pen. It’s good to show a bit of a “human” side to LinkedIn too, but what we share on our personal Facebook or Twitter accounts really have no place on LinkedIn.
- Don’t overshare
You know what I said about walking the talk? Well, you may be walking too much that it could turn into running. Just chill on the updates, and share whenever necessary. Share posts that have actually made an impact to you (and articles that you’ve actually read). Nope. You can’t risk sharing something you really don’t agree with or really isn’t in alignment with your personal brand.
- Don’t accept everyone.
Try to set a filter and organize your connections by using the tags feature – just so you know who is who and from where.
After several months of giving my LinkedIn profile the TLC it needed, I’ve already received several really great job invites (through the platform). So yes, LinkedIn is really a place for you to show potential employers about how well you really know your stuff and how serious you are with your profession.
Best of luck to all of us!