Increasingly anyone looking to interview or hire you will check out your LinkedIn profile – even just to see who you know in common. Before an interview they may even get in touch with those contacts. If you do a good job with your projects and get the credit for the work it really pays to have people connect to you on LinkedIn.
1. Decide on a single-minded focus for your page. Cut out things that won’t emphasize this focus.
2. Have all positions expanded and explained. Bullets points help people scan through the page. Sentences should be tailored to the length that LinkedIn can support – about 80 characters otherwise it looks messy and untidy.
3. Connect to people you know – it doesn’t matter that there may be much on the other people’s profile page or that they don’t have great positions now. This will change over time.
4. Connect to everyone – good friends can be bad emailers and distant friends can be very good emailers etc.
5. Add a professional and smiling photo of yourself. Silly portrait photos can go on your Facebook page.
6. Get people to recommend you. Start by recommending people you’ve worked with and can comment on with some detail – hopefully they will return the favor.
7. Make sure your portfolio URL is added to your profile.
8. Have your personal email on your page as it is much easier to manage than a work email. Also people may want to contact you who don’t have access to the Inmails or Introductions.
9. Have your public profile to something more memorable – for example mine is as simple as http://www.linkedin.com/in/rickbyrne. This is a minor point.
10. Add a Summary and a Speciality on your page(s). Don’t bother with the LinkedIn Applications as they take up a lot of valuable space at the top of your page and are likely to distract someone looking at your profile.
11. Target people in key jobs/industries is the core of LinkedIn which is why they charge so much to do it – normally $500 a month. You’d have to write a highly targeted letter mentioning why they should LinkIn to you each time as you want them to create a connection with you and not just be a name on a list. You also don’t want them to click the “I do not know this person” button which causes a letter to be sent from LinkedIn (but ultimately amounts to nothing).
12. When you meet people in the flesh remind them in your invitation to LinkIn where and when you met. One person I met once handed me her business card and said “LinkIn to me” as though the two go hand in hand. Even better connect to them immediately on your iPhone/Blackberry if conversation goes that way etc
13. Join LinkedIn’s discussion boards and associations on select topics – this is a good “accidental” way to meet people online. The people on those boards usually to want to connect/network.
14. Since LinkedIn is free you could set them up under a false name which can be changed later (so no one googles you while you are testing it). See how it feels and send to a few people. Apply any insights to your main page and change the name to your correct one.
15. When you have everything tidied up and sorted out start connecting to recruiters – they are always looking to find people and easily connect on LinkedIn.
16. Once your profile is up check out the “Who’s been looking at your profile” feature on your homepage. Several results appear but the real person is in the top 5. You can often guess who it is if you know them or know of them. Most people don’t know this feature exists so don’t try to hide their peeks.
17. Update your status in the “What are you working on?” section in th bottom of the left hand column.