Introduction: How to Make a LinkedIn Profile That Stands Out

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I have had a lot of professional success on LinkedIn and I want to share the success with you! I'm not a LinkedIn or social media expert, but I do have a few tricks that I'll share.

You Will Need:

A professional photo of yourself,

Your work experience information,

A list of current contacts,

A good attitude!

Step 1: Sign Up!!

Sign up for LinkedIn if you don't already have a profile. Use your real name, because people will be able to find you in the search. Also, use an email address that you typically use. When others try to connect with you or send you a message, you will get notified via email.

Please note: signing in with Facebook can be a great idea if you forget passwords easily, but ONLY do so if you have your profile set to private, or if your Facebook is tasteful and appropriate.

Step 2: Adding Relevant Information

Relevant Information to Add:

  1. Profile photo - this should be a professional headshot. If you are in college or have just graduated, your senior photo from high school will work. If you do not have a professional photo, upload one that clearly shows your face and is taken in good lighting (not at a bar/club). It is better to have a poor-quality photo than no photo.
  2. Title - your title doesn't necessarily have to be a current title. For example, if you are a student, you can put your major in your title. It is all about being relevant so future employers can find you easily in a search.
  3. Summary - your summary is basically your online cover letter. It is really up to you if you write this in first or third person. There are benefits to either writing style. The summary should be no more than a paragraph describing what you currently do and what your aspirations are.
  4. Skills & Work Experience - the next important section is the skills section. The work experience section goes hand-in-hand though, because just saying that you have a certain skill doesn't hold as much weight as having both skills and experience.

Step 3: Networking With Your Social Circle

Adding Contacts:

Go through your contacts and add family members, co-workers, classmates, and friends. Try to send a personal message with your request to those that you haven't communicated to recently. This will help build your professional relationships online. Once you have a few connections that are in your field, look at their profiles. You will be able to get a feel for what is effective and ineffective on a LinkedIn profile and be able to gauge where your profile fits in with your "competition."

Endorsing Contacts: Now is also when you could "endorse" others for skills that they have. This is a simple one-click action where you are confirming a skill that someone says they have. It is important to only endorse skills for people that you personally know and actually know about that particular skill. Your profile could be considered a spam profile if you endorse a bunch of people, so stick to endorsing those you know in 3-4 skills. The benefit that you have of endorsing someone is the possibility that they will do the same for you. Endorsed skills are another bit of proof that you are who you say you are and that others value your work/knowledge.

Recommending Contacts:

Recommending is a step above simply endorsing someone's skill(s). A recommendation is exactly what it sounds like. Basically, instead of having a written recommendation letter from someone, you just have them fill it out on LinkedIn. You may choose to ask for recommendations for yourself, but a good way, again, is to recommend another person. Choose the person thoughtfully, as they may write a recommendation for you (what we want, of course)!

Step 4: Networking Outside Your Social Circle

Join a handful of groups and follow a handful of companies:
It’s very hard not to go like/follow-crazy on social platforms. Remember though, LinkedIn is for professional networking. On Facebook, you may have 90 liked artists, 50 liked movies and 70 liked companies. My rule of thumb for LinkedIn is that you should strategically select 5-7 groups to join and 10 or fewer companies to follow.

When you go to an interview, you want that interviewer to know/believe that you are 100% the right person for the job. As if the job was created just for you and you were born to have that position. LinkedIn should be looked at the same way. You should have a clear set of interests and a definite niche in the LinkedIn community.

How to Get Profile Views:

For more profile views, I recommend simply viewing others' profiles. You may have noticed, LinkedIn has a built-in feature that tells you who has viewed your profile. When someone has viewed you that you don't know, your reaction is to look at their profile and see who they are. This is why I recommend "viewing" as many profiles as possible in a day.

With LinkedIn, the more views you have, the higher you will show up in searches, and you can even show up in sections like "People Similar to ____." Viewing others' profiles puts you at the forefront of their minds, because it makes them curious as to who you are.

Step 5: Joining the Community

A great way to network with people that you don't know is to read and comment on LinkedIn articles and in groups. Now that you are a part of a few groups, become active in them. If someone shares a recent study that interests you, "like" it or comment on it.

There are also news articles all over LinkedIn that you can read and respond to. (Shown in screen shot above.) Some of them might help inspire you, and some are informative, so it is very easy to find articles that interest you.

Step 6: Keep Improving

Your success on LinkedIn will most likely not be overnight. It's important to keep your profile up to date--especially your work experience and skills. Removing skills or experience is not a bad thing. Sometimes our career focus changes, so update your LinkedIn like you would your resume.

There are a lot of resources out there that go more in depth into LinkedIn that you can check out for additional help. I'd recommend searching for LinkedIn on Pinterest or Google, because I have done that in the past and found good resources.

Good luck! :)