As a business professional, you should be on LinkedIn. Networking with fellow marketers and others in the same and similar fields not only keeps you connected with people you’ve met, but also gives you the opportunity to learn and gather ideas.

If you’re just starting out on LinkedIn, you may be wondering how to complete your profile and what to do with it after your account is set up. In the very least, it is important to keep your profile updated, but there are so many other features to take advantage of. This guide will show you how to complete your LinkedIn profile and what to do to get the most out of the experience.

Setting up your profile

Once you create a LinkedIn account, it’s time to fill in your profile. Thankfully, LinkedIn has a handy questionnaire-type system of pop-ups to get you thinking about what to add, making it easy to complete your profile.  

After utilizing the pop-up system for the basics, you should also consider the following:

Profile Photo: The photo you use on your LinkedIn profile should be a professional headshot, or as close as you can get to one. In other words, using your driver’s seat-selfie probably isn’t the best option, nor is the one from last weekend by the pool. A clean-cut photo in business attire with good lighting is your best bet.

Summary: Your LinkedIn Summary is “a quick and easy way to highlight your experiences and interests.” Think of this as a first impression to people who view your profile. Give some background information and include some of your strengths. If you’re actively looking for a job, you can also add in what type of company and positions you’re most interested in.

Experience, Education and Projects

Now that you have the basics of your profile completed, it’s time to get to the more in depth details of your professional life. The pop-up system mentioned above can also assist you to complete these sections.

(Work) Experience: Your job history not only shows your skills, but also your employment timeline. Use this section of your LinkedIn profile to detail your current and past career endeavors. Remember, relevancy is important, but each job you’ve held in the past has taught you valuable skills. Think about what to include, and explain why you included those skills you learned.

Education: Especially for those just entering the workforce, the Education section of your LinkedIn profile can say a lot about you – beyond your major and final GPA or most recent educational experience. Although these stats are important, so too are organizations you were involved in, classes you took, societies and other activities, etc. As with any of these profile details, only make these additions if they seem relevant to mention.

Projects: Have a cool experience to share? The Projects section of your profile allows you to add photos, videos, links and more to show what you’ve done and to further demonstrate your skills. This section is great for people who have samples of writing, video or design and photography, among other things.

Overall, what you add to your profile should portray your character and the skills you possess.

Skills & Endorsements

The Skills & Endorsements section of your profile is a list of the skills and proficiencies you have. For example, this may include a skill as broad as Social Media or specific as your ability to write in AP Style. These skills are then endorsed by your connections on LinkedIn – endorsing you for a skill shows that they’ve seen your expertise in that area and vouch for your experience.

Other Features of LinkedIn

Your profile should be nearing completion. As we mentioned, the questionnaire-type system of pop-ups can help you complete your profile and get it where you’d like it to be. Now that you’ve gotten the hang updating and making changes to your profile, here are some other features LinkedIn has to offer professionals such as yourself.

Updates: Similar to your Facebook Newsfeed, LinkedIn’s Home feed features updates from your connections and the companies you’re following. You can ‘Like’, ‘Share’ and ‘Comment’ on these updates. LinkedIn updates are much like Facebook updates, although we recommend a different style and content on LinkedIn. Sharing your thoughts on this Lowe’s commercial from a marketer’s standpoint or updating everyone on your new promotion or company news are examples of the type of content to use in updates.

Pulse/Publishing: LinkedIn also allows you to publish your own posts. Their Pulse section is a feed of blog-style articles and content in a wide variety of topics from influencers and companies like New York Times, CNN and others. You are welcome to publish your own posts, but they are not guaranteed to show up in Pulse. Crafting and publishing your own content on LinkedIn can position you as an industry influencer and draw attention to your writing skills, among other things.

Company Pages: Does your company have a LinkedIn page? If not, this may be a good opportunity to pitch the reasons why they should have a company page, and who should create and manage it. If you’re not the designated social media expert, find the person who is and alert them. Having a company page on LinkedIn allows employees to list it as their employer, and provides more information for curious eyes when they see who you work for.

Mastering your LinkedIn profile will take some time and effort and you’ll know when you’ve got it right. Put your best face forward and get engaged with other users on LinkedIn to begin networking and branding yourself as a professional in your field. 

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