If you have followed my previous posts and created your linkedin profile and the custom URL settings then its time to review, complete and expand upon the information you have published.
Expanding on your Linkedin profile
As I mentioned, the more transparent and complete your profile the better on a number of different levels. When connecting with people you will inevitably read their public profile. If it isn’t up to scratch, would you connect to them and if yours isn’t up to scratch can you expect them to connect with you? Your public profile is a reflection of you and your ability, so make sure its as comprehensive as possible.
Your Linkedin profile photo
Don’t underestimate the meaning of a profile photo on linked in. We all like to know who we are “meeting” and a good photo adds character to the profile. It is not necessary to put a passport style photo (or even a mugshot), in fact, just don’t do it but you definitely should have a photo.
The photo is an at a glance representation of you and who you are, if anything just ensure its descent quality, clear and most importantly isn’t negative (that means dont be using a photo from facebook on a night out, after you’ve drank ten pints, while on a stag party, in a strip bar, people can tell these sorts of things, honestly, they can :P)
Personally, I have a semi casual profile photo on my profile (as you can see) but there is a reason for that. I use the very same image on every account and profile or site that I interact with on the web. In fact ists the same photo that’s at the top of my blog. I do this to maintain consistency across sites and also for a little extra strngth in branding purposes and I would encourage that you do the same.
The benefits are realised later when people can associate your photo across many mediums and systems with one individual, so make sure you have a photo your comfortable with and remember, if you change it you should see to changing all your other profiles to match (OK, not essential but I’m a stickler for maintaining consistency)!
Linkedin profile progress bar
You may notice that linkedin provides a small progress bar (usually located under your profile photo) while you are filling in your information. This handy little feature gradually fills up as you add more information and you aim to get it to 100% ideally. under the progress bar and it will tell you what you need to do to increase the value of your profile. This could be things such as adding in more detail on your summary or getting another recommendation from a connection. Its also great for spotting the points you may have over looked previously.
How to present your Linkedin profile
How you represent yourself in your profile is paramount. Suffice to say I could write for days and weeks on “how it should be done” but I don’t need to. Chris Brogan has a great post titled “Make your Linkedin profile work for you” that covers the points you need to consider and address when looking at a profile from someone elses point of view. I recommend you read and digest what he says there and ultimately apply it.
Begin to build your Linkedin network
You can start building your network straight away. There is a variety of ways to begin, but I think the most obvious is to start with adding people already on linkedin who you know. You can do this by importing a CSV file from outlook, or directly from Gmail, Yahoo, Windows Live or AOL (a good incentive to make sure these details are all properly maintained!). All the instructions are included on how to make this process simple and easy on the site.
Alternatively you can of course use the search if you know people directly on Linkedin. Just pop their name in the People search bar and add any other details you wish to make the search more refined and the results are instant. Then its a matter of asking them to accept a connection with you by clicking the “add to network” option, visible when you mouse over their name, and choosing the relevant option to make the connection. It really is that simple.
The final point I will make for now is this.
Dont stop adding to your Linkedin profile
Once its done, its not done. Your only getting started. It will, to some extent develop naturally in line with your situation, but it should be reviewed regularly and adapted to fit the requirements of the time or how you are presenting yourself. This will be more obvious once you start becoming familiar with other users profiles and also when your become involved in groups and discussions ( thats the amother point I will be covering by the way.)