LinkedIn is a terrific tool for finding a job or, if you’re going into self-employment, finding new clients and marketing yourself. It might appear to have lots of bells and whistles on it, but setting up your profile and then using the platform is more straightforward than you think. This is your beginners guide to setting up a LinkedIn profile.
The first step is to create your account by clicking on ‘Join Now’. You’ll then have to enter a few basic details and confirm your email address once you’ve received an email from LinkedIn. The platform will then import your contacts into LinkedIn so you can start connecting with them and other people.
Upload your profile picture
Your profile picture is your chance to make your first big impression. Recruiters are more likely to notice profiles that have a photo, so don’t leave the photo space blank. The photo should look professional and not be one of you wearing fancy dress or ridiculous clothing or doing anything stupid. No one else but you should be in the shot.
Add a summary headline
Your summary headline gives visitors to your profile a quick snapshot about what you do, so make it crystal clear. Recruiters are busy people and don’t want to waste time trying to decipher what you do. Take this chance to make your profile stand out from the crowd with a clear, attention-grabbing headline.
Customise your URL
This is a neat little trick. Go to ‘Edit public profile & URL’ and you can edit your URL to make it look more professional, rather than leave it as a long chain of random, untidy-looking numbers. After your name, you could include a very brief description of your role e.g. ‘consultant’ or ‘engineer’.
Fill in the About Section
Your ‘About’ section gives you the chance to go into greater depth about what you can do and what you can offer. Tell people about yourself and some of the things you’ve achieved in your career and (maybe) what you’re looking for now.
This is where you need to add details of your past job roles. It’s as simple as clicking the “+” icon to the right of the section and filling in the details required. Here you can add details of your previous employers, the dates you worked for them, your responsibilities and anything else you wish to highlight. Make these relevant to the role you’re seeking.
This section is short and sweet. You simply add in details of your education so that recruiters can see what your level of education is and how it might fit in with any roles for which they’re recruiting.
Employers look for certain skills, so you should make the most of the Skills option to add any relevant skills you have e.g. coding, project management, Photoshop or anything else that might help you land a role. The ‘Skills’ section gives potential employers a quick list of your skills so they can shortlist you for a role.
Ask for recommendations
If you’ve worked with someone successfully, ask them to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn. You can then approve it and publish it on your profile. It’s like a testimonial, only it’s on your profile rather than on your website. If you’re running your own business, it’s an especially handy feature of LinkedIn that can help you generate more business.
LinkedIn is a superb platform for finding a job and you’ll find lots of recruiters approach you directly through the platform. Anyone who wants to find a job should create a profile. It will be one of the best things you’ll ever do for their career.