Since I will be doing some presentations on LinkedIn this year, with a focus on how this social networking site can be used to advance one’s career, I figured it would be a good idea to check my own LinkedIn profile. You might say I better get my own backyard in order before I start telling others about theirs, especially since it’s very easy for us to not keep our own profiles current.
I realized how much of my LinkedIn profile needed updating, and how many of its functions I have not been using. To start, I finally updated my head shot from the previous one which was running on 10 years old. At least now I look more age appropriate! So, with the help my web developer Denny Wall, who knows a thing or two about LinkedIn, we spent some time navigating the various sections on my profile.
What Denny made me realize is that as a career coach with a commitment to building my practice I was missing out on the marketing opportunities LinkedIn provides. For most professionals LinkedIn is used in making connections as it should be. However, I would offer this one caveat: have a clear idea or plan as to how LinkedIn can best help you in your professional life, whether it's seeking a new position, trying to advance your career, or building a business.
So here’s some additional features I think would be helpful in updating your profile:
Keep the skills section current by adding new skills, or getting the endorsements from others, relevant to your job search or business goals. BTW, if someone endorses you for a skill you don’t have click on the pencil icon at the top of the skills section, then on the “X” next to that skill. You don’t need the endorsements of those who really don’t know what you do!
To join groups (very helpful in expanding your business) go to the Search field at the top of your profile, enter the name of a group in which you’re interested, then see if that group has a join feature. If so, join now because it’s time to network!
To use the publishing platform (very good for blogs or articles of interest to your viewers) look for the “Write an Article” section on the home page. Choose to write on a topic that will attract the attention of the audience you’re most interested in reaching. I usually repeat my blog articles on my website to my profile, so you’re not always recreating the wheel.
To say more about your business or practice click on Go to My Network and look for Business Services. Here you can enter more information about your business that would appeal to potential clients.
Lastly, get colleagues, business associates, and even family members and friends to write a Google review of your business or practice. It can’t hurt in driving more people to your LinkedIn profile.
In sum, if you want to be successful in landing that next great job, taking that next step in advancing your career, or building your business make sure you’re using LinkedIn with the same goals as you would in generating other meaningful dialogue in expanding your network of contacts. Take it from someone who finally took the time to figure it out himself.