I preach a lot about getting active on LinkedIn. And, let’s say I’ve finally convinced you that you should create a profile or log into the one you made back in undergrad. Now what? Grab a sheet of paper or take a screenshot… Mama’s Got a Checklist!
1. Headshot, Headline, Housekeeping
At minimum you should have the following information filled out in your LinkedIn Profile, in detail. (AKA, we’re not just skipping through this step, we’re sitting down, pulling out the blue-light-glasses, turning on Spotify and knocking this out RIGHT!)
- Detailed worked history as far back as it makes sense. Does it behoove you to mentioned the job you had at the grocery store when you were 14? Maybe, if you are trying to tell the story that you’ve always been a worker.
- Professional, confident, recent headshot. There’s a way to fake it until you make it using apps like PicsArt. Check out my Instagram Reel here for how to turn a selfie into a LinkedIn Headshot. Here’s my big rules though:
- No group images or images of you with other people. This isn’t Facebook.
- Make sure it’s a recent image and that you look confident. I don’t care if you’re smiling, I don’t care if it’s head on, I just care that I can tell what you look like and that you appear confident!
- Be careful of Black and White. It’s not a hard no, but color images more clearly convey who you are and what you look like, as well as stand out among competition.
- Headline that tells your story quickly. LinkedIn will create a default headline for you of your most recent or current title and company. THIS IS A FINE HEADLINE. Some people edit their headline as a way to get keywords into their profile. (I.e., If I am looking for a social media manager job, my headline might be “Kelsea Wiggins — Social Media Expert” as opposed to my current job title.) Decide what message you want to send with your LinkedIn profile and make sure your headline reflects that. It’s valuable real estate as it’s seen everywhere your name and face are seen on this social platform.
2. Build Your Network
This part is easier than you think, I promise, but it’s important. Almost everything on LinkedIn is categorized by the degree of connections you have, so it does behoove you to connect with as many people as possible. However, keep in mind that there is precious information on your LinkedIn profile. (Where you work, where you have worked in the past, where you live, likely, your contact info, etc.) It also behooves you to connect with people you know in real life, or have been in the same room with. There are privacy settings you can set up to protect yourself on LinkedIn, but just keep that in mind. Here are a few quick, safe ways to build your network to that coveted “500+”
- Look up your IRL friends and family. My rule for connections is anyone I’ve been in a room with. And just like any other social network, once you connect with one, LinkedIn will suggest more.
- Look up places like your high school, your university and your past companies. Connect with former colleagues and people you share a an alma mater with.
- Join groups and follow hashtags. This is a quick way to find new friends to connect with on LinkedIn. When I first joined LinkedIn, I joined every Arsenal (my favorite soccer team) group I could find. The friends I made in those groups helped me build my network and still engage with my content today.
3. Nurture Your Network
This is the easiest step of all. 40% of LinkedIn users log in everyday. Less than half. By consistently logging in, engaging with content (liking posts, commenting on posts, sending messages, etc.), you will already put yourself in that 40% pool, which is better than 60% of the LinkedIn community. Good on ya!
Good luck out there