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LinkedIn for Professionals

Here is guide to what you should be doing on LinkedIn.

Profile Perfect
So you have uploaded some basic information and your current role. But it would take quite a lot of time to fill in all of your previous roles and qualifications. Perhaps, but without all of this information you are making it very difficult for your friends, past colleagues, alumni or clients to find you.

Include a photo but be selective.
Your clients probably don't need to find a photo of you with your pet cat or the fancy dress costume you wore at the weekend. Even if you don't have an official corporate headshot, something that is reasonably professional will suffice.

Lastly, think about your headline. By default, LinkedIn will populate this from your current role but you can edit this. You might want to highlight key areas of expertise or areas of work. To borrow an Americanism, this is your personal elevator pitch so make sure it says what you want to be remembered for, or more importantly what kind of work you want to be remunerated for.

If you already have some connections on LinkedIn and are about to make a lot of changes to your profile, you may want to turn off notifications for a short period. You will see this on the top right hand of the screen, just remember to turn it back on when you have finished.

Manage your profile
Once you have a complete profile, you can actually make quite a lot of changes to how that information is viewed and searchable by others. So have a think about what would make most sense for you.

From your own profile page, you will see the option to 'Edit Profile'. This will give you a number of options to tailor your page. You can create a custom URL, simply click on this and type in the URL you want. For most people it makes sense to use their own name, for example www.uk.linkedin.com/in/name. A more memorable URL is quite a useful addition to business cards and email signatures.

Most profiles will follow the traditional CV format with a sequential listing of jobs. If you have moved around in different areas or have particular skills that you want to highlight, you may want to think about reordering this. Nest to the word summary, you will a two-directional arrow. If you hover above this you will see that this gives you the option to drag and drop sections of your profile.

Adding context
When you have completed your profile, you can add a summary, web links or files. You might want to include a link to your corporate website, a corporate brochure or articles that you have authored and are relevant to your work. If you have corporate videos, then this is a great way to give your audience more interesting ways to interact with you.

If you or your company are blogging regularly, make sure you share this.

Get connected
Making connections is what LinkedIn is for, so get searching. Linkedin will make suggestions for you based upon your previous places of work or study. LinkedIn will also suggest searching your email contacts. Ultimately, this is up to you but it isn't advisable. Think about who you are connecting with and why. If you can, add a personal note to the invite. Anyone who has been on LinkedIn for any length of time knows what the standard invite message looks like, so even one sentence tailored to your audience will be appreciated.

As you build your connections, this will open up even more potential connections. When you search LinkedIn, you will not only be able to see results for people who are directly in your network but also those who are second or third degree contacts. This opens up many more potential new contacts.

If you are sensitive about inviting your current clients, you can hide your contacts. From the 'Edit Profile' option, scroll right down to the bottom where it says 'Connections'. From here there is an option to 'Customize Visibility'. If you get to this stage, congratulations you are well on your way to LinkedIn success.

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