Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Start the New Year Off Right: With a Strong LinkedIn Profile

As the year draws to a close make sure you take some time to give yourself the gift of a strong LinkedIn profile! LinkedIn is a great tool for job seeking, professional development and most of all, networking. However, if your professional colleagues and prospective contacts don’t know who you are and what you have to offer they won’t be motivated to connect with you. A strong LinkedIn profile gives you the opportunity to control your professional online identity and develop your brand. Your LinkedIn profile can motivate people to connect, communicate and collaborate with you.

Strengthening your profile is just a few simple steps away.

  1. Use a photo that portrays a professional image of you alone.
  2. Make sure that both your Headline and Summary contain key words that are relevant to your target career and take time to format these sections to look clean and professional.
  3. Identify your target industry as well as your location to help people find you on LinkedIn.
  4. Claim your unique url. You have the option of personalizing the url that LinkedIn assigns to you which will help increase the professional results that appear when people search for you using a search engine.
  5. Showcase your education by adding relevant courses, academic projects, publications and presentations.
  6. Join professional groups that support your career goals. Groups help you connect with industry thought leaders and are a great place for you to contribute your own expertise.
  7. Request recommendations from people who really know you and the quality of your work such as former bosses and colleagues. Be sure to customize your request with a brief personalized note and provide a few words outlining accomplishments or qualities this person might mention about you. NEVER send the generic LinkedIn request for a recommendation!
  8. Carefully select and curate the skills that you list on your profile to make sure that they align with your career goals.
  9. Click the Improve Your Profile Strength link to the right of your profile for suggestions that will help you further strengthen your profile.

It is a good idea to turn off your activity broadcasts as you make changes to your Profile. That way, every change you make will not show up on your network’s activity feed which can cause unnecessary confusion.

Finally, contact WGU Career & Professional Development for a personalized review of your LinkedIn profile with one of our Career and Professional Development Specialists!