How do you make LinkedIn work for you? 10 easy steps to consider . . .

Is your LinkedIn profile working for you?

Sure, there is a “profile completeness” score built in to LinkedIn, but are you attracting contacts, connecting with the right people,

and highlighting your personal and professional skills effectively?

Consider these 10 steps to ensure your profile is thorough and effective.

  1. Be easy to find.
    Your full name may be Jonathon, but if most people know you by Jon, use “Jon” in your profile. Use the name that most people know you by professionally.
  2. Upload a nice professional photo. It’s often worth the price to use a professional photographer.
  3. Create an effective (but succinct) headline. Add a “Professional Headline” in the “Edit My Profile” page. This is a short area that encapsulates what you do best.
  4. Pick the industry that best represents what you do. Alternatively, you could use your clients’ industry if they all come from the same one.
  5. Enter details for current and past positions. Highlight the activities that represent what you do or want to do by mentioning them first.
  6. Write a summary that highlights your most important business information. Keep your summary clear and to the point. Remember you can list details under “Current Position.” The point of a summary is to give people instant information on what you do. I’ve looked at various summaries, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. I used to have a bulleted list, but switched to a short paragraph. When I come across long paragraphs in the summary, I find them hard to read and follow. The shorter ones hold my attention and get the point across fast.
  7. List your web sites and blog. Rather than using the name of your web site and blog, use keywords that describe what you do. For example, I use “Writer for hire and blog” instead of “meryl’s notes,” the name of the blog.
  8. Add your Twitter ID. If you haven’t already, add your Twitter name.
  9. Write recommendations. Writing recommendations can lead to receiving recommendations. It’s OK to ask people to recommend you, but make sure you ask the right people.
  10. Add applications to enhance your profile. If you have a blog, feed your blog entries into your LinkedIn account with one of LinkedIn’s applications. You can also turn LinkedIn into an online document collaboration platform.
  11. Send selected Twitter tweets to LinkedIn. While you can connect your Twitter account to your LinedIn profile, many of us tweet too often or tweet about things that would be irrelevant to our LinkedIn contacts. Instead, select just the tweets you want to show up in your LinkedIn profile by adding the hashtag “#in” to the tweet. You can turn on this feature in Twitter Settings.
  12. Select what to display in your public profile. People not connected to you can only see what you allow them to see by setting your Public Profile options. The more you reveal, the easier it is for people to know if they have the right person. Here, you can also set up your Public Profile URL, which shows up as to http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.LinkedIn Settings
  13. Review your settings. Though I’ve been on LinkedIn for a long time, I still run into new features and settings. Settings cover everything from profile views and email notifications to personal information and privacy settings. You can provide advice on how people should contact you on the Contact Settings page. Mine says, “Email is the best way to reach me.”

What additional things do you suggest for creating a “best of class” LinkedIn profile?