LinkedIn is booming.
It has more than 313 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. Professionals sign up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two members per second.
As part of my job, I have had the opportunity to teach a 30 minute LinkedIn 101 class to hundreds of employees. Here are my top 10 tips detailing what every professional should do to optimize his or her LinkedIn profile.
1. Update your profile information.
Make sure you add all of your basic info: full name, title at your company, location, industry, and organization (linked to your organization’s page).
Some key points to remember:
- Add a custom background. The image should not be distracting and should be at least 1400 x 425 pixels in size.
- Include a professional photo. Make sure you take the time to get a professional picture taken by a photographer. Taking it on a white background is recommended, but it is up to you.
- Your name should only contain your name. Please avoid adding any additional titles, acronyms, or credentials. Keep your name clean and concise.
2. Customize your public profile URL.
When customizing your LinkedIn profile, aim to have your full name without anything else. If you have a more common name (sorry, John Smith) then you might have to resort to a slight modification. If you can’t add your full name, consider adding your middle initial or your company name at the end. If you leave your company, you can always edit the URL.
3. Add important links.
Add links to important websites (LinkedIn limits you to three). Make sure you check off “other,” then add the website title and URL so people quickly understand what the website’s all about. It is better to use “other” than “company website” or any other ist items LinkedIn provides.
4. Fill out your “summary” section.
Ensure your LinkedIn profile “summary” section captures your overall career, particularly your current role at your company and how you help your company’s clients and your peers. This summary section is basically your elevator pitch in written form. Remember, LinkedIn is not your résumé, so always write in first person.
5. Ensure you have company logos for each of your positions in your “experience” section.
Go through your “experience” section and make sure you have logos to accompany each of your old positions. Go to “change company” and find the correct company to ensure the company logo is set up. If your company was acquired by another company, find the acquired company, link it to that and then in “edit display name, change to “XXX (acquired by XXX).”
6. Add links to articles, blog posts, videos or work samples to your profile.
In your “summary section and past positions in “experience,” there is the capability to “add a link” to your profile. Go to your summary and add articles or blog posts you have written. Or you may want to add videos or samples of your career work.
7. Update your “skills and endorsements” page.
Take a proactive approach to editing your endorsements by adding skills you want to be known for within your network. For example, you may want to add “team leadership” to your skills. You can’t change the order of these endorsements, because LinkedIn has them ranked by number of endorsements for particular skills, and orders them accordingly, but you can add items.
8. Follow companies to keep up to date with your ecosystem.
At the top of your LinkedIn page, in the black header, go to the white search bar and find some companies you want to follow. There are four main categories of companies that you should follow: analysts, partners, competitors, and clients.
9. Connect with “people you may know” to grow your network.
Make sure you connect with at least 501 people, but only connect with people you know. LinkedIn will show how many connections you have until you hit 500. Once you reach over 500 connections, LinkedIn will no longer continue to count. It simply says “500+” connections on your profile. Remember: People like to connect with “connected” people.
10. Update your status at least once a week and write via LinkedIn Publisher.
One of the pillars to social media success is sharing content with consistency. Be sure to update your LinkedIn status daily or at least once a week with something that provides value to your network. You may want to put a reminder on your calendar to share an article. You should also think about publishing through LinkedIn.
What steps would you add to this list?
A version of this story originally appeared on the author’s blog.