How To Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile

My most popular blog post so far this year by a country mile was my guide on how to use LinkedIn as a blogger. I obviously wrote it to help people but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of love it got and how many of you got a kick up the arse from it to make the most of LinkedIn. So to continue with the subject, I thought I’d write a post on how to set up your LinkedIn profile as I know not everyone has an account already but would like to have one. As with any social media platform, it’s a straightforward process to set up a profile but depending on what you want out of your profile, it can take different amounts of time and content to achieve.

For example, if you’re on LinkedIn to be headhunted and find a new job, you’ll need to optimise your profile with keywords for the sort of role you want to work in. Or maybe you’re just there to connect with other bloggers, in which case, your profile will be more focused on the content you produce rather than your skills and accomplishments section. If you want more detail on what exactly to do then your best bet is to Google it or if there’s a demand, I can write another post but for now, let’s focus on the basics of how to set up your LinkedIn profile.

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Create a personalised URL

Just like with any other social media platform, a personalised URL makes it easier for people to find you so if possible try and keep it to your name with no extra letters or numbers. For example, mine is /katystephenson which makes things nice and easy!

Use your CV for the basics

When I first created my LinkedIn profile around four years ago, I basically copied and pasted what was on my CV into the about, work history, education, and accomplishment sections. It’s the easiest way to kick things off and means you don’t have to start from scratch which will save you buckets of time because creating a detailed LinkedIn profile can be pretty time-consuming.

Fill out every single section

The best advice I learnt when setting up a LinkedIn profile was to fill out every section you possible can. I’m not saying go and list your 100m swimming badge as an accomplishment for the sake of it but where you have something valuable to share, do it!

In my opinion the absolute basics you need to populate are:

  • About (you can use the personal profile section of your CV for this)
  • Work history (job title, company, dates and summary for each entry – don’t be lazy and skip this!)
  • Education (school/college/uni, dates, grade and summary about your subjects)
  • Skills (list all the core skills that you have or required for your current role – e.g. blogging, social media marketing, Google Analytics, Photoshop, Microsoft package, leadership, project management, etc.)
  • Contact details (list your blog(s), birthday, email address and Twitter if it’s appropriate lol)

Don’t worry about writing masses or going into tonnes of detail for every single section because you can always go back and edit them at a later date. It’s more important that you focus on your career and what you’re currently doing than that bar job you had six years ago on your gap year! Unless that bar job is what kick started your hospitality management career, then it’s probably very important!

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Don’t forget the photos

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t upload a profile picture on LinkedIn. Why on earth someone would have a social media profile without a photo just baffles me but it happens! Bear in mind that LinkedIn is a professional network and there’s no place for Snapchat selfies or more-chest-than-forehead photos but it’s always a good shout to upload something that reflects you and the industry you work in.

Inject some personality

LinkedIn is full of dull robots who just drone on about their work history or business business business… Don’t be one of them! Try and make your personality come across on your profile whether that’s through your profile photo, headline, summary or skills you have displayed.

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Get connecting

The whole point of LinkedIn is to build connections so there’s no point having a profile if nobody’s going to see it. As soon as your all set up, start hitting that ‘connect’ button with colleagues, ex-colleagues, friends, clients, prospects, anyone in your industry, family, etc. And don’t be worried about people thinking “who the fuck is that?” if you add someone you don’t know – it’s not like Facebook, it’s perfectly normal to connect with people you’ve never met or spoken to before! I’ve got over 7,000 connections and I can guarantee you, I don’t know most of them but it’s all about building a network and developing relationships!

A great way of finding people in your industry is by utilising the search bar and some Boolean techniques. For example, I work as a Marketing Manager in a recruitment software company so if I want to connect with similar people, I’d search “marketing” AND “recruitment”.

Also, do remember that people can see when you’ve viewed their profile so if you want to remain anonymous then you’ll have to change your profile visibility in settings.

Ask for recommendations

If you’re unaware, asking for a recommendation is basically messaging an ex-colleague or someone you worked with on a project and saying ‘please can you write a paragraph on my profile about how amazing I am?’ So it’s essentially justifying what you’ve said about yourself on your profile and can be very valuable! It can be daunting at first but the awkwardness is eased if you only approach people who you’ve built up a strong relationship with and offer to write them one too. If you’d like a template you can use to message/email people, just let me know!

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I think that’s about it for this post as I don’t want to go on forever but you have the basics of how to set up your LinkedIn profile. If you’re slightly more advanced then you may be interested in this blog post on mistakes you might be making on LinkedIn!

And if there’s any more you’d like to know about LinkedIn, its benefits or how to increase your profile views then just let me know in the comments and I’d be more than happy to create something to help you!

Will you be setting up a LinkedIn profile or do you already use it?

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