You’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you rush through the process of creating a profile. More so than on other social media, your profile will be visited and read.

Because the personal brand is so central to the LinkedIn environment, you’re given a big and flexible canvas on which you paint a picture of yourself. Put some effort, thought and creativity into rocking your public profile top to bottom.

See Also: 10 Social Media Groups Every Entrepreneur Should Join

A professional headline

Just below your name you’re given up to 120 characters to populate your “headline” field. Consider beginning with a tagline to make a first impression.

Next, enter a healthy dose of keywords describing yourself and your areas of expertise. You want to be found via relevant searches. Try to showcase your strengths without being pretentious.

Photo

Your profile is 11X more likely to be viewed if it includes a photo. Your photo should be a high-quality headshot. Look into the lens to make eye contact and smile. Weirdness and creativity will not serve you well here.

Background photo– LinkedIn allows you to upload a background image to serve as your “cover photo.” Choose an image that reflects well on your brand.

Contact info

This section asks for the usual suspects, but be aware you can override some of the defaults as you like. For instance, you can edit the standard links with the name of your blog and website.

URL – LinkedIn issues you an impossibly long and anonymous URL, but it’s easy to customize it with your name, which makes it much easier for people to remember and share.

Summary

Use the summary section to tell your story as you would on an “about” page. Include keywords for search purposes, but compose your summary in a warm way aiming to answer basic questions about your skills and inspiring visitors to keep reading.

Showcase your work

LinkedIn makes it easy to showcase your work via its integration with Slide-Share. Upload the media of your choice to Slide-Share and choose “Add to LinkedIn profile.”

Experience

Populate the fields in the experience section with your work history to present your credentials as you would in a resume.

Add media

In both the experience and education sections, you can display documents, photos, links, presentations, or videos. Using a video will help make your profile stand out.

Skills and endorsements

This section allows you to select your skills and present endorsements given you by LinkedIn members. Listing your skills gives members a 13X boost in profile views.

Recommendations

Written testimonials are presented here, which are even more powerful than endorsements.

Additional information and summary elements

There’s a crazy long list of optional sections you can add to your profile: groups, certifications, publications, projects, honors, organizations and more. Publish the things you feel are credentials and/or conversation starters and order them as you like.

Charles Kodzo Kotoko
Charles K. Kotoko is an entrepreneur and a social media expert, web developer with a background in business and online marketing across various platforms.

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