LinkedIn is the most popular social media network for businesses and business professionals.  While most social media websites like Facebook and Twitter focus on personal networking, LinkedIn is designed to help businesses and professionals connect.

What You Need to Include

It’s important that your LinkedIn profile is complete. You will discover that LinkedIn guides you through most of the process and even shows you how far you are to completing your profile with a percentage. Try to hit 100%! Adding in a full profile of information helps other professionals find you by searching for information like your location, job title, education and specialties.

Here is a checklist of items to ensure you have completed:

  • Work experience – All of your present and past professional positions.
  • Education – The schools you’ve attended, what years, and degrees you obtained.
  • Areas of specialization – These are items that you specialize or are qualified in.
  • Your websites – So people can learn more about you and/or company.
  • Interests and hobbies – These may not be important but are another thing that you can have in common with other LinkedIn members.
  • Awards – Feel free to brag.
  • Location – This is important because many people search by geographic location.

Write a Clear, Descriptive Profile

Your profile should contain a description that summarizes your experience, purpose and any important information in a concise manner. This section shouldn’t read like a resume – try to make it easy to read and personable.

Upload a Professional Profile Picture

Add a professional yet friendly profile picture. A business headshot will work fine. You shouldn’t use that picture from the beach, with a bunch of strangers off to the side. Select a picture that is easy to recognize and doesn’t have a lot of noise.

Include Relevant Keywords

Other professionals will find you based on the keywords in your profile, as well as search engines. Include keywords that are specific to your profession and your type of business.

Choose a Unique URL

LinkedIn will typically provide a generic URL for your LinkedIn profile, but you have the ability to select a custom URL. Try to get an URL that matches your name, or if that is already taken, use your first initial and last name, or some combination of the two.