How to Use LinkedIn More Effectively

While LinkedIn has become increasingly popular in the last few years, there still seems to be some misconceptions about using it correctly. LinkedIn is considered a social media platform, but it's a professional one and should be considered as such. We've come up with some tips to help you better utilize your LinkedIn profile. Here's how! 

Take a clear, professional photo
One of the first things potential employers or job recruiters will see when they land on your LinkedIn profile is your profile picture. Your picture markets you as a strong prospective employee or a solid networking connection. Your picture humanizes your profile, helps you become more recognizable, and maximizes profile views. So, what does constitute as a good profile photo? The most important things to remember are to keep it simple, current and consistent. Your photo should be a headshot, a full body shot makes it difficult for viewers of your profile to see your face, though you should still be dressed in business professional clothing. LinkedIn suggests your photo be 400 x 400 pixels and no more than 8MB. 

Write an engaging, easy to read summary
Your profile should contain a summary highlighting your background and your most important skills. A lot of people compare a LinkedIn summary to a resume, but the two are actually targeted for different things. A resume is ideally customized for a specific position for which you are applying. While a summary should speak to all positions you wish to be considered for. Some tips for writing a strong profile summary are keeping the balance between too general and too specific. It's important to take the time to understand who your audience is so you can target your language and keep your story engaging and easy to read. You're allowed to use up to 2,000 characters, though it's important to note that the first 220 appear on a desktop before having to click 'show more' and the first 92 on mobile devices. 

Have a concise and catchy headline
Your headline is right underneath your picture and name on your profile. If you're currently employed this should read your job title at your current company. However, if you are in the market for a new job, your headline should be concise and catchy. Much like your picture, your headline is a quick way for you to draw in potential employers and recruiters to your profile. It should highlight what you're looking for career wise, as well as stand out against all others job seekers in your market. Ultimately, you want your headline to get people to click on your profile to see the rest of your information.

Always keep it professional
The most important thing to remember about LinkedIn is to be professional. This applies to all aspects of your profile. While yes LinkedIn is considered a social media platform, it is not the same as Facebook and therefore shouldn't be treated as such. Your picture, messaging, posts, likes, etc. should all be completely professional. Remember you're a representation of your company and yourself, so anything personal at all doesn't belong on LinkedIn. If you're not sure what is and isn't appropriate ask yourself, "Would I want my current or future employer to see this?" If the answer is no, then you should not include it on LinkedIn.