Almost everyone I know in business is on LinkedIn these days. Individual profiles vary enormously; some are good, and some frankly are awful! However, a key thing to understand is that your LinkedIn profile is also your online CV.
Whether or not you’re looking for a new job, a lot of people (employers, recruiters etc) look at LinkedIn profiles with that in mind. In fact, vastly more people will read your profile than your physical CV. Often it’s the first (sometimes only) source of information about someone. And even if they have your CV, they will inevitably check out your LinkedIn profile. So it’s essential that everything adds up, and that your profile matches your CV (and vice-versa).
There’s a lot of stuff around about creating an effective LinkedIn profile, so I’m going to keep this brief. Let’s look at the following: -
Photograph - you must have one. LinkedIn have proven statistics that it’s the first thing viewers look at. The photo needs to be of you (and not your partner, kids, pets as well), head and shoulders, in a business-like setting (ie not a pub, club, party and definitely not a selfie!)
Headline statement - what you do, ie POP Account Manager, Senior 3D Creative Designer etc. In other words, so people can easily find you and quickly see what you do
Summary - ‘flesh on the bones’ on what you do. What your knowledge and experience includes, what your specialities are. It’s an opportunity to tell the world (literally) what you personally are about. It needn’t be long, but should be interesting and compelling to read
Experience - list your work experience in reverse chronological order (as you would on your CV), stating the companies you worked at (including your present one), your title, and the dates you worked there
Don’t forget to complete other key areas, such as education, languages, honours & awards, and additional information. Remember, this is all about you
Also, get some recommendations. They have a positive effect, whether they’re from bosses, colleagues, or clients.
Don’t exaggerate job titles or qualifications, or omit parts of your employment history. There are people out there who know you and who will spot this (and who will tell). No-one wants to be seen as phoney or untruthful
Finally, ensure you connect with everyone you come into contact with. The more connections you have, the more it demonstrates that you’re an effective networker in the business world. Aim for 500+ connections and 100+ at the very least. It reinforces the fact that you’re a live person who’s making their mark.
In summary, whether you like it or not, LinkedIn is an integral part of modern business. It’s essential that your profile fully reflects you in the best possible light. Your LinkedIn profile is worth your investment of time and care, and like any living thing, it needs regularly updating.