The Internet has made certain tasks so much easier, and that includes sparing you from having to spend unnecessary time and effort in creating a professional network. These days, finding people who can best complement your career’s future need not be as daunting as it used to. Those who want to build a professional network that can help you connect with other professionals in your field or area of interest can turn to LinkedIn, an online professional networking service.
There are a number of success stories tied with LinkedIn. Many of these involve using the site as a resource for companies to find new talent, a social platform for old and new colleagues, and a venue for discussing a broad range of topics, among others. If you’re just starting out on the platform and need a bit of help, here is a tutorial to get your professional profile up and running.
STEP 1: Sign up to the network.
Type www.linkedin.com on your browser’s URL bar; fill in the required fields, and click “Join now.” Make sure to use an email address that you use for professional interactions, or the same one that you would add to your resume.
STEP 2. Fill in all relevant details.
Make sure to provide a compelling and accurate job title, your recent residence or city, your educational background, employment history, industry, as well as a list of your competitive work experiences. This way, your profile will appear relevant in a variety of searches.
STEP 3. Connect with colleagues and other professionals.
You can connect with your colleagues by clicking on the Connections tab. From this you will have the option to add connections, import contacts, or organize your profile using an app.
New users will also see the following prompt on the homepage, which asks for an email address to pull connections from.
The upper right corner of the homepage is also where you can check for “People You May Know,” a nifty feature that can help you find colleagues or expand your network within a particular field.
STEP 4. Optimize your page.
Outside of completing your profile and highlighting your educational background or work experiences, you can also take advantage of these interesting LinkedIn features to make your profile stand out:
- Maximize the site’s photo upload features. Choose a profile photo that will look good across the previews provided and add a background photo that best features what you do.
- If you’re an artist or creative professional, you can use the background photo feature to display some of your works. You can also add text on your image to show your expertise and habits. If you’re trying to sell your personality, this space can help showcase your many roles outside of work too.
- Explore the many other sections LinkedIn provides for you to add on your profile. Highlighting your volunteer work, for instance, can show others your passion and initiative for promoting social good outside of the office. Here is also where you can outline all the languages you know and your level of fluency for each. For researchers, there is also a space for displaying online publications, which will help promote your expertise in specific fields.
STEP 5. Build a strong public profile.
Take note that your LinkedIn profile may be visible to not only to your immediate connections. As such, it pays to clean up what the public sees when they click your name.
From the Home page, hover over the Profile button, and click “Edit Profile.” Once on your profile page, hover above the small inverted triangle beside the “View profile as” button and select “Manage public profile settings.” From here, you can create a custom URL, customize the sections that the public (those you are not connected with) will see on your profile, and create a badge.
STEP 6. Tweak your privacy settings.
Now that you have more or less completed your profile, make sure to tweak your privacy settings to control or limit the information that you’re comfortable sharing to specific audiences. You can go to the “Privacy & Settings” page by hovering on you profile photo on the upper right corner of the screen, then clicking “Manage.”
The page will prompt you to reenter your password as an additional layer of security, after which you will be shown the following options:
Given that your LinkedIn profile contains a lot of information about you, you might want to filter who gets to see all the details you provided. You may want to deactivate your activity updates that show up on your colleagues’ news feeds, and you can change this from the “Notify your network” slider on the Home page.