June 22, 2020 5 min read

Instead of neglecting your LinkedIn profile, why not use it to its full power to professionally network? It’s more than just an online resume. A strong LinkedIn presence is like a blazing fire: it lets everyone know you’re out there and ready. LinkedIn has become the top professional social network and it’s brimming with countless resources and opportunities. Even celebrities use it! (Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, Conan O’Brien to name a few.) You’d be surprised at how long of a reach LinkedIn has, and how it’s allowed professionals like you to stay connected and continue moving forward despite today’s unconventional conditions. Shelly Elsliger, a LinkedIn Express Coach, is ready to make you a LinkedIn believer. She explains the essentials of LinkedIn, from the profile must-haves to social reciprocity, that’ll motivate you to stay LinkedIn connected.


Your LinkedIn Profile: More Than Just Your Resume

What many people fail to understand about the LinkedIn profile is that it shouldn’t just be a regurgitation of your resume. There’s a personal touch to your LinkedIn profile that makes your work history read more like a journey, and one you’re inviting others to learn more about. With all the extra effort and detail, your LinkedIn profile will work harder on your behalf with its trusty algorithms to get you connected with similar professionals in your field.

Your LinkedIn profile is a holistic representation of you, much more than you can find on a resume.
—Shelly Elsliger

So where do you start with your LinkedIn profile? How do you find that balance between personal and professional? With Shelly’s checklist, you’ll be able to whip that LinkedIn profile into shape.

Young professional woman smiling and taking picture on mobile phone.
  1. The Professional Selfie
    Putting a face to a name transforms you from a blank picture to an actual living and breathing human being. Remember to use a professional photo of yourself only. They’re here for you, not your pet. And choose your outfit wisely. It should be professional and match your industry. (If you’re a former NBA player like Shaquille O’Neal, then a suit and basketball make sense. If you’re an accountant, then get your best blazer ready.) Bonus tip from Shelly: customize that background banner (same rules apply).
  2. A Colourful Tagline
    This is what Shelly also calls the branding statement and where you’ll need to find a way to distinguish yourself from others. Stay away from generic or safe words. Narrow down on some strong keywords from job postings you’re interested in and bake them into this statement. That’ll trigger LinkedIn’s algorithm, and take care of your visibility in searches.
  3. Tell Us More About You: Summary
    Here’s where you’ll have some more room to play with, about 2000 characters to be exact. This is the section where you’ll compose your professional story in all its glory. It’s not the time to be modest here, so list out your best achievements to date like a playlist that keeps them wowed. When you’re done, don’t forget to wrap it up with a call to action of your choice. A gentle nudge to get them from reading about you to talking to you.
  4. The Experience Section
    Avoid the temptation of plugging in your resume points here. Instead, think about the best parts of a cupcake. Is it the sprinkles? The icing? Caramelized ooey-goodness? All delicious, and all that makes a cupcake special. Dive into the finer details of your past work experience rather than just being bland. Reflect on not only what you did, but how you did it to build a sense of your work style.
  5. Skills & Endorsements
    This is the last section of your profile, and where the magic of LinkedIn’s algorithm really gets working. Selecting all your skills works with the algorithm so leave no skill behind. Endorsements from past colleagues will boost up your profile, and the more you have, the better.

The Perks of Social Reciprocity

Social reciprocity is just what we do on LinkedIn, giving without expecting something back.Before patting yourself on the back, let us remind you that LinkedIn is a professional social networking site. Setting up an amazing LinkedIn profile is only half the battle. Now’s the time to become engaged with LinkedIn, and this behaviour is what Shelly calls social reciprocity. It’s anytime you reach out to someone without any sort of expectation. That’s not only a winning attitude, it’s winning with LinkedIn. A comment on someone’s post or sending a friendly message to an old co-worker paints you as a go-getter. Plus, by becoming more engaged, you’ll get the engine running for you. If you don’t and stay inactive, you’ll transform into the LinkedIn fly on the wall. You’ll get stuck in the default settings of LinkedIn, and never unlock the perks of the platform. Through engagement, LinkedIn gets to know you and will be able to pull out all the stops for you. If you don’t engage?
All that LinkedIn profile building goes out of the window.

Become the social butterfly everyone knows and loves. Shelly recommends that three to four times a week is the perfect amount to hop on, and hit those like buttons, comment, and most especially, build connections.

Mind Your Manners

Two professional young men speaking, leaning against a wall. Here’s where Shelly would like to introduce you to something she calls “netiquette”: it’s the etiquette you display on LinkedIn. Manners do exist on the internet, and especially on this platform. The first simple step in netiquette is building connections and to not become obsessed with quantity. It’s more than just pressing that “Connect” button on a profile for the sake of increasing your network connections number. Focus instead on the quality of connections you’re making. Make sure to go outside your comfort zone, and send requests to professionals you know, but especially to ones you don’t. That idea may seem intimidating but look at this no differently than introducing yourself to someone at a party. It’s up to them whether they want to say hello back. And if your great profile entices them enough, they’ll stick around to chat.

Last but, not least, never ask someone for a favour immediately. That’s just bad form. You want to foster good relationships on LinkedIn and get to know the people behind the title. Once that trust and rapport are there, then move forward. You’ll feel comfortable asking, and they’ll feel comfortable answering. And that’s the beauty of social reciprocity. By showing a genuine interest in another person, you’re showing you value them rather than what they can offer you.

Keeping Connected

With all that LinkedIn training in mind, it’s important to note that the platform is here to ease your career journey and keep you connected with other sharp-minded professionals and exciting opportunities. Don’t let nerves hold you back and trust your fear of missing out; it’s right this time. Professionals and businesses all around the world in one trusted spot online. Get connected and be open to social reciprocity. It may seem like a lot to take in, but just like a new pair of shoes you need to break in, eventually, you’ll wonder how you did without them.

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