I use LinkedIn to find work and meet with connections.
The profile strength tool is a good indicator of who knows how to use LinkedIn and is a good advertisement of your professional strength to potential employers.
LinkedIn is relatively easy to sign up to, but it takes a few extra steps to reach LinkedIn allstar status.
1. The Basics
Start by filling in an up-to-date profile that includes your current industry, education and location. This lets LinkedIn suggest people you can connect with.
Also, list at least three skills related to your work or education, as LinkedIn uses these for endorsements.
2. The Headshot
LinkedIn isn't like Facebook. There's no point cropping and uploading a photo from a wedding or social event. LinkedIn All-Stars have professionally taken headshots.
If you don't have any to hand, consider asking a photography inclined friend to snap you with a good camera. Alternatively, this guide shows how to snap a headshot on the cheap.
Or you can go to the local pharmacy or photobooth and ask them to take a headshot for you.
3. The Referral
LinkedIn encourages connections to endorse each other for various skills. All-Stars contact previous employers and ask them to write recommendations on their LinkedIn profiles.
Chances are, you will have to ask a previous employer for a reference anyway, so why not make it one that your connections will see?
These written referrals are far more valuable and visible than an endorsement.
4. The Contributor
LinkedIn is, like any good social network, about sharing content. Post status updates relevant to your line of work on your profile. Or join relevant groups and contribute to the conversations in these groups. If you're stuck, start by sharing and liking content and asking other users questions. Spend time on LinkedIn, study how others use it and learn.
5. The Completionist
All-Stars have a relatively complete work history and need at least two previous positions alongside their current one.
This means filling in the dates and titles relating to these roles and describing what your responsibilities were. I've found that three bullet points per role is enough for past roles.
The current role is an exception and should be more fleshed out. If you're unsure what to write, check your job description and look for key accountabilities, which you can condense.
Gaps in work history are okay. We all have them.
This is where LinkedIn's newer features such as awards, projects and publications come in. In other words, even if you weren't in employment, consider what you were working on and how it may be of interest to your connections. This could be something as simple as acting as a forum moderator, or publishing a series of articles and blog posts.
6. The Connected One
LinkedIn wants to see connections. According to this recent discussion, All-Stars need 50 or more.
Connect with current and past work colleagues and classmates. Connect with friends and reach out to people you admire or would like to work with. And when you meet someone new ask them for their LinkedIn details.
You could even consider including a LinkedIn link at the bottom of email signatures and business cards. It's also good LinkedIn etiquette to explain to a potential connection how you know them and why you want to connect.
7. The Summariser
Write a complete summary that explains who you are and what you do. This is a good place to welcome connections and tell them what you've been up to and what you can offer them.
If you're looking for employment, mention that too.
Be sure to include details in the summary section about your job and skills. If you're out of work, describe a course you're studying or a cause you've taken up.
Will becoming a LinkedIn All-Star get you the dream job? Not necessarily, but it can't help and it's a more productive way to spend your time than updating your status on another popular social network of choice.
Please let me know about your experiences on LinkedIn in the comments section below.
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