Start to unleash the power of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn. Love it or loath it … for many people, it’s a key part of putting their professional profile out to the world. However, how much or little you use the platform is up to you.

You can keep it basic and create a LinkedIn profile and leave it be, or you can choose to continually work on your profile, use it as a tool to build your personal brand and engage with other like-minded professionals.

Whichever you choose – LinkedIn is a tool that takes time to nurture and grow – and that starts with getting the basics right.

Let’s go through the basic components you should ensure are part of your LinkedIn profile and are always kept up-to-date.

1 // Profile Picture

LinkedIn says that you can make your profile SEVEN times more likely to be found in searches, by adding a profile photo … if you think about it your profile picture is the ‘first impression’ of your LinkedIn profile! Lacking in a high-resolution, black & white, candidly caught, magic moment of yourself? Don’t stress. Here’s what you need to do (preferably with a friend’s help):

> Pop on a neutral shirt and smooth those fly-aways with some gel.
> Find a brick wall, plain coloured backdrop, leafy setting or window with a city scape.
> Ensure you are the main focus of the shot and there isn’t too much image ‘noise’.
> Aim for a photo that is waist and above.
> This part is important: RELAX. The best profile shots are those that portray your genuine character.
When it comes to editing the photo don’t go too overboard with brightness/contrast – keep it natural!

Pro tip: The visual component of your profile doesn’t end there – add in a cover photo that compliments your profile picture to maximise the effect of your profile.

2 // Make your headline more than just a job title

There’s a lot of mixed opinion on this one … I think that every aspect of your LinkedIn profile should aim to let people know who you are and what you do (in an engaging way), one of the best ways to do this, is via your profile headline! The best way to get some inspiration for this is to have a stalk of what other people are popping into their headlines. Here are some I’ve come across that you can tweak to suit your own profile:

“I help marketing managers deliver creative and effective marketing campaigns on time and on budget”
“Assisting young people achieve their finance dreams”
“Seeking a New Opportunity | Passionate about Sales, Marketing & Design”
“Recent Graduate Seeking Entry-Level Accounting Position”

You can use any of the above headlines as inspiration for your own! Remember to keep it relevant to your skills, industry and any opportunities you are currently looking or applying for.

3 // Use your summary to your advantage!

Soooo many LinkedIn users leave this section blank! This is the perfect place to highlight who you are, what you do and WHY. Think of this section as prime real estate for your personal brand AKA you have the chance to share your unique and individual story with each and every user who visits your profile – so make it count!

4 // Keep your experience concise.

When listing your experience, jobs, volunteer positions and the like – keep it brief and to the point. Recruiters glancing through your profile want to see what key skills you have, what industry you work in, where your strengths lie and where there is opportunity for growth in you career.

5 // Take the time to fill out all the different sections.

Okay so you’ve filled out the bulk of your profile and you feel like you’re good to go! There’s just a few more sections to add in that will amp up your profile and hook the interest of recruiters, potential employers and industry peers. What are they?

Education, volunteer experience, recommendations, skills and endorsements and interests. While these might seem like ‘fluff’ sections – to those on your profile they give key pieces of information and help put together the puzzle of ‘you’.

Put in the extra time and include your University degree that you studied (or are currently studying), list volunteer experience that you have, reach out to past or present colleagues and ask for a recommendation, list industry-relevant skills you have, follow companies and groups that you are interested in. ALL of these things add up and will turn your LinkedIn profile into an online representation of you, that will lead people to engage with you offline.