This article is the second post in a mini-series based on my own LinkedIn overhaul during the summer of 2016.
In my previous post, I discussed the foundational elements of a LinkedIn profile–your title, summary, and photos. Today we’ll cover some of the social aspects of the site (connections and endorsements) as well as some lesser but still significant profile components (skills, causes, and organizations). New to this social media platform? Check out LinkedIn for Beginners: The 8-Step Profile Setup first.
I’ve read about the “psychological impact” of reaching the magical “500+” connections threshold. Whether that number matters or not, once you feel good about your profile, it’s a good idea to connect with people you know–supervisors, teammates, friends, classmates, peers, alumni, people you met at a networking event, parents’ connections, family friends, and so on. Even if you only just met or haven’t communicated in a long time, it’s okay to request to connect with or accept an invitation from someone. If you click “Connect” and the screen appears with the “Include a personal note: (optional)” box, change the automated message to something that indicates you actually know the person and care about their wellbeing.
We all know how to use Microsoft Word. Unless your word processing prowess is unparalleled, leave this skill out and list your more compelling abilities. Profiles with at least five skills get more views, but you might as well take advantage of the upper limit (50). My fifty items range from “Leadership” and “Writing” toward the top (LinkedIn also lets you control the order in which your skills appear) and “Reading Music” and “Badminton” toward the end. LinkedIn is more personal than an online resume, which is why I listed some of my non-work specialties (such as “Secondhand Shopping.”) Were I seeking employment in a more conservative industry, “Cooking Eggs” might not make the cut, but I hope to always work at an organization that celebrates my quirks, so I chose to include some less serious information.
Once you’ve created your 5-50 item list of skills, start viewing your connections’ profiles and endorsing them for their skills. I went through at least 200 profiles and endorsed others in hopes they would return the favor. This goodwill system works pretty well. I only ask overtly for endorsements from close friends or teammates. When you view someone’s profile, LinkedIn often generates suggestions for endorsements at the top, but I prefer to scroll down and see everything they’ve listed so that I can more effectively help round out their profile.
Still curious? There’s more to learn about LinkedIn in Part III of the series.