This article originally appeared on GenTwenty as part of the GenSocial column.
When it comes to social media and career advancement, LinkedIn is the go-to place. LinkedIn serves as an online resume that’s easy to view and update. LinkedIn also offers the chance to connect with other people from our field. With a simple request to connect, we can add up contacts in our industry and potentially get endorsements and recommendations on our own profiles. If we’re trying to strengthen our careers and reputations, there’s no excuse not to be on LinkedIn.
However, our work isn’t done just by signing up for the site. Plenty of people have LinkedIns, but don’t properly utilize them. Profiles should be highly accessible and easy to read. A good profile picture, aka headshot, is also essential. However, there’s something else that most users don’t consider: visibility.
In order to maintain a highly visible profile, there are a few steps we can take. Doing all of these will only take a few minutes, but their effects could have career-long implications. By having visible profiles, we can ensure that other people quickly find and connect with us. We’ll also be able to share our LinkedIn profile more easily with others, like on business cards or other social media sites. These steps will help us make the most of the site, simply by changing some of our profile settings.
Here are 4 ways to improve the visibility of your LinkedIn profile:
1. Change our public profile URL to our name. LinkedIn automatically gives us a URL when we sign up. Normally it’s linkedin.com/aseriesofnumbershere. But what we can do is make it so that our name comes right after the forward slash.
How: To change it, log in and click Edit Profile, then click Edit Public Profile URL. LinkedIn has a more detailed article here. It takes seconds, but the act helps optimize search results when someone looks us up online.
2. Edit public profile settings. When people browse LinkedIn profiles, they see public profiles of others. This means that they’re not yet connected with the individuals. Typically people reserve more detailed information for their approved connections.
However, for people new to their industries, it’s beneficial to have most of our information up to those looking. We’ll want to make sure that people can see our past jobs, internships, and skills without being part of our connections.
How: To do this, log in and click on Privacy and Settings. Then click Edit Your Public Profile. Once we click on that, we can choose to make specific sections public or our entire profile public. Most of the time though, it pays off to include as much information publicly on LinkedIn.
3. Consider LinkedIn Premium. Joining LinkedIn is free, although there are a number of paid plans for interested individuals. LinkedIn Premium allows users to message people who aren’t their connections. It also gives them advanced search options and ways to increase the visibility of their networks. In short, LinkedIn Premium is a helpful investment for those who are looking for a job and may not have a lot of contacts.
How: Rates are as low as $30 a month and may pay off when a user gets a job lead based of LinkedIn’s advanced features. Click here for more information.
4. Emphasize buzzwords in our profiles. In order to show focus on our careers, we should try and make our profiles concise and nuanced. We should make sure that our titles and profile descriptions match, as well as our past positions and skills. Ultimately we need to show a well thought out plan on our careers.
How: Let’s say we’re new media journalists. We’d want to reflect that in our profiles to show our experience and expertise in the field. We may want to emphasize words like “digital” and “SEO.” Creating buzzwords helps us distinguish ourselves from competing profiles, as well as show our knowledge in our fields.
These are the starter steps to having a more visible LinkedIn profile. To continue to strengthen it, we should also connect with others, as well as join groups and frequently update our information. Do you have any tips to improve your LinkedIn profile? Let us know about them in the comments!