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How to Get Started with Your LinkedIn Presence

by LinkedIn Training, My Career

In this article you will learn how to improve or get started with your your LinkedIn presence.

For those of you who are reluctant about having an online presence, I understand that the idea of creating a LinkedIn profile or writing about yourself is uncomfortable.  It’s for this reason I encounter many people who have not taken the time to tend to their LinkedIn garden. It’s very normal to have a mental block about it because you are not sure where to start.

For the more mature professional, let’s say 40+, we were taught to be humble and to let our work and results speak for us. The world has changed, and an increasing number of decisions are now made about you based on what people can find out about you online. If you do not have an online presence you may be damaging your chances of being considered for interviews and opportunities.

Online reputation management starts with taking control of the information people can find out about you online. You can monitor your personal brand (whether it’s your name or an online user account name) with Google Alerts. This free tool allows you to get emails when new results for a topic show up in Google Search. For example, you can get info about news, products, or mentions of your name.

Have you ever Googled your name? I encourage you to ‘google’ your name on a public computer next time you’re at your local library and see what comes up. If you’re happy with what people can find about you online, well played. If you’d like to take better control of what people can find when they google your name, especially if you are in active job search or lead a business, please read on!

How to Get Started with Your LinkedIn Presence – The 5 Steps

Here are the 5 key steps you can take to help you get started with better leveraging LinkedIn to control what recruiters, potential clients and employers can find out about you online.

1. Take Control of Your Online Presence

With over 1 billion members, as well as all the activity on LinkedIn each day, if you have a well optimised LinkedIn Profile, your LinkedIn profile is one of the first listings that will appear with your name when people type your first name and surname into online searches. The exception to this is if you share your name with a famous person who gets a lot of media coverage!  For the rest of us, this means if you fill in the relevant details on your LinkedIn profile, the sheer size and activity of LinkedIn will mean your LinkedIn profile is then likely to be one of the first things that comes up online when people type your name into their search engine or ask their device to do this for them.

As a digital minimalist and an inherently private person, I want to be in control of the information people can find out about me online. This is why I leverage my LinkedIn profile and presence to make sure when you search me online, you find out about my professional focus. 

 2. Lock Down Your Privacy Settings on Social Media & Apps

Online reputation management is about having better control of what people can find out about you online. If you’re active on social media, be aware that your online activity and comments are very searchable. Take control of your privacy settings on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and also think more broadly about Apps like Good Reads and Spotify and whether your accounts are identifiable and use your name.

You can also lock down some of the public profile settings of your LinkedIn Profile, although I would suggest it’s your LinkedIn Profile that should be most visible as the source of information about your personal brand.  To learn more about how to adjust your privacy settings on LinkedIn, read this article from LinkedIn about managing your account and privacy settings.

3. Decide Your Focus for LinkedIn

It’s important to decide your focus for LinkedIn. If you are in active job search, make sure your profile showcases this. If you are in business or lead a department and want to encourage conversations with new clients or referral partners, you’ll be writing your profile and engaging very differently on LinkedIn than if you are in active job search.

To help you decide your focus for LinkedIn there are two questions I recommend you consider.  Being able to clearly answer these questions will help you write a a relevant LinkedIn Profile that helps you get found by and into conversations on LinkedIn with the people that matter to you and help serve your professional goals.

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. Who are you trying to influence?

By considering your answers to these two questions also means you are starting to consider what your personal brand stands for.  I understand it can be uncomfortable to do this.  To help you get more better understand this concept, please read the article 5 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand.

Take some time to think about what is unique about you and what it is that others value about your approach. Perhaps even ask your favourite humans why they value working with you. I’m confident you will be pleasantly surprised by just how much value your unique style adds to those around you.

 4. Take a Fresh Look at Your LinkedIn Profile

Steps 1-3 have hopefully given you a few things to think about. If you’d like some suggestions for how to update your LinkedIn Profile, read 5 Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile to help make some overall changes for the following features:

  • Photo
  • Skills
  • Location
  • Summarise Experience & Goals

For more comprehensive resources on how to write your LinkedIn Profile please visit this page.

5. Ask Colleagues and Clients to Endorse & Recommend You

Your colleagues and clients may also be able to play a role in providing social proof on your LinkedIn Profile that support what you’ve said about yourself in your summary and experience. This can be done via the endorsement of your skills and providing you with a recommendation. Read more in How to Add Recommendations to your LinkedIn Profile.

Karen Hollenbach, LinkedIn Expert Consultant, Educator & Mentor

Karen Hollenbach, LinkedIn Expert Consultant, Educator & Mentor

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