If you want to have a successful career, maintaining an online presence on LinkedIn is crucial.
Not only is it an effective way to network with other professionals in your field, but it can get you noticed by others and potentially land you several job opportunities.
In fact, I landed a great job at a major company because I regularly updated my profile and published career-related content almost daily. (That job ultimately inspired me to start my own company.)
Believe it or not, that was six years ago — and today, LinkedIn has only become increasingly important.
Simply signing up for an account, quickly filling in the blanks and then letting your profile remain dormant won't do you any good.
Of the many elements that make up a strong profile, two of the most important ones are your professional headline and "About" section, explain career experts at Harvard University's Office for Alumni Affairs and Career Advancement.
Together, they make up what's known as your "LinkedIn profile summary," and it's one of the first things people see when they visit your page. Your professional headline is especially important because it's the text that gets displayed in search results for both Google and LinkedIn.
Below is an example of a strong LinkedIn profile summary, according to the career experts at Harvard:
Research Scientist | Ph.D. Candidate | Data Analytics, Biotech, Pharma
I'm a research scientist working to better understand how neural activity motivates and shapes human behavior. My expertise includes project design and management, data analysis and interpretation, and the development and implementation of research tools. I enjoy generating new ideas and devising feasible solutions to broadly relevant problems. My colleagues would describe me as a driven, resourceful individual who maintains a positive, proactive attitude when faced with adversity. Currently, I'm seeking opportunities that will allow me to develop and promote technologies that benefit human health. Specific fields of interest include data analytics, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
Here's what makes it a strong profile summary:
While your profile summary holds major emphasis, you'll need to spend time on savvying up the rest of it.
Here's a quick checklist of the basics to help you get started:
Remember, the more active you are, the better. So as you move on to new jobs or master new skills, make it a point to update your profile.
Being active also means engaging with your community. You can do this by:
Dustin McKissen is the founder of McKissen + Company, a strategic communications firm in St. Charles, Missouri. He was also named one of LinkedIn's "Top Voices in Management and Corporate Culture." Follow him on LinkedIn here.
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