Given the importance of the social media site in staying connected, particularly for contractors and small business owners, here are some tips to help you maintain a cutting edge profile.
Complete your profile
Take time to add as much information as you feel comfortable with, and exclude roles or experiences that you could do without. LinkedIn will let you know on a regular basis what the percentage completeness of your profile is, so a bit of housekeeping will also banish those irritating messages. Always include your current contract position.
Create an eye-catching headline
As with all types of marketing, LinkedIn is no different – except you’re selling yourself. Make sure you include your key skills, as well as industry expertise in the ‘Headline’ section of your profile. Concise and punchy is the key.
Almost all professionals now use a photo in their profiles, although this was far from the case when LinkedIn first gained popularity. Always use a professional rather than a ‘jocular’ image for obvious reasons, and ask people you trust to help choose the right shot. You might even consider having a professional headshot taken.
Ask clients or colleagues to endorse your work when you complete an assignment. You can then choose which ones to display on your public profile. Again, think of yourself as a ‘product’, and use great reviews to make your profile stand out – the concept is no different in essence from a hotel review on Trip Advisor, or accessory review on Amazon.
There are hundreds of skill-specific and general contracting and freelance groups you can join. These can be handy to keep up with the latest happenings, and also for you to provide tips or answer questions.
To increase your chances of being found in future searches by agents or direct clients, use the keywords most associated with your skills in all parts of your profile, including your summary / skills, and headline.
Log in regularly
Many contractors only update their profiles, or even merely log on to LinkedIn, when their assignments are coming to an end. Given the growing importance of the site as a contract-finding mechanism, it is worth logging on regularly to gradually build up the prominence of your profile, to check groups, messages, and invitations to connect.
Look up old colleagues and clients and invite them to connect. Rather than using the one line default invitation message, send them an update of what you’ve been up to since you were last in touch. An old connection is by far the hottest lead you can have when it comes to finding new contract or freelance work by recommendation rather than traditional methods.
You can make it as easy or difficult for people to get in touch with you. For maximum exposure, allow people to get in touch with you via email (via the Contact Info card), and include any websites you own or want to showcase, plus other social media account details.