An Online Professional Network
In today’s work environment it seems that many of the things we do revolve around the internet. You may have an Instagram or Facebook account to keep in touch with your friends. But do you have an online account to keep in touch with your professional network?
Similar to how a resume is a tool for you to show your career highlights, an online professional profile is a digital extension of your resume which you can use to highlight your skills and experiences to a vast online network of likeminded people. One of the most convenient ways you can build your professional profile online is through LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the most-used social network for business with almost 740 million members worldwide. The best benefit of LinkedIn is that it is free! Although they do offer a “Premium” version, where users can pay a monthly fee to access more features, the essential features such as job searching, building your professional network and more are all available to you for free.
You can use LinkedIn to find mentors, join groups of people who share the same professional interests as you, follow your favorite motivational speakers and much more. The platform has many resources that are available to you. Use these resources to further your career, enhance your skills or just keep in touch with the people in your network.
How To Build Your LinkedIn Profile
Your Profile Page
This is your online professional profile on LinkedIn. It includes your summary, work experience, skills, certificates etc. When you first sign-up for LinkedIn, the website guides you on how to start building your profile; it even has a progress bar that shows how “strong” your profile appears when people land on your page.
Your profile page is public, meaning anyone who searches for you or finds your profile can see the information you put in it. It is best to treat your profile page like your resume; up to date, detailed and highlights your best skills and abilities.
Network, Network, Network
One of the main benefits of having a LinkedIn profile is the ability to easily network. Feel free to use the search bar to find old classmates, old college professors, people who you currently work with and more. LinkedIn has a built-in chat-feature that makes it easy for you to contact and grow relationships with the individuals in your network.
At the top of the LinkedIn page, you will see the “My Network” icon, this is where you can view all the people in your network and even see invitations from people who want to connect with you. This section also allows you to view Groups and Events. Use this section to attend events and even join groups that revolve around your interests.
LinkedIn is convenient and easy to use. Through the site’s friendly user interface and quick guides on how to get started, you can easily start building your online professional network.
Profile Photo and Background Photo
When uploading your profile photo make sure that you look professional! Wear either traditional business attire or business casual; even though LinkedIn is a social network, remember it is a business social network. Dress to impress!
Also, all LinkedIn profiles have a default background photo, this appears right behind your profile photo. If you want to stand out, you can think of placing your very own photo in the background to replace the default one!
When you first open your LinkedIn profile, you can notice that your profile URL is a random string of letters and numbers (like all URLs on the web). LinkedIn has a feature where you can edit your URL to make your profile page more personalized. This is convenient for when you want to add your online profile to your business card, personal blog and more.