Over recent years, LinkedIn has established itself as the major platform provider for professional networking over social media. There are a number of complicated ways to describe it, from the above “professional networking platform” to the “grown-up Facebook”. Both comparisons could be reasonably drawn, depending on how the site is used.
The basics are quite simple, a professional network for establishing and maintaining contacts in a business context. Similar to other social media sites you “add” people, and if they approve the connection, you have access to their profile. If you don’t they may keep their profile visible anyway, or they may have a restricted viewing that is only open to some. Unlike Facebook the content is not your daily comings and goings, but rather a summary of you as a professional, and perhaps any relevant industry news or events you’d like to pass on (though this is not required).
Getting more complicated
This is where things begin to get a little more difficult, however. What should you put on your profile? How much information should you give? Who can see it? The questions become more difficult from there, who to connect with, should you know them beforehand?
Fortunately, the answers to these questions are easier than they appear, and with some simple pointers they are very quickly resolved.
Your LinkedIn profile is essentially a snapshot of your professional history and current occupation. It is not quite as detailed as your CV, however will convey similar information in terms of your career and a basic overview of your achievements.
The summary section will be a brief profile (who you are, some key qualities) and a brief list of your major skill sets. This is important for both describing yourself and SEO processes, which we’ll discuss a little later.
LinkedIn will provide examples at every stage on exactly how much information to give, how to phrase etc. Importantly you will need to use your own judgement in how much information to give and what exactly is/was relevant. Privacy and access are issues that you can alter yourself in your account settings, but a good rule of thumb is to leave out anything that you wouldn’t be happy for the general public to see.