How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

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Whether you’re a business owner trying to ramp up your startup’s connections or a recent graduate looking to secure post-grad opportunities, yourLinkedIn account is crucial to landing new-found opportunities. LinkedIn is an excellent online networking tool that can assist you in building vital professional relationships.

Finish what you’ve started

First impressions are everything. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your one shot. Thus, your LinkedIn profile should list your current position and at least two previous roles, academic institutions attended and contact information which will then make your profile 100% complete, according to LinkedIn’s standards.  Take the time to fill out the descriptions, listing your duties and inject keywords relevant to your industry.  Ask yourself, what would others type in the search box to find someone with my skill set?

Put your best foot face forward

Browsing through most social media sites, you’ll notice a majority of the profile photos are not professional. These laid-back photos are acceptable for personal profiles, but, since LinkedIn is a professional’s playground, promoting yourself or your brand without having professional photographs can drastically alter the way you and/or your business is viewed.

Studies show that LinkedIn profiles with appropriate photographs are much more likely to get clicked on than those without.  So, even if you don’t have a professional photo, taking one with a high-resolution camera in conjunction with appropriate lighting, clothing and background is better than having no photo at all.

Reach out

Perform a series of searches to locate people you know by name via the search box. Once you’ve identified these contacts, click the connect button to add them to your network.  Send a custom message to the person within the invitation, especially if you’re not in constant communication with the individual. Once you’ve made a significant amount of connections, you should view the “People You May Know” page to review colleagues you may have missed.

Request meaningful recommendations

Take the time to reach out to your supervisors and closest colleagues to obtain quality recommendations prior to sending a request on LinkedIn, and explain the importance of their recommendation.  Once they have completed your request, take a moment and thank them and consider returning the favor by recommending them.

Get those apps

Third-party applications approved by LinkedIn allow you to customize your profile and showcase your work products. You may have crafted a white paper or presentation that can be of value to your industry; consider sharing it with your network via SlideShare which you can connect to your LinkedIn account. Perhaps you’ve penned a blog article, add the WordPress app so you can share you’re expertise.

Take time to explore the infinite amount of tools and features that LinkedIn offers. It’s like a gold mine for those who want to take advantage of connecting with other professionals, establishing thought leadership and creating new opportunities.

Have LinkedIn tips? Share your best practices in the comments section below.

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If You Are Who You Say You Are: 4 Useful Online Verification Tools

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Use these tools to prevent from getting Manti Te’o-d in business

A few weeks ago, the world was introduced to the term “catfishing” due to an internet hoax involving Notre Dame football player Manti Teo’s pseudo relationship with a 22-year old woman, who he thought  died of cancer last year. While “catfishing” normally takes place in a personal relationship many businesses have defrauded individuals online as well. The Internet presents a lot of potential revenue opportunities—and a lot of risks.

Knowing that you are dealing with a real individual and/or company minimizes these risks while protecting businesses from both fraud and identity theft. While many websites, and even emails, are designed to look professional and secure, there are often indicative signs that can help you identify ones you want to avoid. Take precaution by using these reliable verification tools online:

BizId

BizId is a service provided by global credit information group Experian. BizId provides reliable commercial information and reduces approval time in order to stay competitive. Through a single transaction, BizId searches multiple databases to authenticate a business and up to two business owners while helping meet compliance requirements.

ZoomInfo

Job-centric search engine ZoomInfo aggregates people and company information in one location.  Their information listings on people, harvested from across the web, include people’s employment history and current job title and whether or not they’re seeking employment. Should you get too many search results for a person’s name, filter them by geographic location.

Google

You can’t talk finding information online without mentioning the big G. For well-known brands and individuals, you will get great results by just typing the name into Google’s search bar, but for civilians, common names or names with double meanings, a few advanced Google techniques can help narrow down the field of results.

  • Enclose the name of the person you’re searching for in quotations when you enter the name into the search box (i.e. “John Doe”).
  • Include other relevant words, like the person’s profession, employer, location, or screen name (i.e. lawyer or Washington, DC.)
  • If the person you’re searching for is likely to appear on a particular web site; search only that site using the site: URL operator (like site: sociallyahead.com “John Doe”).
  • To search people by appearance, look for them on Google Images to get a quick visual—especially useful for those with common names, or to determine the gender of a person you’re meeting for the first time.

LinkedIn

Over 200 million professionals around the world use LinkedIn. You can quickly review their profiles, which will include educational background information and work history, as well as their connections. When reviewing, you should see if you have any similar connections. If so, reach out and request a recommendation on this person. If you do not have connections, LinkedIn offers a paid service called Reference Search.