Quick-launch tips for LinkedIn

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Links (courtesy lizjones112 at Flickr Creative Commons)My first piece of advice is that you DON’T want to “quick-launch” on LinkedIn; do it slowly and deliberately and do it right the first time.


You say you’ve just been laid off, or there’s some other career crisis, and you didn’t “dig your [networking] well before you’re thirsty?”

OK, it happens.

In our Every Dot Connects social media workshops, here are some of my top tips for starting a good LinkedIn profile:

  • Upload a photo. People like to see a face, and when you connect with folks after conferences and meetings, it also helps jog their memory about who you are and what you do. Get a professional headshot, not some fuzzy picture with your head against a blank wall taken with the family Kodak by your long-suffering spouse.  If you are located in Central Texas, I recommend Korey Howell.
  • Personalize your public profile URL.  The default URL for your profile is an alpha-numeric jumble, but you can change it to read “ (slash) YOURNAME.”  It looks a lot more professional, especially when you add your profile URL to your standard email signature, which essentially attaches your resume to every email you send.
  • Spend a lot of time crafting your one- or two-line “elevator speech” that goes under your profile name.  Freelancers are sometimes too quick to demonstrate “versatility” by saying they can do everything.  No one will search for that or want to spend money to hire that - they will look for specific expertise.  I do lots of things, too, but in my own profile, I aimed for a pithy distillation of the most important skills:

“Sheila Scarborough - Travel and motorsports writer, Web 2.0/social media trainer and teacher. Austin, Texas Area. Writing and Editing.”

  • Use that billboard just below your photo; the box that asks, “What are you doing?” at the top of your profile. Think of it as free advertising for your business activities. Keep it updated every few days with projects you’re working on, articles you’ve written or professional conferences you’re attending. Every time you update your status, your LinkedIn network will see it on their own Home page.

Filling out the rest of your profile is pretty self-explanatory, but be mindful of the unique challenges of writing for the Web.  Chunk up your text and provide plenty of white space.

Whenever you exchange business cards with anyone, add another step and connect on LinkedIn. You never know when a network might come in handy, and it’s a lot tougher to develop one when the situation is desperate.

In a future post we’ll talk about the benefits of joining Groups, and building credibility by participating in Questions and Answers.

This post was written by:

Sheila Scarborough - who has written 31 posts on Every Dot Connects.

I'm a freelance writer specializing in travel, NHRA drag racing and social media/Web 2.0.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Chuck Jeffery Says:

    Thanks for your tips on setting up a Linkedin profile. The rusty chain really drives your point home.
    All the best,

  2. Sheila Scarborough Says:

    Hi Chuck, Thanks for visiting, and I’m glad you like the photo. I find wonderful graphics (with the appropriate Creative Commons alternative copyright) on Flickr. If you click on the photo of the chains, it will take you to the photographer’s page on Flickr so you can see their original photo and others that they’ve taken.