LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn got a spiffy update recently, and the social media site for professionals is actually looking pretty sexy these days. Of course none of that glam means a thing if you can’t network like a boss, so here’s how to make the most of that newly sleek LinkedIn profile, courtesy of Krista Canfield, senior manager of corporate communications at LinkedIn:

Add a photo. If you’re on LinkedIn to begin with, it’s probably because you’re hoping to be spotted for some line of work or to increase your professional cred. But no matter what experience you have listed there, nothing speaks to people like a photo. If you’re on the fence about posting your image, consider this: Profiles with pics are as much as seven times more likely to be viewed. ‘Nuff said.

Spotlight your skills. LinkedIn now focuses more on sections like skills and accomplishments — and peers can even endorse specific skills — so be sure to keep that section updated: “You can add up to 50 LinkedIn Skills, everything from classical ballet to bloodstain pattern analysis,” says Canfield.

Share useful info. Your activity feed is now on top of your profile, so what (and how often) you share will be even more important than ever. Since this is a professional network, and not just a collection of family members and elementary school buddies, you’ll want to save your cat vids and the like for other networks (like Facebook). Post status updates and links that your business contacts might be interested in. (It is your business network, after all.) Compared to users who rarely post, people who share articles on LinkedIn once a week or more are almost 10 times more likely to be contacted by recruiters, says Canfield. Now, you don’t want to inundate your network, but you do want to be noticed, so remember: Quality over quantity.

Tell your story. Your account could gain greater visibility now, so don’t slack in fleshing out your background and work experience. If you’ve only listed one of several jobs there, get crackin’! Your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed if you have more than one gig listed under work experience. Remember: Recruiters can have a minimum number of years to search for. So don’t gloss over the deets.

Connect — productively, but discerningly. According to Canfield, the minimum number of linked contacts you want to have is 50. That’s what you’ll need to have “enough potential sources or contacts to really take advantage of the site’s three degrees of separation rule.” But that doesn’t mean you should just accept any invitation that comes your way — again, the rule is quality over quantity. It’s great if you have 1,000+ Facebook friends, but for a professional network, who you know can be as important as what you know. So collect those contacts, but be discerning and choose people you’re actually acquainted with.

Have you used LinkedIn to score important business contacts or to get a job? We want to hear your LinkedIn stories, so tell us about your professional networking experience.

[Via GeekSugar]