“I know LinkedIn is an important social media site for professional networking, but I don’t know where to start.”

“I don’t get LinkedIn. What do you do on it? Is it even a social media site?”

Does this sound like you?  Facebook and other social media sites just seem more obvious.  What do you even use LinkedIn for?

But what if I told you there were a few things you could do to improve your chances of being contacted on LinkedIn by potential employers, business partners, and customers.  Would you set aside some time to work on your LinkedIn profile?

Well, you are in luck because there are three things you can do today to increase your chances of being contacted.  I challenge you to put some time on your calendar in the next few days to take these steps.

Get a Professional Headshot Taken

One of the most popular questions I receive is if someone should get a professional headshot taken.  I used to say that you can probably take as good of a picture yourself.  But you know what? It isn’t true.  Every professional photo I see stands head and shoulders (sorry, bad pun) above the non-professional variety.  Hiring a professional photographer for this purpose typically isn’t incredibly expensive and worth the investment.  You can also use the photo on other social media sites.

Update Your Headline

Your LinkedIn headline is arguably the single most important line on your entire profile.  It appears next to your name in all of your search results and is the first thing someone sees when they click on your profile (with the exception of your photo – see #1).

Your headline should not be the default: Your Title at Your Company.   That is just wasting the space and it doesn’t say who you are.  What do you do? What skills do you have? These should be represented in your headline.

My current headline is Personal Branding & Social Media Marketing Consultant specialized in LinkedIn.  I think that does a good job of describing what I do.  Another alternative is to list your job experience and skills in a list.  This makes you easily findable when someone goes searching for those skill sets on LinkedIn.  Separate each skill with a dividing character like a pipe ( | ) or another symbol that will set each skill apart from each other. Example: Personal Branding | Social Media | LinkedIn | Public Speaker

Rewrite Your Summary

The summary is your opportunity to tell your story.  You can write a few paragraphs about who you are and your professional background.

But the summary is so much more than this.  When writing the summary, you will want to first consider what words are going to be most important to those trying to find you.  What words did you use in your headline that you just rewrote?

As you are rewriting your summary, be sure to use these words and phrases liberally, but naturally.  This will ensure that you rank well for these words when someone searches for them.

As an example, 10% of the people that read my LinkedIn profile find it by searching for the term social media.  This percentage is actually higher than the people looking for me by name. This means that my profile is getting in front of many people that had no clue who I was when they started their search and who are specifically looking for someone skilled at social media.

By just taking these three steps you today, you are going to see that LinkedIn is just as good of a social media site as Facebook and Twitter and could make you a lot of money!