Many people know that having a LinkedIn presence is an important networking and job seeking strategy. But if you spend any time perusing profiles, it’s evident that a lot of people just don’t get how LinkedIn works. LinkedIn is no magic bullet for bringing down a good job. It’s only as good as you make it. People seem to get that they need to have information about themselves on their LinkedIn profile but often fall drastically short of presenting themselves in the best light.

You Have To Sell Yourself

LinkedIn is only a tool. When people look at your profile, they only see the information you’ve provided about yourself. If you can’t even bother to provide a polished, succinct and well written representation of your experience, abilities and education; why would they be interested in you? Imagine that you are a potential boss when you view your own profile. If you aren’t impressed, they won’t be either. Avoid rookie mistakes. If you aren’t a master of grammar, that’s okay. But take the time to proofread what you’ve written to avoid misspellings and poor grammar usage. Polish your prose. You will appear only as good as your profile.

Don’t Make People Guess

Don’t fall into the trap of setting up a LinkedIn account, uploading a photo and college information and calling it quits. You have to present a well-rounded and complete representation of who you are, of what your core competencies are. People need to gain a good glimpse of you and how impressive your accomplishments are. It’s not bragging. It’s providing relevant information about yourself that allows people to make a judgment about where you could fit in their company or among their professional contacts. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. Nobody needs to know if you absolutely adore the Grateful Dead. They need to see a profile which allows them to visualize you as a potential colleague.

Project Professionalism

Don’t use overly commercial and salesy language to describe your accomplishments. Aim for an objective, neutral and truthful representation of your academic and work experiences. If you’ve won awards in college; list them. If you received prestigious university fellowships; by all means describe them. If you’ve had online training describe it. But don’t overhype and oversell your accomplishments like a used car salesman selling a well washed and gleaming but suspect automobile. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim to present information in the best possible light. Of course you should. If you don’t do it; no one will.

Maximize Your Profile’s Effectiveness

If you have 200 LinkedIn connections and not a single one has given you a recommendation, it usually means one of two things. You’re not serious enough about networking or employment possibilities to have bothered asking for recommendations. Or, you’re not recommendable. Neither of these possibilities portrays you in a flattering light. You also need to keep your profile up to date. If you have recent relevant information which you haven’t included yet, do it. This also helps show activity on your LinkedIn profile and that’s important. Profiles that appear frozen in time are usually ineffective.