linkedinWith more than 467 million users across 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn is an incredible platform for networking. Remember though, being on there and having a weak profile could be more damaging than not being on there at all! Here, LSE Careers consultant Saffron Fidget shares her top tips for creating a brilliant profile and using LinkedIn successfully:

1. Target your profile: Are you looking for a new position or to build your contact base within an industry? Your profile needs to be tailored to your industry and target audience. Use your “summary” section to let people know what you’re looking for and keep it short and snappy – three or four lines will suffice. Also make sure that your picture is professional and sends out the right message.

2. Tailor your headline: Your headline/tagline automatically comes up as your current position, but if this isn’t desirable then you can change it to a phrase that best describes you. For example, your tagline could be “international development master’s student at LSE” or “experienced financial analyst”.

3. Increase your search ability: Get yourself into more searches by ensuring keywords associated with your industry and skillset are mentioned on your profile. This can be both in your ‘summary’ section and ‘experience’ section.

4. Gain skills endorsements: Be proactive and add your skills to your profile and consider asking your connections to endorse you for such skills. Return the favour and endorse your connections back.

5. Ask for professional recommendations: This is a really underused section but some users find it useful to get testimonials verifying their work and abilities. Aim to get a range that showcases all your achievements and skills. The more senior or influential the person who has written the recommendation the better, but make sure that any recommendations are relevant to your target audience.

6. Engage with all of LinkedIn’s features: The more actively you engage with LinkedIn, the more you are likely to get out of it. Join groups and contribute to discussions, follow thought leaders and companies and share posts so you appear in your connections’ news feeds as much as possible. LinkedIn is an engagement tool – use it!

7. Check out your job matches: If the jobs don’t match what you are looking for, then this is an indication your profile isn’t quite right. Companies are increasingly favouring LinkedIn to advertise jobs so it’s a great job search tool to use.

8. Connect with people and build a network: Think about how you can build up your network by connecting with university peers, alumni and academic contacts, work colleagues, friends and family, and people you have met at events and conferences.

9. Keep your profile ‘lean’ and up to date: Your profile needs to be achievement-focused. Use bullet points and limit examples to your best ones so these stand out. Also make sure to update your profile regularly with new positions, qualifications and skills.

10. Get to grips with LinkedIn’s settings: Take some time to tailor your privacy settings to what you are happy with (keeping in mind, of course, that the more ‘public’ your profile, the easier it is for recruiters, head-hunters and contacts to find you). You can also move sections around to make your profile page more visually appealing, and use the “upload” sections for links to blogs, videos, publications or presentations you would like to share.

And one last bonus tip: Whilst you’re doing profile editing, you can turn off your ‘activity broadcasts’ so your contacts are not notified. Then once you are happy with your profile, you can turn these broadcasts back on.