Have a good, relevant, appropriate photograph.
Too many people either have no picture, or a poor pixelated selfie snap. If you can manage to do better than that, then you are already ahead of the pack!
Don’t leave your details blank
Fill them in and you achieve LinkedIn All Star ranking, it also shows that you are a finisher and can get the job done. You will also rank higher in more keyword searches, so why not rank as well as possible?
Get to the 500+ connections
If you don’t have 500+ you’re just putting yourself at a disadvantage to those who have hit this marker. It might seem arbitrary but viewers will discriminate whether they admit it or not, if they can choose between someone with 50 connections and someone with 500+. Once you hit the magic number of 501, it’s not immediately obvious if the person has 5001 or 501. For this reason, it’s worth hustling a little to hit this total.
The alumni effect, list your college and previous workplaces
List the college(s) and companies where you studied, each one you list adds in another Venn diagram circle of people, who will think of your more favourably simply because you are fellow alumni. Viewers of your profile are looking to see what they have in common, college and work can be an easy win. It might have been twenty years apart, but it will still increase their affinity to you.
Include your contact details!
Make it easy for people to contact you. Include your email, Twitter handle, website, even phone number. If you’re going to be on LinkedIn then the whole point is to make it easy for people to find and contact you. It might sound obvious but many people don’t do this.
Use the profile to showcase yourself
Include your publications, your articles, anything you have written. And if you haven’t written something, then now is the time to do so. It shows that you can express yourself, and that you have something intelligent to say.
Post content fairly regularly
This will keep you in people’s minds. Don’t overdo it, no one likes, or needs a spammer, but once to a few times a week is good. It’s also smart and strategic to tag relevant people in your posts, as they are then likely to share it too. All of this shows that you are engaged and thoughtful in your chosen field.
Apply for jobs using your LinkedIn profile.
This is one of the best new things that LinkedIn have introduced. A truly painless and quick way to apply for jobs. Because you have already completed and updated your profile (see #1 to #7 above) you have already done the hard work. All you need to do now is click the apply button. This is great, and such an improvement on those job applications which require you filling in yet another repetitive 6-page long application form. This is a painless way to apply for possibly interesting jobs, that takes so little of your time that you have nothing to lose from doing this. LinkedIn has its pros and cons, but this is, currently, definitely one of its great pros.
Reply to messages received
If someone takes the time to actually message you it makes sense to acknowledge this and respond. They may not come to anything, but not responding will ensure nothing comes to pass. Generally, opportunities evolve over time, between twitter conversations, emails and LinkedIn messages, so just keep an eye it relatively regularly (twice weekly if not more ideally).
Finally, (slightly controversially) don’t spend too much time on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a useful tool. However, some of the busiest groups on it have become self-promotional spam feeds. Too many people are self-promoting too often. Consequently, there can be large flows of too much, (not very useful) information in some of the groups. LinkedIn has good potential to be really useful but it also needs to find a way to curate its groups to ensure they continue to offer the best value for users.
For a summary of all the points discussed in this post check out this really cool infographic!