1) Include a professional photo
LinkedIn is all about connecting, networking and building relationships with colleagues, contacts, potential clients, and strategic connections. Just like the real world, people like to know who they are talking to, and adding a picture will make you seem more approachable in the digital world.
Regarding the photo, use a simple yet professional head stock type picture. Never use a personal, non-professional picture such as one that you might use for your Facebook profile.
2) Professional Headline
After your name, the next area that people will see is your professional headline. Think of your headline as a quick one-sentence snapshot of who you are and what you do. Many will simply use their title and workplace, others weave in skills or a value proposition. Your headline is also one of the main areas for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keywords. Think of how someone might find you in a Google search query and incorporate some of the main keywords.
After your headline, your summary is the next most important area from an SEO perspective. Your summary is the expansion of your professional headline. Here, you can go into greater detail about yourself, background, skill set, and accomplishments. Your summary is essentially your professional, work-related biography. This is also an area to pepper in key words to increase the searchability of your LinkedIn profile.
4) Detailed Work History
I recommend going beyond simply listing your work experience. Provide details about all relevant work experience. Some will include a one-sentence description of the job and then list key accomplishments. I like using bullet as they are easier to read than paragraphs.
5) Customized URL
When you create your LinkedIn profile, you will notice that the URL (or website address) will have a string of numbers and letters at the end. This is a dead giveaway that you are a newcomer to LinkedIn. Fortunately, LinkedIn gives us the ability to customize our URL. Sign into your account, then click “Edit Profile” from the drop-down menu under the profile tab. Under your profile picture, you will see your LinkedIn URL. To the right of your URL, there is an Edit button. Click edit to customize your URL.
Questions? Shoot me an email or tweet, I'm happy to help.