Education – Unfinished degrees & high school diplomas
It seems obvious enough that if you received a degree that you would include that information on your profile. Right? Right. (And don’t forget to join your college alumni’s LinkedIn group(s) to stay in touch with other alumni.) But what if you attended college but didn’t receive your degree? I would recommend including it but be sure to represent yourself accurately and indicate in the Description field how far you went in your studies and – if appropriate – why you were not able to obtain the degree. Perhaps you got an amazing job opportunity or a once in a lifetime chance to study abroad. Whatever you do you want to be truthful about not obtaining the degree. You don’t want to end up like these guys: 5 Executives Who Lied on Their Resume (and Got Caught.)Oops!
What about my high school diploma? If you have received a college degree and have a few years under your belt in the work force you can take this off (unless your high school has a strong alumni group on LinkedIn.) By now it’s assumed that you have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
No contact info? That’s a LinkedIn FAIL
Whether you are interested in professional networking or are ready for your next career opportunity it’s going to be really difficult for people to get in contact with you if you don’t have any contact info listed. (You can’t argue with that logic.) Below is a list of fields included in the Contact Info section and tips for saturating each one.
Fields visible to your connections
- Email – Use a professional email address! Using your email address from high school likely won’t represent you well in the professional world (Yes, I’m talking to you SassyPants1234@domain.com!) Not to mention you’ve probably signed up to receive a variety of promotional emails that drop daily into this inbox and you want to make sure important emails don’t get lost in all that clutter. I recommend having two email accounts. One for promotions and a second for professional correspondence or emails with your kid’s school, or former colleagues/professors etc.
Formatting a professional email address: Firstname.email@example.com is ideal but if it’s taken throw in a middle initial or a combination of your name that isn’t already taken. Ex: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org – you get the idea. Now use this address on your LinkedIn profile, SassyPants1234.
- Phone – I have made the decision not to include my phone number in my LinkedIn profile. Why? Because anyone that would need to contact me professionally can do so via email. Also, people who need to call me already have my phone number, or if I was applying for a new role, it would be listed at the top of my resume.
- IM – I am not an “IMer” but if you are, LinkedIn allows you to input up to three IM addresses for a variety of platforms.
- Address – For obvious reasons I don’t list my full address. I just list a general geographic area like Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN so recruiters (for example) would have a general idea of where I might be looking for a new role.
Fields visible to everyone on LinkedIn
- Twitter – Only add your Twitter account if you are using Twitter to gather/share information about professional topics. Do not add a Twitter account you use to tweet about sports, celebrities, leisure activities or retweet jokes. As with any social media account a potential employer could rule you out for your dream job based on unprofessional content. Beware! For more info about this read my blog: Clean Up Your Social Resume Just like with email addresses I recommend having a two Twitter accounts. One for fun topics and one for professional content.
- WeChat – If you have a WeChat account you can add it to your profile by scanning a code using the app.
- Websites – LinkedIn allows you to link up to three websites in this area. What kind of websites? You can include your company’s web address, a link to your blog, your portfolio etc. This can be a surprising source for traffic to these sites and can help you build a following. So if you have them, add them but again, only if they are used gather/share information about professional topics. (Promote your blog about online dating or fantasy football on your personal, not your professional, Facebook or Twitter and not on LinkedIn!) If you’re lucky a recruiter or hiring manager will read them and you’ll land your dream job.
- Customize your public profile URL – Details. Details. But a URL that looks something like this: www.linkedin.com/in/JOHN-DOE/589p/89632/zf43a looks messy and seriously diminish your claim of being “detail oriented” This can be easily branded with your name making it easier to remember, easier to use (on your resume or business cards etc.) and it looks a lot more professional.
Read the next blog in this H2Oggi Series: Saturate your LinkedIn Profile: Skills & Endorsements.