Over recent years, LinkedIn has carved its niche as the go-to social media platform for professional networking. It’s become one of the easiest ways to find out about and connect with over 500 million individuals and companies that have all learned how to set up a LinkedIn profile and take a step forward in building their personal brands.

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In the Philippines alone, there are over six million active LinkedIn profiles, which is not bad for the market that spends the most amount of time on social media in the world. That number is not only important for the company, but it also shows the wide range of professionals you can connect with on the platform once you’ve set up a LinkedIn profile.

Why create a LinkedIn profile?

Whether it's for job searching purposes or for building your professional network, LinkedIn has become an important tool for employers, employees, and entrepreneurs to connect with each other. Your LinkedIn profile serves as a touchpoint for people who are searching for you online, so it’s important to not only have one but to also make it as presentable as possible.

While creating a LinkedIn profile is as simple as registering for any online service, there are several things you can do to ensure that you can benefit from it as much as possible. Here are five tips on how to set up your own LinkedIn profile and how you can make the most out of it:

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1. Pick a professional-looking profile picture.

While you have every right to be proud of your beach photos and your vacation selfies, you’re better off saving them for your Facebook profile or your Instagram feed. With LinkedIn, you’re better off sticking with photos where you look presentable and approachable, or at least one that makes a good first impression.

Shallow as it may sound, your profile picture will be the first thing most people will see on your LinkedIn profile, so it’s important to look your best. That doesn’t mean it should be plain and boring—your profile photo should give people a glimpse of your personality. Just keep it classy.

2. Choose the words of your headline and summary carefully.

Much like your profile photo will be the first thing people see of your LinkedIn profile, your headline and summary will be the first things people read. While your picture aims to give a positive first impression, these two elements are supposed to convey two things: what you do and why people should pay attention to you.

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Your headline serves as the short title below your name in LinkedIn. More than telling the world what your current job is, the headline aims to convey to your profile viewers what you specialize in and what you can bring to the table.

In the same way, the summary—the sentences right below your photo and headline in your LinkedIn profile—is your formal introduction to the digital world. Think of it as the hypothetical spiel a host would give before your speech in a hypothetical event; it tells the world who you are, what you do, and why you were invited to speak at that event. In other words, your summary gives people a taste of your brand, so it’s important to make it as interesting as possible.

Having a creative and simple headline as well as an engaging and informative summary are important in learning how to set up a LinkedIn profile. Together with your profile picture, these elements ensure that any prospective employers or professional contacts would be interested to find out more about you.

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3. Beef up your profile’s body.

While the two steps above make sure that people would click and view your LinkedIn profile, all that attention will be put to waste if you don’t fill in all the relevant information that makes up the rest of your page. After all, this story is giving you tips on how to set up a LinkedIn profile, and that doesn’t stop with the first impressions.

Putting it simply, your LinkedIn profile acts as a digital version of your resume. But that doesn’t mean that it’s only there to tell people about your work experience and educational background—LinkedIn’s profile settings also allow you to set your skills, interests, and accomplishments, allowing you to paint a more interesting picture beyond job titles and school courses.

LinkedIn also allows users to add various types of media to further personalize their profiles. This can range from photos, videos, and other visual media to blog posts, articles, and other written media. The site also supports presentations and slide decks for those who use them.

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4. Connect with the best people.

If Facebook has friends and Twitter has followers, LinkedIn has connections. But while it’s tempting to build the biggest network you can, your LinkedIn profile will be much more effective if you’re connecting with the best people.

That might sound exclusionary and almost contradictory to the point of using social media, but connecting with the best people simply means building the type of professional network that you’re aiming to build in the first place. That could mean only connecting with people from a particular industry or limiting it to people you’ve already met in real life. In other words, it’s being mindful of the quality of these connections instead of the quantity.

5. Keep your profile updated.

After following all the steps above on how to set up your LinkedIn profile, it’s easy to just ignore it and let it rest until you need to find a new job again or until you need to seek a certain connection. But what separates a good profile from a great profile is how frequently it’s updated.

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Updates aren’t limited to your new job titles—they can also involve adding to or changing the skills and accomplishments you’ve put on your profile. It can also be as simple as adding new types of media that you’ve created or are involved in ever since you set up your LinkedIn profile.

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