Maybe you're looking for a job. Have you looked at your LinkedIn lately?
C'mon now. This is an online resume, open-ended cover letter, and narrative of your professional life. Unless your name is John Doe, a web search for your name is going to turn up your LinkedIn almost immediately. This is your opportunity to provide something shiny, intelligent, and useful, so that your future employer doesn't dig further -- and find the Facebook page that you should have tweaked.
Enough babbling. Let's do some work.
What's in a 120 character headline? The default is your job title (student), which isn't particularly helpful or unique. Tell the world who you are professionally, and who you want to be. "Appellate advocacy fanatic and wordsmith, seeking a chance to make an impact." "Tech geek turned lawyer, seeking work in seed stage financing." In fact, those are each less than 70 characters. See what you can do with the full 120.
Undercover Recruiter has a few samples, all of which beat the hell out of "Student at Midwestern Law School."
4. Update It
Have you updated your publications? How about your recent pro bono work? Does your headline and bio still reflect your career goals?
It's easy to fill out your profile once. Remembering to update it is the hard part, but you don't want to be looking for a job in two years with "Student" still affixed to your name.
Ditch the graduation photo. Delete any photos in t-shirts. You need a proper headshot.
People want to connect with people, not blank avatar squares, which give the impression that you were too lazy to upload a photo. Fake photos or pictures of physical objects are nearly as objectionable, as they tell the viewer that you are introverted or lack self-confidence.
On our Strategist Blog, we have tips for taking headshots, and more importantly, for testing them to find the best one.
2. Fix Your Bio
This is probably the most important part of your profile. You want to demonstrate value to your visitors, without sounding obnoxious, arrogant, or illiterate. Show your specialties and skills via descriptions of what you've done, avoid clichés, and be quick about it -- err on the side of brief and impactful.
Another tip: you can embed video, audio, presentations, and photos into your profile. This is great for that presentation you did about recent Supreme Court cases, but not for cat photos.
For more tips on shameless self-promotion on social media, BufferApp has a great list of tips for foolproof bios.
1. Contact Info and Websites
You have room for an email address, IM, phone, address, Twitter, and three websites. You want connections to be able to reach you, and the websites list is great for showing off content that you've written, your personal website, and your law firm (if you have one).
Again, keep it updated and keep it filled out.
Have any killer LinkedIn tips? Tweet 'em to us @FindLawLP and we'll pass them along.
- How Not To (or How To) Get a Law Job: Post Nude Selfies on Facebook (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)
- Things Law Students Should Never Do on Social Media (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)
- Top 5 Social Media Mishaps by Lawyers and Law Students of 2013 (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)