Once you have set up your LinkedIn account (which is free), your first task is to create your LinkedIn profile. This is your online CV and is your chance to impress those who want to know more about you. Get this right before you start to create your network, as you may only have one chance to make a good impression on someone who can make a difference to you.
Just put your name in the name field. That’s what the field was designed for and it looks more professional if you stick to the convention. Adding an email address or a job title might make it easier for people to find and contact you, but it clutters names in listings of contacts and it will annoy people. It also breaks LinkedIn’s rules and is likely to get your account shut down. Further, publishing an email address in this way is likely to ensure that you start to receive a lot of spam.
List every job you have had and provide a short description of what the company did, what you did, and most important, what you achieved in that job. This will give people an idea of who you are and what you are capable of. It will also make it much easier for former colleagues to find you. Ensure that you make use of relevant keywords within your description (especially things that you might want someone to find you for).
Spend time getting your summary right – this is your “elevator pitch” which will either get someone’s interest quickly, or let them know that you are not the person they need. Make sure that you use the additional information section to add any other important details about you that have not already been included elsewhere, eg, professional qualifications and memberships.
Add a photo to your profile – this makes it easier to relate to you as a person, it makes it easier for someone who has only met you once to remember who you are, and it makes it easier for someone to spot you at an event if they are keen to make contact with you. You can choose whether your photo is only available to your immediate connections or to your network (connections to the third degree) or public.