LinkedIn used to just be thought of as the site for job hunting but it is now used much more widely; particularly by journalists and conference organisers so if you are looking for ways to promote yourself, get sponsorship or have a platform for finding work when you retire being on LinkedIn could be really helpful. It has over 500 million members and is the fourth most popular social media site so there will be a lot of people on there who could be helpful to you. Think of it as your online CV.
To get your profile looking professional you need to follow the following guidelines:
- Professional profile headshot for your picture – no holiday snaps – you want to show you could do a great job as an ambassador for a company.
- Add in a background photo of something highlighting what makes you special; could be of you in competition, or on a podium or meeting school children.
- Put in current responsibilities or expertise – this is the first thing people read.
- Think about the key words people might use to find you. Athlete, runner, footballer, spokesperson, leader. Drop these into your text where it works.
- Have you got any videos or photos of your competing? These would be great to add. Also add any press cuttings or interviews you have done.
- Filter the skills and endorsements so they match what you want to be known for.
- Try to customise your LinkedIn URL so you are easier to find. If firstnamelastname is already taken add ‘athlete’ or your sport to the end.
- Make your summary stand out. 2000 Characters. Use them well. Think about the key words people are likely to search for or the search words you want to be found by. Add in anything which makes your expertise or experiences significant.
- Build your network quickly by adding friends, other athletes, competition organisers, college or university alumni (if you attend / attended), leaders and influencers in your sporting field, your sports governing body staff and key clubs in your area.
- Join some groups. Pick some for interest and a few to get involved with. You will then pick up on interesting debates, wider connections and if you are a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first-degree connection in order to message them. When you connect with someone it is not just them, it is their network. So use it wisely. And be careful when you receive requests from people you don’t know.