Today most companies are either going to find and recruit you from your LinkedIn profile. Or if you apply to their company, they are likely to check your profile. A whopping 98% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, and 85% of hiring managers look at an applicant’s profile on LinkedIn. Those stats alone prove that having a LinkedIn profile – and making sure it’s up to date – is crucial. By putting time into building your profile you can “stand out in a crowd”. You will be seen as an informed professional, and if the time ever does come when you want to, or need to, look for a new job you already have a great start.
So, here are some tips to help you build a strong LinkedIn profile.
- Keep in mind that details are critical (spelling, grammar, punctuation).
- Profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to be viewed. The right picture is worth a thousand words (People remember faces better than they remember names). Pro-Tip: Don’t go with a grainy ten year old summer vacation photograph, or any outdated photo.
- What does your profile photo say about you?
- Does it show you as a professional?
- Does it convey you as friendly and approachable?
- A headline and summary are key! A headline is one of the most important portions of your LinkedIn profile. Not only is it an excellent place to include critical career-minded keywords, but it will show up frequently throughout key LinkedIn locations such as Search Results, Connection Invitations, Employee Listings, Company Pages, and Messages. This is the place where you can use superlatives and creative wordsmithing in order to attract attention. You want to keep it professional, but this is an important opportunity to make yourself memorable. LinkedIn is really a search engine so choose to make your headline something searchable that will help people who are looking for the services you provide or the particular skill set you bring to the table find you.
- Summary – a summary of 40 words or less makes you more likely to turn up in a search. Make your summary the focal point of your profile. This is another place for you to shine and differentiate yourself from all the other computer programmers, accountants, marketers, and other professionals. You can even fill this section come alive with real-world evidence of your contribution to the industry. You can use any of the following tools to do that: video, images, audio, presentations, slide shows, and documents.
- Your Experience, Skills, and Expertise- Resist the temptation to cut and paste your resume into the experience column of your LinkedIn profile. Try to use words in this section to paint a revealing portrait of the skills and talents you possess. This is more than a description of previous jobs so keep this section easy for readers to scan quickly. But also make an effort to showcase your accomplishments, talents, and accolades in a compelling manner.
- Include volunteer experience (remember you want to stand out from the crowd) and remember to check the box to show you want to volunteer (if you do).
- Recommendations are a great addition to your LinkedIn profile. Ask those kindly providing a recommendation to give specific examples of your accomplishments.
- Avoid using vague or generic buzzwords in your profile or throughout your experience, instead use real-life examples on how you’re a motivated professional. Here are 10 common buzzwords to avoid: motivated, passionate, creative, driven, extensive experience, responsible, strategic, track record, organized, and expert.
- Lastly, build a strong network. As the popular adage goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Building a strong LinkedIn profile is going to take a bit of time, but it is important, and will serve you very well in your professional work.
Written by: Jackie Falch and used with permission.