LinkedIn is a truly powerful platform. There are over 756 million worldwide users using this professional social media tool. It is one of the best ways to network, connect and engage with prospective recruiters, hiring managers, employers and professional contacts.
Do you have a strong profile? It’s actually far easier than a resume because their platform makes it so user friendly. Professional Career Coaches and LinkedIn Experts have numerous suggestions for ways to make your profile stand out. Here are some of their main takeaways below.
Be sure to include a professional looking headshot as your profile photo. Statistics show that profiles with pictures are over 80% more likely to be viewed. Many local photographers realize the importance of this site and offer headshot packages for economical rates. You can also enlist a friend or family member to take a good shot on your cell phone. The key is that it represents how you would dress for an interview or your first day in a dream job.
A personalized background is key as well. You can find free images using Google or design your own from a user-friendly site such as canva.com.
Hint, ensure your tagline is NOT your current title. Choose something that represents who you are to prospective employers or connections. You can summarize your industry, profession or keywords that describe what you bring to the table for an employer.
Confused? That’s fair. Research industry leaders in your field for some examples. It will click when you see how others use this valuable profile “real estate” to POP.
Are You Real? Then Sound Like It!
Standards have changed in the past few years. The summary USED to be a 3rd party overview of your background or a few sentences to describe you. Now LinkedIn Experts say it’s time to get real and sound more like yourself. It’s okay and encouraged to use first person “I” statements or sound like a human in this section.
This area is meant to attract others to connect, engage or network with you. Some ideas include:
- Introduce yourself in the first person and describe where you’ve been professionally.
- Highlight key areas of expertise and talent – this will help recruiters find you in keyword searches!
- Possibly mention where you are going IF you are openly seeking work or can do so in a way that does not tip off your current employer.
- End with a call to action – what is the best way to reach you? Email or phone? Include it! Via LinkedIn? State that. This closing should encourage others to reach out to you for networking, opportunities or engagement.
This is the section that can allow for some flair as well. Bullets, emojis and formatting are all acceptable – within reason based on your profession. A graphic designer would want to get more creatively bold here than a CPA.
Here is a link to help you do just that! Visit https://coolsymbol.com/cool-fancy-text-generator.html to copy/paste items as you see fit. Just be cognizant of character limits – and don’t worry, LinkedIn will tell you when you’ve hit the maximum.
Feel free to check out other industry leaders in your fields of choice for examples and ideas. These profiles will help you gauge what is “too much” or “not enough” for formatting. Keep it authentic to your style and you’ll be set!
Copy and Paste is Your Time Saving Friend
A lot of folks may scare you off from what to put under each of your positions…the thing is, you likely already HAVE this information in your resume. Feel free to copy/paste those bullets over! Many experts will advise you to leave some numbers or bullets off so that it’s not an exact replica of your resume or to emphasize a few things your resume may not have like soft skills or first person “I” statements (which are still okay in these sections as long as it still reads like more of a bulleted list that is easy to scan).
A good rule of thumb is to put enough information there to make recruiters or managers want to reach out to you but still be left impressed with some new information or results when they see your resume too. It’s sort of like dating – LinkedIn is like the first date and the resume is like the second date in that it provides a little more background and information that isn’t as readily available to the public like your profile is.
Avoid Age Related or Inexperienced Biases
Feel free to limit your experience to 10-15 years’ worth of job history to avoid any age-related discrimination. Conversely, for this reason and to avoid “inexperienced” biases, feel free to leave the years off of your graduation dates too.
Proof is in the Pudding…Validation Counts!
Have at least 5 recommendations from others saying you’re awesome – supervisors, peers, vendors, clients and professional connections all count. Continue to grow this list as you move forward in your career and feel free to hide older ones as you see fit when that time comes.
How Do They Reach You?
Is your contact information up to date? Please make sure it is! Also, never use your work email here…should you leave, you will be locked out or they won’t be able to reach you. Use a personal email address for this section; same goes for phone numbers.
Work in Progress
This platform is constantly evolving and updating. Your profile will ALWAYS be a work in progress if you’re doing it correctly. Ensure you update it every few months and stay abreast of recommendations on sections not covered today such as Skills or Endorsements. In time, you will want to ensure you capture training, certifications, volunteer work, and other relevant topics like publications.
Now that you have the foundation to create a profile that rocks, the question is, how are you using it?
It’s time to start authentically engaging with others on this platform. The more you use it, the more benefits you will see from it. The more you are on there, the more likely a recruiter or hiring manager will find you.
As you start to develop relationships on this platform, you can begin to network more deeply via lunches, coffees, phone calls or Zoom meetings with the contacts and connections you start to meet. Reversely, as you meet others and network, be sure to add them to this platform.
If you’re looking for more information that can help you pull off a career change, the staff at The Advance Group wants to hear from you. Contact us today. Be sure to follow and connect with us on LinkedIn too!