LinkedIn is one of the first places prospective employers go to check you out. Without an awesome LinkedIn profile it’s likely they’ll just pass you by and move on to the next candidate. But that doesn’t have to happen! Take some time to spice up your profile using these 5 easy steps and you’ll stand out amongst the crowd like never before!
1. Carefully Craft Your Image
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, right? If so, why are you using a selfie you took on vacation as your “professional” photo on LinkedIn? Think about what that says. Try to use a photo that is representative of you and your personality but also has a professional look and feel. The photo should be posed, not random, and well-composed, in focus, and have good lighting. If you aren’t sure how to do that, consider hiring a photographer to take headshots for you. It might cost you a few bucks, but your career is worth it, right?
Also consider the cover image that is shown behind your profile. In most cases people just use the default LinkedIn background. Make yourself stand out by coming up with a custom graphic. This image should be consistent with the rest of your profile in tone and personality. If you’re a musician, for example, consider using a shot of you playing an instrument or a stock photo of a microphone. Just make sure it’s relevant to your professional goals.
2. Write an Awesome Headline
Your headline is your opening statement. It should hook the viewer immediately and give them some insight into your personality and what you do. By default LinkedIn makes your headline reflect your current role and where you work, but you can override that in your profile settings. Think about what it is that you really do in your job. How do you help people? What makes you unique? Play off of that and devise a concise, energetic, and witty (but not too witty) description that fits you. Take me for example; I create online courses and do social media marketing. But you won’t find either of those things in my headline. Instead I use…
Empowering Creatives and Brands to be More Successful
This statement embodies what I’m all about. My educational content empowers people to reach new heights in their careers, and my marketing services help brands grow and become more successful. This statement is completely reflective of who I am, what I believe, and what I offer the clients I work for.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Yourself
LinkedIn provides you with a section to write a personal summary. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the world and to weave a narrative that goes beyond the scope of your work experience. Your summary should include your accomplishments, relevant keywords that map to your career goals, and ultimately paint an intimate picture of who you are, what you’re passionate about, and why people should consider hiring you. Be 100% authentic here and don’t be afraid to let your true colors shine through.
4. Ditch the Bullet Points
Everybody’s resume is full of bullet points when listing their work experience. Don’t do that. Most of the time we use bullets because it makes it easier to condense the resume into the 1-2 page unspoken limit that we’ve been told to adhere to. LinkedIn is a different animal entirely. You’ve got a lot of space to get detailed. Treat your work experience(s) like an autobiography. What did you do? How did you do it? Why were you successful? Why did you Fail? Yes, don’t be afraid to discuss both success and failure. It humanizes you and lets employers know that you’re not above reproach.
If you’re at a loss for words when writing these descriptions, get in touch with former colleagues and managers (provided you left on good terms) and ask them to help you. In most cases they’ll be glad to rehash what they think you did well and what you needed to improve on.
5. Add Skills and Recommendations
Adding relevant skills to your LinkedIn profile should be a no-brainer. These let others know what you’re capable of doing and what type(s) of competencies you have relevant to your industry. Add as many as you can, but don’t lie. If you’re not 100% qualified to do something, don’t put it down. You might possess slight abilities in many facets of your industry, but those can come to light later in the interview process. Focus on your core strengths here.
Recommendations might be a little tougher than any other part of your profile because they rely solely on the cooperation of other people. Start by reaching out to former colleagues and managers, and ask them if they’d be comfortable recommending you.
Don’t use LinkedIn’s default invitation. Take the time to write a personalized message that specifically asks what you’d like them to recommend you for, how they should target what they say, and even consider writing a prompt for them and allowing them to edit or fill in the gaps. People are usually willing to help, but in many cases they’re busy, so make it as easy as possible for them to help you.
If you get a recommendation that you aren’t pleased with you can always ask for a revision. That might not be met with the best response, which is fine, but it’s worth asking if you don’t feel comfortable with what they had to say. Otherwise you have the option to decline the recommendation and hide it from your profile. However, there could be some personal consequences for that, so tread lightly.
Recommendations are a great way to show what type of subordinate, colleague, and collaborator you are. They give insight into your ability to communicate, meet deadlines, and also how you manage others. These are all very important to new employers, so adding them to your profile is one of the best ways to get more attention.
LinkedIn is an extension of your personal brand. In some cases it might be the only presence you have online. If that’s the case you should do everything possible to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward. Keep your profile up to date, adding relevant information as it comes to light, and don’t forget to participate across the network by using groups, writing articles, and sharing updates. Remember, you’re trying to stand out amongst the crowd, so do everything you can to make that happen.