While it may not boast of as large a user base as social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is the largest undisputed market leader among professional networking sites. As of 2015, LinkedIn has over 240 million active users.
In the globalized, hyper-connected business world of the 21st century, building, nurturing, and sustaining long-lasting professional relationships as part of a network has become one of the cornerstones of vocational advancement and career development. As the premier portal for business networking, LinkedIn offers a classy, feature-rich platform to bring together like-minded professionals from all backgrounds to exchange views, news, and promotions.
But among its most-successful functionalities has been its utility as a career portal, where individual users and organizations can advertise, promote, and apply to open positions. With LinkedIn being the first port-of-call for over 93% of recruiters, the site is trusted almost universally in industry and is, as a result, immensely popular.
However, this increased visibility comes at a cost: the standards for LinkedIn profiles is higher than those that may land you a job at some of the less reputable job portals. Profiles on this portal are generally better researched, employ crisper language, and eschew verbosity in favor of minimalism.
It takes quite a bit of effort to create the perfect LinkedIn profile, and the bar has been set high.
Will yours make the cut?
Here are a few tips that will help you polish up your LinkedIn presence!
Tip #1: Spruce up Your Profile Header
As the first thing that many recruiters would notice, the LinkedIn Header showcases who you are, as a professional, and is the first touch-point between a business and you. A good, catchy header should not only capture a cross-section of your personality at a glance, but also helps you attract new followers. Your hero image should be 1400 x 425 pixels and under 4MB in size. The header stands as a powerful way to put your brand out there.
Do not leave your Header empty, even if your profile is incomplete!
Here are examples of perfect headers. This header makes a person want to read the entire profile. Note the difference between this profile with a header and the same one above, without a header.
Tip #2: Add an Appropriate Display\Profile Picture
Imagine coming across a profile that has no profile picture, or has one with a butterfly. Such callousness would only convey the idea that you are not as committed to career advancement as most others on the site, and is generally thought of as being in poor taste.
Putting a face to an otherwise sterile page also increases engagement, both, with head-hunting employers and with peers. Your profile picture should be clear, up to date and very professional, with a pleasant expression – preferably a smile.
This is what an account without a profile picture looks like – incomplete! Contrast this with the DPs below.
Tip #3: Don’t Forget the Headline
The goal of the headline is to grab the reader’s attention and build their curiosity so they read ahead. Make it a reflection of what you do best, your greatest strengths, and your chief passion. It needs to be accurate so that employers know you are what they are looking for.
Tip #4: Customize the URL To Your Profile
Having a customized URL makes it easier for people to find you via an organic search by only using your name. If your ideal URL is not available, then use a combination of initials and last name or throw in a middle name as well. You can even get creative!
Tip #5: Sort That Summary Out!
A profile’s focal point is the summary. The summary explains everything. Use your summary to tell a story. Refrain from putting your professional life in plain text. Spice it up a little – make it creative – you will need to keep the reader engrossed – so tell a story! Use the first person, so you come off as conversing with them which will turn into something fun and lively.
Use the past, present, and future for your reference. Talk about your previous job experiences, how you got there, what you are doing now, and what you have planned for the future. Add media links, such as articles you may have done, or videos you may have put up.
Tip #6: Education Background and Work Experience
All of your job titles and educational backgrounds need to be filled in with appropriate keywords. People cannot assume where you have studied or what you have done in the past. Refrain from leaving these spaces empty.
If there are more empty spaces then add to them. Just because you cannot put certain things on your resume does not mean you cannot update them on LinkedIn. People are curious about your life and achievements, so capitalize on this.
Tip #7: Achievements and Skills
Include your personal interests. Use them as ice breakers. For example, you may be a ‘Golden State Warriors’ fan. If your potential new employer is a fan of the game or, even better, of the same team, it will open doors to conversations other than just the job.
Besides, including such information helps prevent monotony, and adds a human touch to the description. Emphasize achievements over skills, since employers are more interested in finding out what you may have achieved with your skills and put them to good use.
Tip #8: Highlight Any And All Recommendations and Endorsements
Recommendations and Endorsements can strengthen your LinkedIn profile a lot. They serve as third-party validations. Endorsements are not as impressive as recommendations. Users just have to tick a box on your profile to endorse certain skills. But having endorsements accounts for at least something. They stand as testaments for your abilities.
Recommendations, however, are written statements from your LinkedIn connections. You can request for a recommendation on LinkedIn. A positive recommendation will add credibility to your profile. Recommendations from
- Former managers
- High level clients
Carry the most weight.
- Having keywords that are related to the job – makes your profile easier to find.
- Hard numbers in accomplishments- measurable. Well-written copy
- Complete profiles – no blank spaces
- Accomplishments that stand out
- Lots of connections
- Great recommendations from high level connections
- A foolish picture
- Ghastly jobs or job descriptions
- Profile missing key information
- Connections are in single digits
- Recommendations only from very junior-level connections
In a nutshell
- Choose your audience. Obviously, you cannot impress everybody. So, pick a group or a set of the audience that you want to impress and design your profile accordingly.
- Decide on a goal\objective. What do you want the person to know about you and how much. What kind of impression do you want to make on them.
- Fill up all the blanks in your profile. Do not leave anything empty. Work with a professional tone while you are writing.
- Tell them why you are good, why they should want you.
- But make yourself approachable. Do not appear snobbish or unapproachable
- Use action oriented and straight forward language throughout your profile.
- Most importantly, highlight your strengths.