Top 10 Tips For Creating An Effective LinkedIn Profile
Some of you may be familiar with this social media platform, while others may be asking, "What the heck is LinkedIn?"
Think of it as Facebook, but for your career. That's oversimplifying it a bit. But it's basically a platform that allows you to network with people and companies from various industries, whilst giving you the opportunity to create a profile that showcases your skills, achievements and work history, to then have on display for any would-be recruiters that may be searching for someone just like you to fill a position they have. Effectively providing you a way to display your digital resume, and then network with people who may be able to help get you into the field of your choice.
If the old saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know," has any truth to it, then LinkedIn gives you the chance to get to know the right people, in the right places, from a professional and career standpoint.
Setting up a profile doesn't take very long at all, and it might help you to find that much needed edge in your career hunt. Read on below, for our top 10 tips for creating a profile that will help you to get noticed by the right people, for all the right reasons.
Once you've read the tips, you can head over to LinkedIn's sign up page, to sign up and start creating your profile.
1. Use the right profile picture
Statistics show that you're 7 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn, with a profile picture, rather than without. But your picture is going to be your virtual first impression with recruiters, so how do you make sure it's a positive one?
As a guide, the picture should present you in a professional light. Unless you're a party planner, it's probably best not to use that photo of your sitting on your friends shoulders at your last pool party.
Your face should take up about 60% of the frame. It should be recent, and it should be an accurate portrayal of what you actually look like. You could potentially come off as untrustworthy to recruiters or employers, if they meet you in person and discover that you look nothing like your profile.
Make sure that the background you use isn't too distracting, and do your best to appear friendly, rather than stern or intimidating. You should also try to wear something that is at least as classy as you would wear to work. Board shorts and thongs, would obviously be a little too casual if you were applying for a high level banking position, for example.
Some people don't like having their picture taken, but it's worth doing it right. If you don't feel confident doing it yourself, you can ask a photographically inclined friend, or even consider having some professional head-shots taken. Just remember that your LinkedIn profile picture is less about socialising and expressing your inner emotions, and more about networking and promoting your personal brand.
2. Maximise the impact of your profile headline
After your profile picture, your headline will be the first thing anyone looking at your profile sees and reads. This is generally where most people will list their current position or job title, which is fine. But your headline can be so much more.
When recruiters are searching for potential candidates, your headline will have an impact on what searches you appear in. So it's important to maximise your keyword placement, so that you appear more often in relevant searches in your industry.
It also needs to be compelling and help you stand out from the crowd. If it doesn't grab the attention of the recruiter, they will move on to the next candidate in the search.
If you're not sure how to structure your headline creatively, search for profiles of people in the marketing and advertising industry. These are generally people who know how to make an impact with catchy titles, so you might be able to pick up some pointers based on what they've created for themselves.
3. Put some effort into your summary
A lot of people will skip the summary section when creating their LinkedIn profile. But they're missing out on an opportunity to tell their personal professional story, and really sell themselves.
Your summary is visible to people outside of your personal network. This is what recruiters will see when they come across your profile. So you should think of this space as a mini resume. And as people from outside your network can't see your contact details, it can also be a good idea to add them into your summary, to make it easier for recruiters to get in touch.
Ensure that it's keyword rich to improve your search-ability, but also genuine and relatable. Don't just list jobs you've had or skills you've acquired. Try to illustrate what it is about you that will benefit an employer and how.
4. Select relevant skills
The skills section allows you to work through a fairly exhaustive list, and select all of the skills that you feel apply to you.
Ensure that the skills you select, reinforce the statements you've made with your headline and summary, and that they are also relevant to your target industry.
The skills you select will provide the platform from which you receive endorsements. So try to think from a perspective of what other people would agree were your strongest professional traits.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for endorsements
Endorsements provide authority to validate your skills profile. Effectively, you are having other people give their approval or ranking on what they believe are your strongest traits. This will also serve to improve your recruiter search ranking.
You shouldn't be afraid to reach out to colleagues and associates within your industry to ask for honest endorsements. You may also choose to endorse them, which could encourage them to reciprocate.
But try and ensure that the people endorsing your skills, are doing so from a relevant perspective. People who's opinion would be considered an authority on the key skill or skills, that you were asking them to endorse.
You should also monitor how the endorsements you receive are affecting your profile's image. In terms of whether the endorsements are weighting your skills set authority in a way that doesn't reflect your true professional persona. You can edit which skills to show or hide in the edit features of your Skills list, to ensure that you maintain control of your personal brand.
6. Expand your network
They say it's not what you know, but who you know that really matters. While this is debatable, it's definitely true that the right networking can really open doors for you and your career prospects.
Once you have a few connections under your belt, LinkedIn will be able to recommend more people that may be relevant to your field, for you to connect to. Joining relevant industry groups will also help with these recommendations.
But if you're starting out from scratch, it can be a good idea to allow LinkedIn to sync with your email address book. This then allows LinkedIn to provide suggestions of people that you could connect with.
You should also take the opportunity to follow up business meetings or interviews with LinkedIn connection requests. Again, it's important to keep these connections relevant, to maximise your exposure and presence in your field of choice.
7. Join and follow relevant groups and companies
LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. By joining a group, you're improving your exposure, and your able to stay up to date with innovations in your industry.
As part of a group, you'll be able to search for and contact other members of that group. This helps you to expand your network, and assuming you've chosen groups relevant to you, you'll be able to connect with other like minded, and potentially influential people, in your field.
Companies will often post details around vacant positions, or upcoming recruitment drives. Following them on LinkedIn, will help you to stay abreast of any potential opportunities.
8. Add value to your network's feed
LinkedIn is similar to other social and networking platforms, in that it has a feed, consisting of posts and information, shared by your connections and the groups and companies you follow.
Participating in this feed, will help to improve your visibility to your network. This can be done through the creation of original posts, sharing relevant information, or commenting on content shared by your connections.
Remember that the primary reason for LinkedIn, is to present and sell your personal professional brand. So try to ensure that anything you post, or any comments that are made, serve to add value to your network.
9. Customise your URL
When you sign up to LinkedIn, you'll be automatically assigned a personal URL. However this is generally an unmemorable collection of numbers and letters. Your URL is what you will provide to others for them to be able to connect with you. As such, you want something a little easier to market. Ideally, something in the format of linkedin.com/yourname
The good news is, changing your URL is pretty straight forward. On the "Edit Profile" screen, at the bottom of the gray window that shows your basic information, you’ll see a "Public Profile URL". Click “Edit” next to the URL, and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL.
10. Ask for recommendations
If you've worked with someone on a recent project, where you performed well, ask them if they'd be willing to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn.
Recommendations will help to add some authority and validation to your profile. But make sure you ask them to be specific with their praise. Comments like "John's a great bloke" are much less valuable from a recruiter's perspective than "John's expertise enabled us to increase efficiencies by 20%".
Again, relevance is key. The authority of a recommendation is only as strong as the relevance and authority of the person providing it.
If you'd like any more advice on setting up your LinkedIn profile, then contact us any time, and we'd be happy to help. Or if you want to make sure that you're ready to act, when all your networking pays off, you can check out our range of resume and cover letter writing services here.