Since its launch in 2002, LinkedIn has become the place to connect with others in business, find work, promote yourself and join similar interest groupings. Today it has over 467 million users. You are just one! The portal works best if you have a really good profile. So it’s really worth spending the time, and if necessary, the money for professional help in getting the best LinkedIn profile you can.
Here are 9 tips that could help you stand out:
Get a great photo
It’s all about that human connection. You see a face, you get an impression of the person. Are they young or old? Do they look severe or cheerful? These first impressions really make a difference, even on a business networking sites like LinkedIn. Having a photo is likely to get you viewed 11 times more.
“I was connecting like mad, sending invites to people, but few were responding. Someone suggested that I put a photo of myself on, and voila, it worked,” says Jo Harris who was able to find a job in copywriting on LinkedIn through her connections.
By a good photo, we don’t mean a selfie. It should be close to professional, or even a professional photo. This may cost you a little bit, but it will be worth it. A professional will know how you should look at the camera to get the most direct and trustworthy look. And remember, smiling never did anyone any harm!
Writing starts with a headline
LinkedIn automatically puts a headline in for you, but you can change that to speak directly to the audience you want to connect with. We recommend that you use a verb (action word) in your headline and that you keep it relatively short.
Ask others for their input when you do your summary
Writing the summary section yourself is not easy, as we all tend to lack perspective when it comes to our own selves. It is often better to work with a professional who is able to highlight the most important things that employers or recruiting agencies are looking for.
Peter Ndongi got writers’ block every time he tried to summarize his professional life on LinkedIn: “I’d write something, hate it, then start again. I found it incredibly stressful. I really needed to get my profile out there though, and I just couldn’t commit words to paper”. Peter’s solution was to turn to us at assignmentmasters for professional help. We listened to him, and were able to craft a really professional summary which ultimately landed him the job he wanted.
If you don’t want to use a professional, make sure you take advice from someone in your field whose input you value and trust.
The summary section should have at least five of your biggest achievements. You may want to use bullets as it easier for a reader to scan bullet points than paragraph text. Remember though to be scrupulously honest when you list your achievements, and in fact, throughout your whole LinkedIn profile. Make sure everything you say about yourself is true and verifiable. More and more employers these days use LinkedIn as a way of verifying your CV.
Add images or documents
An image speaks 1000 words. If you have any tangible proof of your work, upload it as a visual marker for your potential reader. This is easy if your work is photographic or graphic design, but perhaps more difficult if you are an attorney. Nevertheless, there may be some document your worked on which you could upload. Employ some creativity in thinking about documents or images you could upload that reflect positively on your work.
Fill out as much of the profile as possible
Leaving sections blank may cause a future employer to wonder why. Fill in your profile in as much detail as you can. That said, leave out the irrelevant bits. If you were once a waiter but are now in film production or actuarial sciences, an employer will not find that relevant.
Put your volunteer experience
This is a useful category for employers to look at as it gives them a sense of what makes you tick. That is important when it comes to finding someone who can gel with the culture of the organization and the rest of the team. In addition, some employers feel that your volunteer work is as important as your paid work.
Put recommendations on your LinkedIn profile
This is a great opportunity for someone else to highlight your strengths. Ask people who you know will say something favourable about you. Preferably ask people who you have worked with, but if you are just starting out, you could ask someone you have volunteered with or a former university lecturer. LinkedIn allows you to review what the person said before you publish it, so you can diplomatically ask them for changes or to highlight another angle. Or decide not to publish it at all!
Mary Sciero noted the huge difference in people viewing her profile after she added recommendations: “I was lucky to have worked well with several people and they gave me glowing recommendations. I was very glad that I had been a team player in my other jobs. And best of all, the number of viewers of my profile increased.”
List your skills and get endorsements
People with at least five skills makes are 17 times more likely to be viewed.Getting endorsements from others makes potential employers aware of your skills and expertise.
This is the hard part if you are not a prolific writer. But don’t undervalue the relevance to LinkedIn readers of posts. Apparently, it takes 20 LinkedIn audience. That’s a lot of posts in a month! Start slowly and build up. By continually posting, you remain a presence on the site, and get known, and may even get followers.
Investing time and careful thinking in how you present yourself on LinkedIn will reward you with more profile views, a greater spread of connections, and hopefully a job when you need one.
Kate Simpson writes for Assignment Masters on a range of topics, including business, marketing and career development. She is currently studying management at the University of London. She loves writing and hopes to be a full-time essayist one day.