As someone who has used LinkedIn since 2007, I’ve learnt the value of using it. Having a great LinkedIn profile can help enormously when you’re looking for work. And it’s an absolute necessity for building your network and finding opportunities.
LinkedIn is the biggest online professional networking website on the internet, with over 562 million users in over 200 countries, and 9 out of 10 recruiters turning to LinkedIn to find employees.
With so many people on LinkedIn it’s hard to stand out especially if you aren’t tech savvy or have many skills in writing resumes or CVs. Creating a professional LinkedIn profile will help build your online brand and give you the ability to showcase your expertise, experience and achievements which can provide credibility to recruiters and professionals in your industry.
Your LinkedIn profile is like your CV and therefore you need to utilise it to sell yourself in the best way possible. This article showcases 6 tips to help you build a stronger profile so that you’ll stand out from others in your field and find your next job.
1. First impressions matter and so do headlines
A LinkedIn headline is a short compelling sentence of 120 words or less that sums up who you are to potential employers and other professionals. It can be stressful to try to sum yourself up in a few key words, but it’s also important for potential employers to want to find more out about you and your profile. The headline is a chance to make a great first impression. You want your headline to be as compelling as possible, think of it like a product catchphrase.
2. Include a summary that showcases your personality and achievements
Your summary is one of the first things people will see when they visit your profile. Only about 300 words are visible when viewing summaries on computers and far less are visible when viewing it on a phone. Therefore, it’s crucial that the first sentence or two of your summary is captivating and will make sure hiring managers click the “show more” button.
LinkedIn summaries are like the summary on your CV, it should highlight your biggest achievements, what you are currently hoping to accomplish and your strengths. It’s important to inject some personality into your summary as well to make sure you stand out from the millions of other job seekers online.
Your LinkedIn summary should be more general than your CV to appeal to a broader audience instead of a specific job but not so broad that it looks like you copied and pasted it from google. You could also include special skills, interests or values like that you speak three languages, are a professional cyclist or volunteer for your local council by rehabilitating the local parks flora. Even though you might think these things are irrelevant it could just be the thing that connects you with a potential employer because they share those same passions.
3. You need to have a professional profile photo
Those with a professional photo will receive 14 times more views from companies and recruiters than those with an average photograph. Why are professional photos so important? First impressions matter and just like when you go to a job interview, your photo, headline and summary gives your online persona a first impression. It will show hiring managers that you are responsible and care about having a professional and appropriate appearance. It will also help people to recognise you and they will be more likely to connect with you.
4. Keep your experience section relevant and up-to-date
Just like your CV the experience section lists skills you know how to do and achievements you’ve made throughout your career. Your experience needs to be relevant to your job search and list relevant and current skills that are being used in the industry today.
You can do this by importing your CV, then summarising and tweaking it to fit a more general job search or enter each job individually. Make sure to optimise keywords that are significant to recruiters and make it more readable than a typical dry CV.
The best thing about LinkedIn is there is no page limit, with that in mind it’s important not to go crazy and add too much information otherwise people will get bored reading it. Instead keep your experience succinct and relevant with your most recent position first. You can also include multimedia in your profile such as links to websites or photographs that display your work. Not only are people drawn to visual imagery but it will beef out your profile and make it more unique.
5. Start making connections
One key-element of LinkedIn is making connections. When you connect with people you start to build more third- and second-party connections. This means that when you are trying to connect with new people in the future they will be more likely to accept if they see you have a common connection. Having people connect with you can also act as an endorsement for your character and professional capability so it’s worth building your connections.
6. Show what companies you're interested in
Joining groups on LinkedIn can be another incredible resource and assist you in your job search. If you join groups relevant to your profession or industry it’ll show that you’re engaged in your field but also help connect you with others and give you notifications to upcoming jobs or trends in your industry. When you join groups, you can be part of discussions – almost like an online networking event. These groups will be displayed at the bottom of your profile and show recruiters and hiring managers that you’re involved and keeping up with industry trends.