How many times have you been told to make LinkedIn your best friend during a job hunt? A couple of times? Well, while this may be true, there is a lot of commitment and intentionality that goes beyond just being on what is now known as the largest professional network on the planet. Just having a LinkedIn page and profile is not enough to get you noticed. You need to create a LinkedIn profile that stands out among the sea of similar individuals who are in search of the same visibility as you. Follow the guide below and set yourself up for great success.
Have a Professional Headshot
Just like any other social media platform, people want to put a face on the name of the profile holder. And whilst other social media networks allow for one to post just any profile photo, for LinkedIn it goes without saying that recruiters will want to see a professional headshot of yourself on your profile. In fact, research has proven that recruiters are more likely to contact someone with a headshot compared to those without. This means that you have to ensure that first, you upload an actual photo of yourself and as aforementioned, ensure that it represents your brand and speaks to kind of person you are.
Be sure to complement it with an appealing cover photo
Remember, your goal is to make your profile stand out. And what better way than to complement your headshot with an appealing cover or background image. Same as before ensure that the photo you upload represents your brand or rather speaks to your target audience. You want to ensure that it adheres to LinkedIn’s specifications and personalize it as much as you possibly can! At the end of the day, these images are what will keep your prospective employer hooked to your employer enough to have them scrolling to engage more with the other great information on your profile. Avoid anything too flashy. Always keep it simple and straightforward.
Next up is your captivating headline
What comes to your mind when you think of a headline? It usually has to do with the most important pieces of information featured either on the news, an article or a story. Same goes for LinkedIn. The headline gives you an opportunity to briefly let the recruiter know who you are and what you are about. This comes immediately below your profile picture. While it is totally okay to include your current position at Company X, it doesn’t have to end there. What are the most important aspects about you? Is it that you help companies build more stable information systems? Whatever it is, make sure it is reflected on your headline. Remember that the character limit here is 120 meaning that you can be as creative as possible to hook that one recruiter who might just be what you need for that next opportunity.
Time to tell your story!
The LinkedIn summary is there for a reason; for you to tell your professional story as best as you can. With a 2,000-character limit, you have the chance to creatively talk about who you are and what you are about. You do not have to necessarily gush out the number of degrees or diplomas you have in this section. Instead, highlight your most valuable skills, the things you are passionate about and a project you enjoyed working on! Talk about the value you have brought to the organizations you have worked for, and of course, do not shy away from letting the reader know what it is you do when you are not in the office. Even as you throw in some personality to your summary always ensure that you remain relevant.
Highlight your work experiences
Now that the reader has an idea of who you are, time to highlight some of the work you have been able to do. Ensure that this of course is updated constantly. Individuals have made the mistake of only working on their LinkedIn when they are in need of a job forgetting that when you are actually in employment or have a project you are working on, serves as the best time to keep updating your followers of what you are currently doing.
Since LinkedIn is basically another version of your resume, ensure that you indicate the position in the organization you worked for, and top it up with a sentence or two of your accomplishments and the value you were able to either add to or gain from the organization.
Ask for recommendations
What better way to prove your credibility than have your connections vouch for what you have done! Have a colleague or friend write you a recommendation on your page to highlight and speak more on the value you added while working together. This does not mean that you should bombard or force anyone to write you a recommendation, at the end of the day you need someone who can give you a vote of confidence and out of goodwill not coercion. There is no limit to the number of recommendations you can add on your profile.
Network, network and network some more!
As aforementioned, LinkedIn is just not a place to copy and paste your resume and sit waiting for recruiters or future networks, you have to be equally active on the networking site. Connect with your personal contacts and start following the companies or organizations you are interested in. Join professional groups that fall in your line of work or career path and start engaging and sharing either original or third-party content. Add links to your other social media profiles and a personal website if you have one! LinkedIn is not just a recruiting space; it is also an avenue for one to forge new business and professional relationships as well as a learning platform too. So, take advantage of it and make LinkedIn work for you.
Make use of the LinkedIn Profile Strength Meter
Finally, and most importantly, be sure to refer to the LinkedIn Profile Strength Meter that indicate how strong your profile is based on what you have filled in. this will give you an overview of what you need to change or add and achieve an “all-star” profile.