“I used to tell people I didn’t have a LinkedIn profile… look at me now!”
How LinkedIn can Level the Playing Field
Time to get real with you.
Over 80% of jobs offers come through networking. Lots of those are someone who has a friend or an uncle who has an ‘in’ with a big company; but for the rest of us… we have to “network”.
Networking used to involve a lot of cold-calling, attending events, and all sort of intimidating, awkward face-to-face interaction. Thank god for LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives all of us who don’t have that well-positioned uncle a chance to make a big splash in the job market through this networking-meets-social-media platform.
There are a lot of pieces that go into effective LinkedIn networking and the BEST PLACE TO START is building yourself a damn good LinkedIn profile!
What Does Your LinkedIn Profile Say about You?
The moment someone lands on your LinkedIn profile, we want them to know exactly what you’re about.
What industry are you in? What skills do you take pride in? What’s important to you?
We also want a nice, clean, professional look so they get the feeling that you will do a great job at everything you set your mind to.
LinkedIn will, by default, set your headline to your current (or most recent) job which is kind of a waste if you ask me.
My advice: Use 3-4 words of short phrases that describe you as a professional. For example:
Relationship Builder | IT Project Manager | Problem Solver | Analytics Specialist
When crafting your headline, ask yourself, “How would I want my co-workers to describe me to my boss?”
Your ‘About’ Section
If they’re reading your ‘About’ section, congrats! This person is seriously interested in connecting with you!
So, let’s give them a little more information about us… and don’t be afraid to show your personality. People want to know you’re more than just a Digital Marketing Strategist (or whatever you are)!
Things to include:
Your top 2-3 professional values (i.e. working in a team, learning something new everyday, helping others)
Your career journey thus far
Your career aspirations (where do you aspire to be in 5-10 years)
Hobbies, interests, non-work-related fun facts
Do you have any credentials you can add to the end of your name?
M.A., Ph.D., PMP
This will separate you from the pack before they even click on your profile.
Does your LinkedIn profile URL look like mine?
or does it look like mine used to look?
Get yourself a nice, clean profile url that people will remember in just a couple clicks. Here are the steps:
In the upper-right corner of your profile, click “Edit public profile & URL”
Still in the upper-right corner, click the little pencil icon next to your URL
Edit & Save!
A picture is worth a thousand… dollars per month in increased salary
Your Profile Photo
Obviously, your profile photo is majorly important. In fact, it’s so important, I interviewed a photographer colleague who specializes in professional head-shots to give us a rundown on Picking a LinkedIn Profile Photo that GETS YOU NOTICED! (blog coming soon)
As a quick summary, in a good LinkedIn photo:
You’re smiling (with your mouth and your eyes)
You’re the only person in the photo
You’re looking at the camera
You’re dressed professionally
The background is not distracting
You have nice, natural light on your face
Do you need a professional camera? Nope. My profile picture was taken with an iPhone 6 :)
Your Banner Image
A lot of people skip this but...
The banner image is another great personal branding opportunity and without something there, you’re profile just looks incomplete.
I often suggest a scenic shot for this portion…
mine is me standing in front of a mountain…
but you can also use something that captures the essence of your professional work. If you don’t have a photo that works, you can download royalty-free images from https://unsplash.com/.
The Contents of Your Profile
If a reader has gotten this far in your profile… this is a great sign! You’ve done just about everything in your power to get noticed.
Now, don’t drop the ball ;)
For previous jobs, make sure the job title matches whatever you have on your resume. And in the description field, include both your job duties and accomplishments in that role (I like to do it in that order).
**If you need to remove numbers or details for confidentiality purposes, please do.**
Of course, this is where you’ll include all your academic credentials.
Additional details you can include could be:
An impressive GPA (this is fine to exclude if this isn’t a point of pride for you)
Overseas exchange programs
A culminating research project or thesis
Involvement in student organizations
Completed courses related to your industry (if you’re a student, recent grad, or new professional)
Certificates & Training
If you’ve got any industry specific certificates or training courses you’ve completed, add them in!
I LOVE the skills section of LinkedIn. We’ve got a maximum of 50 skills we can include, but don’t feel pressured to use them all.
The coolest feature with the ‘Skills’ section is that it allows you to pick your top 3 skills. Think carefully about what it is that you have to offer to potential employers, and make those your top 3!
Let’s Do This!
Congratulations! You’re ready!
You’ve got a profile you can be proud of, you’ve defined your brand, and you are ready to rock! Now’s the time to get out there and start making connections!
Before you know it, you’ll be sitting in that corner office!