If you haven’t created a LinkedIn account yet, or haven't updated it in a while – it’s not too late! Having your resume posted across multiple job boards is a great strategy, but LinkedIn provides huge benefits too. Here, you can provide supplemental information that may not fit on your resume, you can build your network, and most of all you could find an amazing career opportunity. LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report from 2015 found that top recruiters are 60 percent more engaged with LinkedIn recruiting tools compared to average recruiters. Whether or not you are actively seeking a new job, optimizing and maintaining your LinkedIn profile is absolutely in your best interest for career growth and networking opportunities. Here are ten LinkedIn tips for creating an all-star profile.
Your profile photo is the first thing viewers will see. You want your appearance to scream professionalism – just as you would for an actual job interview. If you have headshots taken by a professional photographer, that would be your best option. However, most smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras will work just fine these days – have you seen the new iPhone 7+ portrait setting? The trick here is to position yourself in front of a simple backdrop that viewers won't find distracting. Also, as a general rule of thumb, some sources suggest that your face should consume 60 percent of the frame. Avoid photos with a lot of noise, and save selfies and photos from nights out for your personal social profiles.
Catch recruiter’s eye with a captivating summary. Be warm and welcoming – let your viewers know that you are open to new opportunities, even if you aren't an active job seeker. Your LinkedIn summary is your chance to make a great first impression and set the scene for your career aspirations. Highlight your key accomplishments, and include specific metrics if possible. Make sure you include your preferred contact information in this section as well.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your resume. It’s a wonderful resource to provide recruiters a comprehensive view of who you are. This is important for active job seekers and passive candidates because you never know when a recruiter may be on the hunt for someone with your specific skills and work experiences. If you are a passive candidate – the 2016 LinkedIn report found that 64 percent of professionals on LinkedIn are passive, you might receive an in-mail from a recruiter regarding a potential opportunity. While it may not be a good fit at this time, keeping that door open is a smart strategy. Let recruiters know that you are happy with your current role, but that you will reach out if anything changes or if you can think of a reference who would be qualified and interested in the proposed role – they will appreciate it!
Why write an essay about your unique skills when you can show yourself in action?LinkedIn allows you to add photos and videos as alternative ways to showcase your work. You can upload project presentations, documents, or provide a link to your professional website. Although multimedia supplements may not apply to every industry, get creative and brainstorm strategies for how you can differentiate yourself.
Use the numerous sections LinkedIn has to offer. Add in your college courses, skills, volunteer experiences, and languages. You want to show employers what sets you apart from the rest of the competition – adding these pieces in also makes your profile more searchable. Your unique skill set might be exactly what they’ve been searching for. With this in mind, thoroughly analyze what your unique value proposition or competitive advantage is and showcase it!
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. There is an increased perception of credibility when your manager or co-worker can vouch for your accomplishments and character. At the same time, don’t be afraid to hide a recommendation that doesn’t paint the picture you were wanting. Some recommendations may be unsolicited, or perhaps the writing or grammar isn’t up to par. Instead of having a potentially uncomfortable conversation with the person making the recommendation, you can simply manage their feedback by unchecking the box next to the position with the recommendation.
Make connections! Add your high school colleagues and teachers, college professors, classmates, acquaintances, and co-workers. When you attend a presentation or networking event, collect business cards and say you will follow-up via LinkedIn. Research companies that interest you and reach out to employees for an informational interview. This is a great way to establish or rekindle relationships that are easily maintained through the LinkedIn platform. Most LinkedIn tips suggest that you need to have at least 300 connections to be visible and have a robust network.
Expand your network by joining various LinkedIn groups. Join industry-specific groups that align with your desired career path, and look into groups related to your personal interests. You’ll find that most groups are interactive and share a lot of useful content. Groups also allow you to expand your network. Group engagement provides recruiters a unique glance into what you are passionate about, so be thoughtful and strategic in your group affiliations.
Customizing your LinkedIn URL is a simply way to increase your visibility and level of professionalism. Your URL appears more uniform when it doesn't include a string of random numbers or letters. Your URL is a great thing to include in your email signature and business cards, and customization makes it easier for your network to connect with you. If you are unsure how to edit your URL, LinkedIn Help outlines the steps here.
Thankfully, some resume faux-pas don’t apply for LinkedIn. Feel free to use the first person and get personal. Be cautious of going overboard with the details, though. LinkedIn offers more areas of opportunity to fully demonstrate who you are as a professional than any other social platform, but that doesn't mean every section applies to you. Use the sections relevant to your skills and experiences while keeping it clean and organized.
As you are creating your account or updating your page for your next career move, keep these LinkedIn profile tips in mind.
Lexie Murdough is the marketing intern with WilsonHCG. She received her Bachelors in Marketing from the University of Tampa, and recently joined the marketing team after spending seven months interning on the recruitment side of WilsonHCG. She is a graduate student at UT pursuing her MBA, and her passions include traveling, skydiving, spending a day at the beach, and unconditionally loving her cat, Luna.