Did you know recruiters are likely to look up your LinkedIn profile before, during or even after the hiring process? They may search for new candidates, vet the applicants in the interviewing process, and keep tabs on current employers. Like our resume, we have to keep our LinkedIn profile updated. A LinkedIn profile is becoming essential as part of your resume and cover letter package. Why? Because a LinkedIn profile makes your contact details, work experience, and professional portfolio so much easier to access. A well designed and written LinkedIn profile can make a great impression on a potential employer or recruiter. It is just as important as a resume and cover letter package.
I am sure you know by now, the importance of a well written LinkedIn profile for any student or young professional. Many of you have probably already set up a LinkedIn profile, but are you leveraging it to its full potential?
In this article, we will outline all the important components of a LinkedIn profile and provide you with tips on how to optimize each section to its full advantage. Let’s get started.
Your profile picture is often the first thing a user will see when they come across your profile. Nailing this is a critical first step to a great LinkedIn profile. In fact, you will receive 14 times more visits and 36 times more chances to receive a message with a professional photograph. Here’s how to keep it professional.
- Keep your photo accurate to how you actually look. Use a current photo.
- A high-resolution photo is a must. Avoid anything blurry or too zoomed in or out. Your Linkedin photo ideally should be 400pixels x 400pixels.
- You are the focus. Avoid images with distracting backgrounds, bad lighting or other people.
The next thing a user will see is your headline. This is located under your name and is bolded. Use this 120 character space to outline who you are, what you do, and what you can do for the user. This is your value proposition. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Think about your LinkedIn goals. Getting a job? Hiring? Networking with industry professionals? Use your answers to help write your headline.
- Use your current status to your advantage. A headline for a student, young professional, and an industry leader may be very different.
- Consider your audience. What (or who) are they looking for?
Once you developed answers for the above mentioned questions, work to see how you can use strategic keywords to optimize your headline for search
In the summary section, you have 2000 characters or under to outline your core story, values, copenensies and experiences. Someone looking at your LinkedIn profile may not scroll any further after reading your summary, so keep it clear and concise. It is a great place to provide some context and background information that will help explain the rest of your profile. There is not one formula that fits every profile. The summary is a combination of your achievements, values, goals, and your personality. To get started, here are some prompts that will help you write your summary.
- What is your story? What makes you unique?
- What are your career goals?
- What industry are you in? What roles have you had? Use specific words to help you land in the right search results.
- What soft skills do you have and how have you demonstrated them?
- What are your goals on LinkedIn?
- What is the best way to connect with you? This will be your call to action.
This is where you list your work experiences. Remember to include important information such as the company name, company description, your title, and dates. Beyond this, you’ll also want to mention what responsibilities you had in each work experience. Keep them short and use bullet points to make it easier to read. You also have the opportunity in this section to include links to your projects or portfolio to give a fuller understanding of your accomplishments.
Education, Certifications, Volunteering
Use these sections to pad out your experience and give the viewer a fuller understanding of your skills and interests outside work experiences. Again, keep these brief and current.
This is a great section to have connections endorse your work and your character. This is an opportunity to emphasize your soft skills since these are your personal teammates and employers. Request recommendations only from trusted connections who will vouch for you.
Bookmark this article as you build and continue to refine your LinkedIn profile. You will have multiple versions of your LinkedIn profile as you continue to explore your personal career journey.
In the meantime, join our career coach on a live webinar on March 23rd to discuss optimizing your LinkedIn profile further. Registration for this premium event is FREE this month.