We all want to make good impressions on people, especially when it affects our career. So, we focus on fine tuning our CV, and perfecting our interviews. Today, I say – That‘s not enough! How much time did you spend on your LinkedIn profile?
According to Recruiter Nation, 92% of hiring managers and human resource professionals leverage social networking sites to screen potential job candidates, and out of that percentage, 87% of them use LinkedIn. In fact, 45% of people on LinkedIn are considered key decision makers. Are you coming across to them as the polished professional you are? Or, is your LinkedIn profile not being utilised fully?
Here are 10 things you can change about your LinkedIn profile to sharpen your profile:
1. Update your information.
Complete the profile as much as possible, including skills, education, certifications, volunteer associations, share articles, and include media for instance to showcase that you’re a well-rounded individual. Update any changes your contact information and other details regularly, as recruiters are constantly searching for quality candidates.
This is essential to stay highly visible, so that people who are looking for your services can actually find you and grant you opportunities.
2. Keep your picture professional and approachable.
Studies have shown it only takes about one-tenth of a second for someone to draw conclusions about you from a photo. How do you win people over within a second?
Choose a cropped headshot where you are professionally attired, and that is free from blurs, other people and background distractions.
In Erik Qualman’s words, your profile photo should support “the narrative that you are likeable, competent, and trustworthy.”
3. Add an eye-catching background photo.
Profiles with pictures elicit a 40% in-mail response rate, and are 11 times more likely to be viewed. It also gives your profile some personality.
Your background photo could serve multiple purposes:
As a personal branding tool, or as an extension of your company
Share your credentials and achievements
Or you could use generic images that complement your profile’s theme. For example, a marketer could use something more vibrant and creative, a software engineer could choose something code-related while a manager might choose something that evokes the idea of growth.
There are plenty of websites with free images or design software, including canva.com, LinkedInBackground.com and FreeLinkedInBackgrounds.com. Feel free to use any royalty free image you want, as long as due credit is given.
4. Take a different angle with your headline.
Your headline gives others a clear idea about your professional identity and what you can offer. Use keywords, descriptors and deliverables for which you want to be found by hiring managers and recruiters. It should give a snapshot of who you are and your personality, motivating them to click on your profile to read further.
You can get inspiration for keywords to use from target job descriptions. Be sure to keep it to about 10 words.
5. Sharpen your summary.
This is the best place to optimize search engines to promote your profile.
Expand on what’s in your headline, highlighting 5-6 of your biggest achievements using action-driven language and bullet points rich in keywords.
Keep it conversational by using a 1st person POV. Keep it concise, ideally between 3 to 5 paragraphs.
Fill it with examples of your achievements and accomplishments so that the reader will be enticed to read more about your experiences.
6. Include certifications, honors and awards.
Whether you are certified by a professional association or an academic institution, publish them onto your profile as it gives you credibility. It’s been found that members who show their education on their profile receive an average of 10 times more views than those who don’t.
7. Showcase your portfolio.
By showcasing your work online, you are not just telling people what you can do, but showing them what you can do as well.
Items you could showcase include: Presentations you have given (recreate or adapt those and post them on SlideShare), research outlines, mock-ups of the work you have done on your projects at work.
Do so by either:
Clicking on “Add Profile Section” and then “Accomplishments” to add Publications or Projects.
or you could insert these under the “Experience” section of your profile.
Click on “Upload” or “Link” under Media.
You can even add SlideShare presentations to your profile, to establish your expertise and interest in your field.
8. Watch out for typos.
Once you’ve got your content sorted, do whatever you need to do to ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Print a copy and let a friend review it if you have to. You would not want to lose an opportunity due to grammar.
9. Edit your privacy settings.
You can customize how much people can view when they search your profile under “Customise Your Public Profile”. Access the public profile settings to turn on and off parts of your profile for the public! By making your profile public and updating regularly, you increase chances of being viewed by a potential employer.
10. Create a vanity URL
LinkedIn allows you to customize your profile URL easily, and you should change it if you haven’t already. This way, it is easier to direct others to your LinkedIn profile.
Now that you know how to improve your LinkedIn profile, it’s time to build connections! You can start by following our LinkedIn account and joining our community. We look forward to connecting with you.
Your Career Management Experts,