With an average of two new sign ups per second and over 300m+ users and counting, its no wonder LinkedIn has quickly become the social media platform people are paying real attention to.
A great LinkedIn profile is more then an online resume, it’s an extension of your personal brand and is often the first place potential employers visit to ‘check you out’ when you apply for a role.
Here are some tips to improve your online brand and maximize those calls back.
Firstly, you need one – no ifs, no buts. Whilst it may seem a bit shallow, studies have shown that people without a photo are considered to be less trustworthy and genuine, and it gives the impression that you may have something to hide as a candidate. Your profile photo should be clear, well lit, professional and appropriate. Take off the hat and sunglasses and don’t use a photo you took in the pub.
Tip: Dress for the industry you are in. For corporate roles, make sure you put on a nice shirt, tie and jacket or appropriate top for ladies then stand in front of a plain wall and get someone else to take your pic. Selfies don’t have the same professional appeal.
Your headline sits under your name at the top of your profile, it’s often auto generated to your current position, but make sure you personalize this field. You can have a catchy statement if that’s your style or highlighting some of your key skills is my recommendation.
Tip: You can put in many skills and break them up with a line or dot point e.g. Sales | Construction | Defence.
Your summary section should be dedicated to your personal achievements and show skills or selling points you pride yourself on. Similar to the way a cover letter shows a brief snapshot of you. Try to inject a little of your personality and brand into this section, but still keep a focus on your skills.
Someone should be able to skim this information and get a feeling for who you are and what you can do for them. Make this simple and to the point, try not to make it a string of fluffy generic adjectives.
Tip: Before committing something to your profile, write several versions of the summary section in word and then get a close friend or colleague to review these and gather their thoughts on which one really captures your skills, brand and personality.
You don’t need to list any more then your last 10yrs of work history. Add a brief summary about your responsibilities and what you achieved than this time.
Tip: Try not to let this get longer than 2 paragraphs or 6 dot points.
Awards & Education
If you have notable, professional awards list them here. You don’t need to include high school scores, but any higher education you have completed or professional accreditations should all be included.
Tip: just list the qualification and the institution; don’t get into detail around the course outline
You may want to have a play around with your privacy setting and familiarize yourself with what other can access. You might wish to hide your connections, reduce what someone who is not connected can see or change what your email notification settings. Go to Account & Settings, Privacy & Settings and then review all the options listed in Profile, Communications & Account. The most common change to make is hiding updates when you change your profile.
Tip: if you are looking for work, make sure some of the basic info like your summary and work history is viewable. People can contact you or connect for further information.
This isn’t essential but if you have any note worthy projects you want to show, articles / papers you have authored or even media coverage or promotional materials you may want to include, you can add attachments in both your summary section and as part of each employment summary.
Tip: Only some file types are accepted, you may need to convert to PDF or post onto an approved site before attaching.
Endorsements are a fantastic tool. People want to work with people they like so if they can see positive endorsements or recommendations from past managers, colleagues or better still clients, this helps build trust and reputation before they even have to call a reference.
Tip: Reach out to relevant contacts to write you a recommendation. You can even return the favour as a thank you for their time.
You should have a much contact information as you are comfortable sharing, I would recommend email at the very least. You can link a company or personal website, a twitter profile or up to 3 web pages to your profile.
You need to keep your profile short, sweet and punchy. People give your profile a skim for no longer then about 20 seconds, if you don’t catch their attention in the first 5 seconds you won’t be given any more time.
Don’t fret about culling less important information, if people are interested they will ask for a current resume or arrange an interview in which you can go into further detail on projects.