Just having a LinkedIn profile because someone told you every professional should have one isn’t really enough. You have to keep it updated and make it attractive to Hiring Managers and Recruiters as well as attractive to the spiders and algorithms that crawl LinkedIn and the internet. LinkedIn has millions of profiles just like yours and if you want the right people to notice you, there a a few things you can do to help you make it better.
LinkedIn wants you to have a complete profile and they will show you the strength of your profile as it is and will make suggestions for you to improve it, it’s kind of like showing up on page 1 of a Google search or on page 10. If you have an all-star rating on your LinkedIn profile that will increase your odds of being noticed, and then, hopefully, hired.
Complete LinkedIn Profiles
Fact: Your profile will only qualify as complete if you have:
- At least 50 connections
- Your Industry and Location filled in
- Your photo included
- Your current position updated
- Education and at least two previous work experiences listed
- At least three skills listed
If your profile contains all this, you’re halfway through to an outstanding profile.
Here are 10 tips for you to improve your profile and become a LinkedIn all-star!
1. Make your profile visually appealing
First of all, include a photo that does you justice. Ideally, it should be a good quality headshot where you look professional, natural and likable. Forget the holiday or party photos, cheesy selfies or cropped pictures where you have an alien arm around your neck.
You can also add a background photo. Pick one that goes well with your profile picture and that evokes positivity. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a picture closely connected to your industry, but of course, try to pick a picture that isn’t completely offbeat.
2. Write a professional headline
Having a smart creative headline is important because it is what people see first. It should clearly describe your profession, e.g. “Financial Planner” or “Financial Consultant” (you can also add the name of the company you’re currently working for). You can make more of your headline by adding an adjective such as “Senior Financial Planner” or “Retirement Specialist Financial Consultant”. Your headline can also serve as a call for new job opportunities, e.g. “Senior Financial Planner looking for new opportunities”.
3. Connect with people
In general, people with a substantial amount of LinkedIn connections appear more professional. Don’t connect with people at random just to get as many connections as possible, LinkedIn will spot you right away and you’ll get tagged as a spammer. Start out by going through your “People You May Know” page and send out a few invitations. It’s best to keep it to people from the same industry as you, however LinkedIn is all about leveraging your network of connections so of course add people that you know outside of your industry as, odds are, their network will include people from your industry. People who might be potentially interested in you and what you’re doing are also valuable connections. Find these people by searching concrete companies or groups that are related to your industry and reach out, best is with a personal invitation to explain why your reaching out.
4. Write a summary that describes you
The summary section is similar to a cover letter but a lot shorter and a more functional style. It is your choice whether you decide to use bullet point or full sentences. Recruiters have short attention spans and they scan things so bullet points are recommended.
5. Polish up your experience and education section
Remember that LinkedIn is not your resume, it doesn’t have to fit on one page. List a couple of your most important job functions, achievements, outstanding results. You can also attach documents or add media to each of your work experiences such as samples of excel modelling, photos, videos, links or presentations, be mindful of proprietary information.
On the Education section: Add courses, awards, scholarships, mention any international experience or describe competitions or projects you participated in. Don’t forget your sales training and or industry focused education courses that are outside of Universities and Colleges. For Financial Services; courses for Licenses and Certifications shouldn’t be left out! You can use the acronyms and spell out the courses, they are key word search terms that Recruiters and Hiring Managers use.
6. Add volunteer experience
Recruiters and hiring managers regard candidates who have experience in volunteering as more attractive. Even if you think your volunteering experience is not relevant to your future job at all, it can earn you some extra credit with your future employer. How are you giving back to the community?
7. List 10-15 of your strongest skills
Skills are one of the most important sections on LinkedIn. They are used as key word search terms by Recruiters and Hiring Managers. If you’re looking for a job in one specific area, ie.: Financial Planning; list skills most relevant to this. Research other peoples profiles that are already in this field and see what they’re listing as skills.
8. Endorse others and get endorsed
Endorsements on LinkedIn for specific skills serve basically as evidence that you actually have the skills you have listed on your profile. Not only will your profile look more professional but the more endorsements you have, the higher you will rank in search results. To get endorsements, start by endorsing your connections. The laws of reciprocity say there’s a chance they will endorse you back. You can also ask your connections to endorse you directly.
9. Ask for recommendations
Recommendations are an effective way to make your expertise more credible because it will be reinforced by other people. It goes without saying, the most valuable recommendations are those written by people from your industry. Ask your colleagues and former colleagues to write a recommendation for you.
10. Be active on LinkedIn
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is a social network so your activity is visible to anyone who wants to see it. If you make snide or disparaging comments on someone else’s posts, those comments show up in your activity feed to all your connections as well as on your profile page! So make sure your comments count in building your profile and your reputation. The more active you are on LinkedIn, the more chances you will have to be noticed by the right people. Join relevant groups, follow industry experts, follow your potential bosses and if they are active on LinkedIn you can comment and try to engage with them that way.
The best part is you might just land a new job!