Your LinkedIn profile is more than just a CV on the internet. It is a powerful means of outlining and defining your personal brand and getting yourself seen by recruiters and employers with the maximum return on effort.
But to really take advantage of this powerful tool your profile needs to be properly and fully optimised. This not only helps you to get seen by the right people but also makes more of an impact when you do get seen.
When optimising your profile it is important to try and think like a potential employer. Consider how your ideal employer would analyse your LinkedIn profile and adjust it to meet those expectations.
Your picture is the first thing an employer sees when they look at your profile and you only get one chance at a first impression. Seeing the default profile icon tells an employer that you have put little to no effort into your profile and that reading it will likely not be worth their while. At the very least have a photo!
Of course, don’t have just any photo. Some things can look even worse than the default icon. You should use a professional looking photo of yourself looking confident.
The thumbnail image that employers first see doesn’t give you much space so keep it to your head and shoulders, no lower than your waist. Logos or other abstract icons are just confusing and make it look like yours is a brand company profile.
Your profile headline is the next thing employers will see. This defaults to displaying your current job title but you can change it in the settings to something more inspiring.
You want to create a headline that will stand out so have fun with it but be sure to get across who you are and what you do in a clear and convincing way.
As with the headlines you want to differentiate yourself from the pack. Your titles should be accurate and informative but they should also sell yourself and your current employer.
Education and training is often more important than people think. It should include any core degrees you have finished and your two most recent CPD programmes. This section should be complete but concise.
The industry section indicates the sector you work in. It is important to be specific here as it is an important part of how LinkedIn promotes your profile. Some people are tempted to be broad in their description to get the widest viewings but this only serves to dilute your exposure.
Between ten to twelve skills that are specific and describe your abilities accurately are the ideal number. Only having three or four obviously looks bad but a wall of skills looks like spam. You need to emphasise the skills you would look for if hiring for the job you want.
Skill endorsements are an important part of promoting your profile and your skills. Make sure to get plenty of endorsements. The only way to do this is by giving endorsements to your connections.
Groups are a useful way of getting your profile seen and staying connected to important networks. You can optimise the exposure of your profile by joining groups relevant to your desired sector.
It is really worth taking the time to get your summary concise and engaging. Your summary is your elevator pitch to sell yourself.
It is also important to allow you to control what people see when they find your profile on search engines
LinkedIn gives the most exposure to profiles with 100% completion so it is really worth getting that 100% completion. It is only a little extra effort for potentially significant results.
A really important part of optimising your LinkedIn profile is actively using LinkedIn yourself. There is more to the site than just building profiles and being seen by employers, it is a broad, professional community. You can engage with other users, comment on articles and even write your own. All of these activities raise your visibility among recruiters as well as potential business partners.
Even if you aren’t looking for work it is a good idea to keep your profile up to date. One benefit is that it makes you constantly evaluate your job role. It also means that you may find yourself being actively head-hunted for a position you never thought you could get.