I’ll be honest: my personal LinkedIn profile used to be pretty awful. In fact, if I had to give it a grade it would be way below average. I’m not tech savvy or even a fan of social media. Yet even someone like myself who is very social media shy has to admit that LinkedIn is a great way to find professionals in your field, network and find a job. I don’t have an excuse to ignore the dire straits of my LinkedIn profile anymore. I’ve recently changed jobs and started working after a long hiatus. I need to learn some new ways of getting myself seen out there in the virtual workforce. If such a hopeless case like me can figure out some quick and eye-catching ways to make myself stand out, then anyone can do this.
I think everyone wants his or her LinkedIn profile to be interesting and professional. Yet people want to know effective ways to improve their profile without wasting time. Here are some recommended best practices that I came across that might help.
Your photo will be the first thing people will see along with your headline, so it needs to be attention- grabbing and make people interested enough to continue to read your profile. Some of the suggestions I’ve come across include:
There are so many creative ways to take a good picture of yourself to represent your personality. But…it has to be good. This is NOT Facebook. Professionalism is of the utmost importance. So no fuzzy images, using pictures of other people or with other people (or cropping them out, but leaving a stray hand behind!), no using objects to represent yourself and definitely no using inappropriate pictures. It’s your photo, so it really should reflect who you are in a professional capacity.
The headline to your profile is right alongside your picture. What I’ve noticed is that people are now trying to jam pack as much important information as possible in the headline. The headline section of a LinkedIn profile can fit up to 120 characters, so there is room for a little more than just stating a job title. Be specific: Give a description of what you do and how it helps employers or clients. People want to know what’s in it for them!
For example, someone in marketing can state, “Marketing Specialist for small businesses offering ‘5 Great Ways to Maximize Leads in 30 Days.’ Please read summary.” Another example could be an IT project manager using the following headline, “IT project manager with experience managing large global projects. Strong track record of delivering projects on time and within budget.” Conveying what you do best in a way that is beneficial to employers or clients is key.
One suggestion that I really liked regarding the summary is to start off by introducing yourself in a friendly tone. This makes you sound more approachable. Furthermore, some questions you need to elaborate on are:
If you can provide data as to how many people you’ve helped or how much time you’ve saved, that’s even better. Facts sell, period.
This is also a great place to sprinkle in some industry-related keywords that are typically used to search out professionals in your niche or business. Try to place as many of these keywords in your summary as possible to increase search engine optimization. Your summary should be brief, yet also include your contact information very clearly.
There are three sections to add multimedia on your LinkedIn profile: Summary, Experience, and Education. You can put up videos, pictures, slide shows, or attach documents. Some great examples of what to add are presentations, conferences, work pictures, and research. Use your best examples to bring your skills to life.
It’s not enough to tell people what you’ve done at each job you’ve had. You have to go further and provide examples of your greatest achievements while working with clients or employers. It lets the readers know that you have the skills and knowledge to do something great.
Maybe you’re a recruiter and were able to hire 50 workers within a week for a large corporation. Or perhaps you’re a wedding planner and were able to pull together a fabulous wedding for 150 people in five days on a very tight budget. Talking about all of the successful things you’ve accomplished during your career paints a nice picture of a highly desirable professional.
Also, recommendations are important. They provide an authentic indicator of how well you really did at your job. Ideally, you should have Recommendations for every job you list on your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to ask your LinkedIn co-workers for a Recommendation.
Many people who give advice about creating a great LinkedIn profile state that they tell people to list at least five skills they have as well as add variants of those skills in the Skills section to increase search engine optimization. Generally, studies have found that listing skills gets an average of 13 times more profile views.
This is so important it bears repeating: You’ll get an average of 13 more profile views than your competition just by adding skills in the Skills section! Additionally, place your skills in order of importance and competence level at the top. It’s also a good idea to ask your connections to Endorse your skills. (Another reason to put best skills on top is that people tend to click the top skills on down.)
It’s a great idea to join a few important groups that pertain to the industry you work in as well as those you want to work in if considering a career change. Also, joining your alumni group and connecting to your company’s LinkedIn profile is an easy way to increase your professional network.
Improving your LinkedIn profile may take a bit of upfront time to set up. However, if you follow some of the best practices discussed here, you’ll be able to create a phenomenal LinkedIn profile that stands out from the crowd. Just keep in mind that there is no one set way to create a LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile may not look like your friend’s profile, but it should capture the best parts of your “professional self” in an interesting and creative manner.
If you need more tips and suggestions, be sure to check out the infographic on building an awesome LinkedIn profile below!
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