If you’ve found yourself looking for a new job in the past few years, you’ve probably had a few moments of stress, confusion, or panic over the state of your LinkedIn profile (if you even have one!). Not to worry – with this simple guide we can help you build an outstanding LinkedIn account which will be sure to attract the attention of recruiters and, with a little luck, might even land you your next job!
- Research is KEY
Before you start the process of editing your own profile, it’s a great idea to look to the profiles of others in your industry. Search for job titles that you aspire towards, and note down the things that you like about these profiles. Pay particular attention to their summaries, what they have as their headlines, and which skills most commonly pop up. You want to make sure that your own profile will measure up.
- Say Cheese
If you’re looking for a job, then it’s time you reframe your thinking. You are now officially a brand, and one of the biggest elements of any brand is its look. What this means is that your little LinkedIn profile picture plays a bigger role than you might expect. If you can afford it, consider shelling out for professional headshots. If not, ask a talented friend. Make sure to dress as if you are attending a job interview!
- Stand out in your Headline
LinkedIn’s default setting is to use your current job title as your headline. If your current position isn’t what you want to be known for, this might feel a little limiting. Luckily, you can edit this. Choose a compelling title, and you can add in two to three skills that you’d like to highlight as well. For instance, your previous headline might have read ‘Project Manager at Company X,’ but instead, you could write ‘Project Management Expert with a focus on X, Y, and Z.’
- Don’t Skimp on the Summary
Think of your summary as a professional bio where you support your headline and expand on your experience. You should provide a general overview of your qualifications and name the industries in which you’ve worked. Ideally, your summary should consist of 3-5 short, concise, and compelling paragraphs.
- Keep your Skill List up to Date
When you were looking at the profiles of other people with your desired job title, which skills did they list? Take note of the most common skills, and then if you have experience in these, make sure you list them! And, make sure they show up high on your list. LinkedIn will always default the order of your skills from most endorsements to least, but you can manually rearrange these so that your most relevant and important skills are at the top.
- Rules for Listing Experience and Past Roles
When listing your experience and past roles on LinkedIn, try to follow common CV writing practices. Just like on a CV, it’s important to use statistics and results to showcase your accomplishments, such as ‘improved customer satisfaction rate from 75% to 90% in 2 years.’ It’s also a great idea to use LinkedIn’s multimedia feature to share standout pieces from your portfolio if applicable.
- Get Ahead by Earning Recommendations
A great recommendation is one of the best ways to get ahead on LinkedIn. However, it is very rare for anyone to write you one for no reason. You need to take the initiative and ask for them! Get in touch with a few key contacts and ask them to write a recommendation for you. You could even hint that you’d like them to focus on a specific skill, which will help you show a well-balanced reflection of your abilities. Of course, it can be uncomfortable asking for something like this. One idea is to offer to write your contact one as well, so that you both benefit from the situation.
- Don’t forget your Accomplishments
The accomplishments section on LinkedIn is the ideal place to highlight all your best work and career milestones. You can list awards, projects that you successfully completed, languages you’ve learnt, etc. This is a great arena to set yourself apart from your competition.
- Customise your URL
Did you know that you can edit your LinkedIn URL? When you set up an account, LinkedIn will automatically set you up with one which is much longer than it needs to be, with excess numbers and letters. Click on ‘Edit Public Profile & URL’ to customise your URL and aim for as close to just your name as possible. This will mean that promoting your LinkedIn page is a much simpler task.
- Proofread EVERYTHING
Once you’ve done all of the above, read through it all again carefully to pick up on any grammar or spelling mistakes. Your LinkedIn page is like your CV. If it’s riddled with mistakes, what kind of message is that sending out to prospective employers? Consider asking a friend to read over it for you.
Congratulations, you should now have a LinkedIn profile which truly represents the best you have to offer! Now get out there and start making connections.