CVs are important and I spend a lot of my time writing about them and helping clients to have better ones. However, another vital element of anybody’s job search is LinkedIn and you need to have an effective LinkedIn profile. So here are 11 tips to help you maximise your LinkedIn profile.
Use an engaging headshot photo
It’s easy to take a quick pic with smartphone technology but put some more thought into it. This will be the first thing that recruiters see. Make a good first impression. When you have the photo taken, stand in front of a plain colour background. Get someone else to take it. Smile. When you upload it, centre your face and zoom in to remove any background clutter.
Stand out with a dynamic header image
Replace the default grey banner image that LinkedIn gives everyone with a new more dynamic and engaging one that reflects your industry or professional interests. Or if you can’t think of anything like that, some people like to use an anonymous image like a cityscape. You can download copyright-free images at www.unsplash.com or www.pixabay.com
Update your URL
If you still have the default address that LinkedIn give you, namely the one with numbers at the end, change it to a personalised URL without numbers. For example, this could hypothetically be http://www.linkedin.com/in/firstname_lastname or http://www.linkedin.com/in/firstnamelastnamecareercoach
Use your header text space well
Optimise your personal brand by using the text space below your profile headshot photo. Include your current job title if relevant but focus the text on your targeted role and USP to make the most of keywords. Research what’s appropriate for roles that you are targeting. Job ads are a perfect source for these. For example, someone looking for a Sales Manager role could have: Sales Manager | Revenue Optimisation | Leadership | People Management | Closing | Relationship Building
Or you could write a dynamic tagline to reflect your personal and professional brand, like ours. What value do you add? Either way, for optimal profile and readability, use 120 – 160 characters including spaces.
Make the most of your About section
One of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile is the About section where you get up to 2000 characters of text to sell your professional self to the recruiter and hiring manager. You don’t need to write loads of text. Make it accessible. Shorter paragraphs. Use bullets. Pack in the keywords.
Tell your story using quantifiable results (where possible and keeping in mind privacy issues) which demonstrate what you achieved for the companies that you worked for. Unlike CVs which are written in third person, write your Linkedin About section in first person. That way, it’s a much more personal approach to telling your story.
Check dates and job titles on your CV and LinkedIn profile correspond
This deserves a separate bullet as I see it five times a day. Your LinkedIn profile and your CV are your branding documents and as such, they need to be consistent, so double-check that the job titles and dates match. It may seem a minor thing, but it looks unprofessional and doesn’t give a good impression if they don’t. Plus, recruiters don’t like it. And we need to keep them sweet, don’t we?
Use the Featured Media section
One of the most recent additions to the LinkedIn profile is Featured Media where you get the chance to highlight projects that you have worked on. You can include all kinds of things including PDFs, videos, website, reports, blogs and news articles, so make the most of it and remember to keep content relevant to the roles that you are targeting.
Skills and keywords
Ensure you add your skills to the Skills section in your LinkedIn profile. Not only do they show what you can do, but they also work as keywords in recruiter searches. As with your CV (which you are of course optimising by using relevant keywords and if not read the CV tips on my website), use appropriate keywords in your Linkedin profile for the industry/role you are targeting.
Get other people’s help
You’ve gone to all the trouble of having a dynamic and engaging Linkedin profile, so give it a chance and put it out there by maximising your LinkedIn connections. Ask them for skill endorsements. And more importantly, ask them for recommendations which are essentially professional references that will always be on display when someone looks at your Linkedin profile.
Use lesser-used sections on your profile
Most people focus on the About section and the Header sections. However to optimise your Linkedin profile, add language skills (including fluency levels) and volunteering to your Accomplishments section.
Also, add professional qualifications and online ones such as LinkedIn Learning to your Licences and Certifications sections. This gives your profile more depth, variety and also indicates your professional interests and ambition to develop your career.
Grow your network
Be visible on LinkedIn. As with all social media, like, comment, reply, connect and share. Be present. Don’t do what most people do and just ‘be there’. It’s vital that you engage to raise your profile. Do you know your stuff? Show it. Help people who could be your future clients, colleagues and employers. Write posts and articles. Get your name and your profile out there and the LinkedIn algorithm will love you all the more and your profile will get more exposure.
If you would like help with getting the most out of your CV or LinkedIn profile, have a look at my other blogposts or get in touch with us at Career & CV Therapy.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org / LinkedIn
Email email@example.com / LinkedIn
Header photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash
First article photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash
Second article photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash