LinkedIn profiles and resumes go hand-in-hand these days. Even if recruiters don’t find you directly on LinkedIn, you can bet your buttons they’re going to look you up after reviewing your resume. If you’re profile’s no good, well, no interview for you!
Here’s a LinkedIn “anatomy lesson” to boost your profile’s “health” and increase your chances of success:
For help implementing any of these tips, search Google for “how to (do whatever) on LinkedIn.” The site offers a great knowledge base, and you’ll receive clearly defined instructions immediately.
Profile photo: Upload a friendly (smiling!) profile photo. The cropping should be similar to a passport photo. Your attire should reflect what you would wear to work on a day-to-day basis. In other words, use an image that says you’re professional and approachable.
Cover photo: This is the rectangular photo behind your profile picture. Many people don’t bother to update this, and the result is a half-baked-looking profile. Don’t be doughy! Upload a descriptive image that connects your name with your industry, inspiration, or key skills.
Headline: LinkedIn gives you 220 characters here to deliver a compelling value proposition. They automatically population this space for you with your company and job title, but you can do better. Think about the critical skills for the job you want to land, and talk about how you bring them to the table. You might even tastefully incorporate some emojis to reinforce the ideas you want to convey.
About Section: Here, you have 2,000 characters to tell the story of your skill and motivation. LinkedIn is a social network, so write this section in the first person like you’re having a conversation. If you’re openly searching, it helps to include a distinctive call to action for recruiters.
Experience Section: This section should demonstrate a continuous work timeline without overlapping jobs, so be selective about what you include if you’re a person who has had concurrent work. You can deal with gaps by adding sections talking about what you learned or explored during that time, but be sure to keep it professional. Employers are most interested in the last 10 – 15 years of experience, so stick to that time frame. If you have significant earlier work, you can mention it in the About section but don’t include it in the Experience section because you’ll have to list dates. You can either cut and paste the information from your resume into this section or write it conversationally. Whichever you choose, be sure to connect what you did (with quantifiable metrics if possible) and how you did it to provide compelling proof of your capabilities.
Skills & Endorsements: This section is critical because what you list will help recruiters to find you. I suggest selecting 5 – 10 job descriptions that interest you and highlighting the keywords you see. See any common threads? List them as your top skills, and then include any others that apply to you.
Recommendations: Add credibility to your profile by asking present / former colleagues to write you a recommendation. You can request this by going to people’s profiles, clicking the “More •••” icon, and selecting “Request a Recommendation.”
Other Information: You’ve worked hard for your publications, patents, courses, projects, awards, languages, organizations, etc., so now let them work for you. At the top of your profile, click “Add profile section” to get a dropdown menu of the choices available to you.
Now that you’ve filled everything out, you’re almost ready to begin sharing your profile with others. Before you do, customize the URL to remove the ugly numbers LinkedIn assigns to you. You can do this by going to your profile and clicking “Edit public profile & URL” in the top right-hand corner.
Take care of the body of your LinkedIn profile, and the flow of recruiters through your page will dramatically increase! It’s a good idea to set a calendar reminder to perform a “check-up” every few months, where you’ll ask for a few new recommendations from people and update your Headline, Experience, and About sections as needed. Also, go through the settings to ensure they align with your current needs, as LinkedIn offers many choices regarding who gets to see your profile and how they can view it.