Read how to improve upon your LinkedIn profile in a few steps and become a LinkedIn champion and possibly land your new dream job!
Your moment to shine 24/7. Whether it's your future boss, a new prospect, or someone looking you up to see if you're succeeding in life (or failing), there's plenty of reasons to keep your profile up-to-date and as professional as possible.
The number of users on LinkedIn just keeps on growing and most companies make use of it one way or another. Some use it to hunt for new employees and most of them incorporate LinkedIn to their commercial efforts. Nowadays, there's hardly getting around it and our advice is to update your profile whenever you have some extra time on your hands. So, let's get that profile of yours fixed; might as well start now!
Everyone knows you should have a proper picture of yourself showing the world that you're that ambitious self-driven, motivated, team playing superstar that will bring in one account after the other. Or don’t we?
Fact is, you don't have to look too long on LinkedIn to see that it's far from uncommon to find profiles displaying pictures on the beach from a vacation in Turkey 3 years ago, pictures that are very badly cropped or simply lack image size so they look like a bunch of random pixels came together. And, of course, my personal favorite one: the party pic inspiring that at least you'll be fun at the company trip.
So what are we looking for?
Dress business or business casual
Get a neutral background
Make sure it shows your face and torso
Laugh, but not to much
Use a good camera
Make sure it's not 10 years old
If you're looking for some serious photography tips and tricks, try this blog for beginners here.
2. TITLE AND SUMMARY
When picking your title you might choose not to simply copy the job title that's printed on your business card but instead make use of these few lines to show off your expertise. For example:
Manager business development may become: BD | Marketing | Branding | Sales
HR officer could be: Talent acquisition | HR | Networking | Coach
Managing consultant medical devices turns into: MD expert | Team leader | Sales
This way of displaying what you do turns you from a common job title into something more; a real person and something you want to be known for.
The summary that follows next is actually a great place to shortly describe why you just chose the words that you did. And when I say short, I do mean that it really shouldn't be longer than a few sentences. In these sentences you want to:
Start with just a bit of info on your background and where you come from (DETROIT! No, nobody cares where you grew up) (1-2)
Describe the most important capabilities / responsibilities in your current role (5-6)
Concluding sentence in which you can optionally stipulate future ambitions you might have (1-2)
3. EXPERIENCE: JOB DESCRIPTIONS & EDUCATION
These descriptions are most useful when you're looking for a new job and thus also for recruiters that need to find people with the right fit when they have new vacancies. My recommendation is again to not overdo yourself here. Most recruiters work their way through large piles of resumes and LinkedIn profiles during their search for the ultimate candidate and to no one’s surprise they won't remember it to the letter. Instead, try to keep it concise when describing your general responsibilities and try to focus on memorable accomplishments. You can even go as far as to structure all your entries in a similar way so it gives a clear overview of your career path. A nice way to write them down is:
General responsibilities (2-3)
Added value to the company compared to someone not as awe-inspiring as yourself (1-2)
For the total overview I'd also suggest to focus primarily on job descriptions that actually mattered to your careers. I.a.w. leave out your paper route.
The experience you want to share regarding your education is pretty straightforward: just mention the institutes you went to and don't forget that short courses also help.
Note: when placing descriptions or educations make sure you select the company or institution's LinkedIn page to display the correct logo!
4. SKILLS & RECOMMENDATIONS
These two items are somewhat out of your control and aren't used as much, although they are nice to have. The skill endorsements can be regarded as 'likes' of the different capabilities you have selected for yourself. As such, you can only hope that people will agree with you and are willing to take the time to click the right button and endorse you. This is more a matter of how many close friends you have on LinkedIn, than a real additional value, as it is not used by the majority of the users as it should be, it’s more a: you “like” me, then I “like” you feature so far.
Recommendations, however, are usually more substantial and can be quite helpful to show the quality of your previous work. When requesting them from others try to focus on people that you have actually worked with or (even better) for. If you plan on getting a recommendation after leaving a company, try not to wait too long because general experience is that people tend to be become less responsive and even reluctant to take the time and write something. Also, there's no folly in asking for a testimonial in specific areas (read: the career perspective you want to move forward into).
5. WRAPPING UP AND REVIEW
After completing all the steps above, run through your entire profile again to see if you've added all the essential information. Then, let someone else review your profile. Ask them what they are missing and what suggestions they have for possible improvements, if you are open to any, criticism and polite suggestions, of course.
Bonus tip: for a finishing touch, make sure the URL to your profile is clean. This means remove random numbers / letters that LinkedIn sometimes add.