linkedin profile

Many savvy professionals maintain their LinkedIn account for years but tend to leave it dormant in a vain effort to attract job offers or enhance their business, but then only the most dedicated “surfers” tend to find them.  Facebook and Instagram seem to draw more of our attention to supply content.  But even then, as time and life move on, so can our attention to our presentation.  Let’s take a journey into simple and effective ways for you to enhance your profile to its fullest potential.  We are hoping to show you that there is so much more you can do with your LinkedIn profile than you might have realized.

It just seems that a lot of people create a LinkedIn profile at the beginning of their career and might go in and update it when they get a new job and such, or every now and again.  If that’s you, we are not here to tell you that you’ve been using LinkedIn wrong this whole time, but LinkedIn is so much more than an online resume to get a new job, it is truly a professional platform to showcase your work in your industry and a central place to build your brand.  We see brand building everywhere we turn in media marketing outlets.  Concepts range from giving people what they want, to drawing attention using out of the ordinary antics which then loop home to a large company’s brand.  There are concepts that use common sense and professional presentation to leave YOU as the brand to those who connect to reach you in searches.  Understanding the way LinkedIn uses analytics for searches and relying on their advice as to what works for others can set your brand on fire.  At the very least, considering that there are more than 450 million LinkedIn members worldwide, it’s more important than ever to get away from the stale resume rehash and find ways to make your profile stand out from the crowd. Ready to make your LinkedIn profile come to life?

Newsflash: your headline is your most prime real estate on the platform, let’s face it, it’s the first thing people see in a search result and when you comment on others’ status updates and posts.  If you only have your job title and name of company, that won’t help differentiate you from the pack, no brand building there.  If you really want to stand out, skip this dull approach and instead play around with your headline to make it more interesting.

No hiring managers or recruiters’ type in a company name when searching for candidates!   They use keywords like ‘process improvement’ or ‘lead generation,’ along with job titles, to find someone with a set of skills.

So, when writing your headline, enter your job role (it doesn’t have to be exactly what’s on your business card), plus industry keywords to help you come up in search results, plus a branding statement that reflects how you provide value to an employer.  For instance, change “Category & Channel Manager at Office Depot” to “Award Winning Category & Channel Manager | Multi-Channel Marketing | Invigorates Brands, Sets Retail Strategy for Growth”.

While the words you use on your profile will certainly have an impact on people, you should also choose a head shot with care.  There is no better way to make a lasting first impression.  Whether you like it or not, people will make a quick judgment on you based on your picture!  You are looking to add a clear, clean, striking head shot. While it doesn’t have to be professionally done, this is one place not to skimp, remember, you need to see your photo as the visual manifestation of your personal brand on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn offers an option to add a background photo, and career pros say you should take advantage of this often-overlooked feature.   The background image affords you the additional opportunity to make your profile stand out to visitors. This new feature on your personal profile homepage should not be ignored because it is underutilized by most users and affords you an additional opportunity to brand yourself.   Take the time to consider what type of impression you want to make when choosing a background image—just be sure that whatever image you choose isn’t distracting and that you have permission to use it.

Let’s not regurgitate our resume but instead work it socially.   Try to make it a conversation describing yourself and your accomplishments.  This personal approach moves you away from a profile of a chronology of places worked.  Tell your story, use the space before your work history to tag those search concepts.  People want to hear from you authentically as you tell the story of who you are and what you have accomplished.  Remember, we are more relatable when we write in the first person.  They truly want to know what YOU do and what YOU care about. This helps people see you as more real and approachable

What’s the point of having a LinkedIn account if nobody can find you? Use the keywords recruiters will be searching for by incorporating such keywords throughout your profile, including in your headline, summary and work experience sections. This can increase the likelihood of coming up in search results and showing up on the first page of results for whatever keywords you choose if you have enough of those keywords in your profile. Recruiters are likely to contact those candidates whose profiles show up first in a keyword search. Drive traffic to your profile by adding those keywords that recruiters will search for, such as, if you are an IT specialist, Palmer suggests using keywords such as “user support,” “issue resolution,” “troubleshooting,” “configuration of laptops and PCs,” “IT conversions” and “installations.”

LinkedIn allows you to add images, sound bites, video, PDFs and PowerPoint presentations to your profile to add context and color to your words. Instead of simply telling people why you’re great at what you do, consider showing them what you’ve accomplished by adding multimedia to your profile.  These can be a powerful way to reinforce the skills and experience you describe.  But only use good quality images, and don’t flood your profile with masses of content because generally less is more. If you’re adding videos, make them short and snappy. Your audience is unlikely to have the patience for more than a 3-minute video. So, if you do decide to use multimedia, just be sure to keep these concepts in mind.

Seek out recommendations! These go a long way, so it is important to be sure that your LinkedIn profile contains at least a few glowing reviews from people you have worked with who can vouch for your skills, leadership style, professionalism and character.  These clearly demonstrate your credibility and allows you to stand out among your peers.  Those you work closely with can be asked if they would be willing to write a recommendation for you.  Offer those you work closely with, such as a manager, colleague or group member, to exchange recommendations.  Don’t forget your volunteer experiences, co-curricular activities and projects.  Build on that brand!  Supply recommendations to all of those in your network and see how many come back as returns.

We are coaching you to avoid creating your profile then just walking away.  Take the time to engage in your community and share content.  It’s vital to realize that static content alone, no matter how well written, isn’t enough to get you noticed, however, engaging regularly with your network will increase your profile views. Take the time and trouble to ‘Like’ other people’s posts, share your status updates and industry information and help connections when you can by sharing resources or job leads. That simple step alone puts you well ahead of the many people who take a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to LinkedIn.

Expand your presence by joining LinkedIn groups related to your industry to get to know people in your field.   Go further than simply joining groups, try to work at this to engage them on a weekly or monthly basis.  One basic method is to comment on an article a recruiter has published or shared with the group. This is a way to demonstrate thought leadership, display engagement and create a more natural relationship should a recruiter reach out to you.

It is important to prioritize the information on your page.  You can manipulate the experience section to avoid following the Summary directly.  Consider moving sections up—like Projects, Publications or Volunteer—if the information there will better highlight your expertise and accomplishments.  Work to order the information strategically with the goal to strengthen your career story and personal brand to create an even stronger first impression. To reorder a section of your profile, go to “Edit Profile,” then hover your mouse over the section you want to move. Next, click and drag the vertical arrows in the top-right corner of the section, dropping the section at the place on your page where you’d like it to appear.

LinkedIn automatically assigns profiles a URL that consists of a series of random numbers and letters. To make your profile more personalized, take advantage of the feature that allows you to create your own URL.   This is one of the easiest things anyone can do, but so many people don’t even think about it. Your LinkedIn profile URL does need to have your first and last name, not a jumble of code, to brand you properly and show that you take your online presence seriously. To change your LinkedIn URL, select “Edit Profile,” then underneath your profile picture, click the “settings” icon next to your current URL. You’ll then be taken to your public profile. On the top right of the page, click the “edit” icon next to your URL, then customize the last part of your URL (after www.linkedin.com/in/) so that it contains your name.   Once you’ve created your personalized URL, consider including it on your resume so that it’s easier for hiring managers to find you on LinkedIn.

Assure your contact information is entered and current.  This sounds like a no-brainer, but many people make the mistake of leaving out their contact information on their LinkedIn profile. If I can only reach you through LinkedIn and we’re not connected, that limits my ability to reach out and I like people who make it easy to connect. Be sure to include the contact information that you are truly comfortable sharing.

Ultimately LinkedIn, like all social media, is about starting a conversation, so include profile elements that encourage that.  So, take the time to work toward the goals highlighted here and improve the chance of success in your new ventures!

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