Your LinkedIn page is like your online dating profile for the professional world: You want it to attract the right people so you can close the deal in person. The photos, connections, experiences, and talents listed will be your first impression to many potential employers -- here's how to make sure you're putting your best foot forward.
Your profile picture
Before you whip out your phone for a selfie, know that your profile picture can say a lot more than your bio can. A 2014 survey found that the right profile picture can make people think you are smart, friendly, and influential. However, the wrong picture can make you appear unprofessional, or worse, not serious about the job hunt game.
Here are a few rules to follow:
- Warm smile and eye contact.
- Photo of your shoulders up, avoid facial close-up or full body shots.
- Color saturated and black and white photos are a no-no, get artsy on Instagram, but keep it professional here.
- It must be a current picture of you, and just you; a logo or an old family picture may be distracting to a recruiter.
Take a few minutes to make yourself look like the best, most professional version of you and snap a picture that sends the right message: Hire me!
When you first get started in your career, you might have a mix of part-time positions and side jobs. However, once you have started building experience, it is important to curate your resume to show your current talents.
You're able to include as much information here for each position you've held, but keep it short and sweet by using bullet points if you need to.
For example, it would be weird to look up a realtor and see that he bartends on the weekend, that he worked at a sandwich shop in his twenties, or that he went to school for teaching. While all these might be true, they do not paint a positive picture of an expert realtor.
Think about what kind of work you'd like to do moving forward and delete any item from your work history that doesn't reflect that goal.
If a potential employer looks at your profile and does not see any recommendations, it can be a red flag. The employer might think, "If this woman is as amazing as she says she is, why doesn't anyone else think so?"
This is an easy fix. Simply connect with friends, past co-workers, and current co-workers and ask them to endorse you one of the skills you list. If they could leave a quick two-sentence quote about your excellent work ethic, even better.
A quick email and a little tit for tat here will take you far. Ask your friends to help you out and do the same for them -- but be honest!
This is your place to add any professional certifications, patents, or honors you've been awarded. Only list things that truly make you stand out and are relevant to your career.
Dig deep, but not too deep. If you are at a loss for this section, take it as a sign to take advantage of more professional organizations or volunteer opportunities.
Don't be afraid to reach out and connect with other individuals who have the same title as you or work at the desired company you hope to interview with. A profile with very little connections shows that you are not social and people don't like you.
You don't need thousands of LinkedIn friends, but 300 strong social connections will show recruiters you are important. Continue to engage socially through the LinkedIn platform by linking and sharing compelling content and news in your field. Similarly, link to any published work you have. LinkedIn is a social media platform, not just a site to upload your resume and leave.
Take advantage of the automatic connections feature and let your email address book do most of the work for you.
Does your summary drone on about how amazing you are? Is it filled with jargon like "social media guru?" Take a hint from copywriters and look at the ads and copy of something you just bought recently. For example, you might have bought a new book because the intro hooked you in with intriguing words while promising you the secrets of losing weight/falling in love/getting a raise in 30 days.
You are essentially trying to sell yourself with your profile. Of course, you don't want this to be sleazy or cheesy sounding. Instead, use concrete language to highlight your career accomplishments and break up a long summary in shorter paragraphs and bullet points.
Pretend like you have 30 seconds to sell yourself to a potential employer and put all your greatest hits in this space. Brag a little!
Public profile badge
There is an option to create a badge that links to your profile. Easily add this to your resume, web page, or email signature by copying and pasting the code.
This is not for sneaky job seekers, use with caution!
While you don't have to spend as much time on LinkedIn as you do on Snapchat or Instagram, you should still plan to update your profile often. Plan an hour to create a strong profile, and then intend to check your account for updates and engagement once or twice a week.