Why Your LinkedIn Profile Matters
Your application to a job is the first thing an employer will look at, but it’s definitely not the last. Once you’ve applied, the hiring team may look you up on LinkedIn or other platforms to get more context about who you are. So let’s use LinkedIn to your advantage - following these tips, you can demonstrate how you stand out from the rest of the pack and confirm that you’re a great fit for the job.
Choose a great photo. Your photo is the first thing employers will see, so a great first impression is key! It doesn’t have to be a professional quality photo taken on an expensive camera, but it should be clear and un-pixelated, with a simple background. You should be wearing something that you’d wear to work -- especially to the job you want. Strive for a warm and friendly expression… bonus point for a smile! Think of this as a chance for you to show that you possess important skills like empathy, trust, and a positive attitude (you know what they say, a photo speaks a thousand words!) Remember: there’s no quicker way to make an employer do a double take than to exist as a random head silhouette on LinkedIn.
Optimize your headline. Your LinkedIn headline is a prime marketing opportunity to sell yourself to potential employers. It is the second thing people will see after your photo. The first thing to consider is: “who’s my audience?” Think about what the hiring team at your dream job is looking for in an employee and try to tailor your description to that. Second, think about the “relevant keywords,” and use them to describe your past and current experiences. If you use the right keywords, your name will show up when employers search for candidates! (For more on how to build your headline, click here.)
Utilize the summary section. This is a space for you to show the type of work you’re capable of doing. Write a short paragraph about what you’ve done, what skills you’ve acquired, and why you’re qualified. Use numbers to highlight your credibility and accomplishments, like the number of years you’ve worked in sales, or how many sales you’ve made. Make it warm and welcoming to readers by adding your personality and passion into your writing, and use first person!
Here’s a template that you can customize with your own details, courtesy of HubSpot:
I'm a seasoned [Career] with [#] years' experience [What you do] in the [Name of industry]. I'm passionate about [What results you achieve] for [Companies, partners, or clients]. [Sentence explaining recent career accomplishments, skills developed, educaional milestones achieved.] I'm currently seeking [Opportunities you're pursuing on LinkedIn], so if you'd like to work together, contact me by [Method of contact].
Not working at the moment? You should still include a current job entry even though you are unemployed. If you put in “unemployed,” your headline will show up as “unemployed” and may not be the best look on your profile. Additionally, if you put down your past positions but don’t list a current role, you may get missed when people search for you because most recruiters use the “current title” box when searching for candidates. Instead of leaving the box blank or putting in “unemployed,” you should write: [title of target job] + “in training” or “in transition.” Or, you could put: “seeking for opportunity in [field of interest.]”
Well done! At this point, you’ve got your bases covered. However, if you’re looking for some extra credit, we’ve got a few more tips that will take your LinkedIn to the next level.
Add accomplishments... Add your projects, volunteer experiences, languages, and any other skills that you have (may not directly relate to your dream job) but that may be useful to your application or help employers better get to know you.
But use your red pen. Now here’s where it gets a little tricky - while you should certainly add your accomplishments, do so with an editor’s eye. Adding anything and everything can make your profile overwhelming. So be sure to add things that you feel really add to your digital profile, and when in doubt, ask a friend or leave it out.
Request recommendations. Asking for a recommendation from coworkers or managers (past or present) a great way to showcase all the assets that you offer in the workplace. If you feel someone would give you a glowing review, don’t be shy to ask.
Make connections. Frankly, having LinkedIn connections are crucial for networking. It is a way to show that you are committing to growing and advancing your network, and also show that you understand how a workplace technology like LinkedIn works! You should aim to have at least 50 connections.
Add an eye-catching cover photo. The cover photo is another opportunity to brand yourself. It can reflect an element of who you are (as simple as a photo of a soccer field if you work in the sports industry), or at the very least, it will draw attention to your profile. When choosing a photo, be sure that it is high quality and simply put, looks good on your profile!
Remember, building a great LinkedIn profile is an important way to make an impression on potential employers, and you’ll be sure to make some helpful connections in your network along the way. Happy networking!