So I know that most of you have LinkedIn, but are you actually using it your advantage? Is your profile up to par? What could you be doing better? Let’s do a deep dive into how you can improve your LinkedIn profile and get the most out of it.
LinkedIn is the place to grow your professional network, so it’s important to represent yourself in the best way possible. Let’s start with the basics, your professional summary!
Many people ignore the professional summary, but it gives you the chance to tell your career story, share your passions, and hook the reader in! When recruiters search for candidates, the professional summary is actually used along with your job experiences to see if your profile/experiences are a good fit for the job. So, how do you write an all-star summary? Start by highlighting who you are and what sets you apart, why you are in your industry, and what skills do you have that has allowed you to succeed.
So you’ve introduced yourself and told your story, but what else should you include, how long should my summary be? Those are fair questions, you can continue to build your summary by including certain keywords. Ideally, you want to keep your summary between 3-5 sentences, try to engage the reader without listing every single one of your accomplishments.
First impressions are everything! It’s important to have a clean and professional headshot. So, what goes into that? Well, the rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want. The safe route is to be in business professional attire, which consists of a tailored suit, traditionally you want to stick to neutral colors such as navy blue, black, and dark grey. This should be paired with a solid colored shirt with a solid or minimally patterned tie. Similarly, ladies could wear a blouse with a blazer or a pantsuit. As for my creatives, you have more flexibility in your photo options, as long as they are appropriate for your field of work. Overall, your headshot should capture your personality while being professional!
In terms of technicalities, try to keep your headshot at your chest and above, maintain good lighting and have a solid background or an appropriate back-drop!
Your work experience will be the bulk of your profile! Now, there is a misconception that your LinkedIn work experience should be a copy of your resume, that is incorrect. While there will be similarities, your LinkedIn should be used to complement your resume. That means that it should paint a big picture, while your resume is more fine-tuned and tailored towards a specific job! Your LinkedIn work experience can be less formal and more conversational, tell your story rather than list off bullet points as you would on your resume.
Another tip for your work experience is using the appropriate title, oftentimes job titles can be generic, so you may need to add more specific keywords to stand out to recruiters. For example, in my role, I am a Senior Consultant for a Healthcare Finance Consulting firm, but it serves me best to title my role as “Senior Healthcare Consultant- Revenue Cycle.” By doing this, I was able to specify that while I am a Senior Consultant, I work in the Healthcare Industry and focus on Revenue Cycle. Leaving my title as “Senior Consultant” provides no context for my actual role!
Ok, I grouped all these together because they pretty much go hand and hand. Skills provide you with credibility in your field and strengthen your profile. LinkedIn even allows you to take these skill quizzes to prove your capabilities. Aside from your skill quizzes, you have the opportunity to be endorsed by your connections. This is important because it shows that you are credible, try to encourage your connections to endorse your skills. Last but not least, your recommendations. Typically people receive recommendations from people they have worked within the past, and that person can attest to their work ethic or accomplishments during their time together. This could be written by a colleague, business partner, manager, or client! You can send a recommendation request via LinkedIn and you will have the opportunity to approve it, prior to publishing it on your page.
You are more than just your work experience and professional endeavors, you are an active member of your community. Who you are outside of work matters, and showcasing that is important. The causes you care about and your philanthropic endeavors highlight your well-roundedness, which may be attractive to recruiters and companies, especially if your philanthropic interests align with that of the company! Do you donate to a certain charity? Are you a member of a service organization? Do you support any organizations or movements? If the answer is yes then you need to list that on your LinkedIn. Companies are looking for well-rounded individuals that are productive in and out of the work environment.
Your LinkedIn is an extension of your resume and your brand! It’s important to showcase who you are, what you care about, and what you can bring to the table. Aside from a tool used by people hunting for a job, it’s a place to network. You have the opportunity to build relationships with people in your industry and other like-minded professionals, take advantage of it! With the proper resources, you can have an All-Star LinkedIn profile, but if you need a little help getting started, visit our services page for assistance!