“Let’s connect on LinkedIn.”
Those four words shouldn’t inspire fear when you’re at a networking event. Whether you’ve been in the working world for years, or if you’re just getting started, your LinkedIn profile is the gateway to connecting to new job opportunities, volunteer work and professional relationships.
In other words, when it comes to the business world, it’s a much bigger deal than Facebook.
But these days it’s not enough to simply be on Linkedin. You need to make sure your profile will stand out among millions and portray you in the best light possible. Today, we’re sharing our top 7 tips to make sure your profile is polished, unique and sure to land you that dream job.
Sell Yourself with a Summary
Your profile summary is the best way for employers to get a clear picture of who you are. Make sure your summary is relevant to the field where you’re job-seeking (or currently working) and that it clearly but concisely summarizes your most significant strengths and experiences. If you’ve worked in several industries other than the one you’re currently pursuing, use the summary section of your profile to clearly communicate to potential employers in your chosen field how your range of skills and experience can be an asset to the types of jobs they’re looking to fill.
Polish Your Profile Photo
Take our advice — your latest selfie is not suitable for your LinkedIn profile photo. Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn users expect to see you in a business environment, so be sure your photo is as professional as possible, meaning it should have good resolution and lighting. Avoid posting full body-shots and stick instead to a headshot that will allow colleagues and employers to recognize you. Last but not least, do your best to look friendly (that means smile!), but still professional.
Highlight Strengths and be Specific
Think of the experience section of your LinkedIn profile as an expanded résumé. List at least three recent positions (don’t forget dates!) and highlight your career-related strengths and skills in each of them. Be as specific as possible, using the same type of action verbs you’d include in a résumé (check out an awesome list from the Rockwell Career Center here). Another way to enhance this section is to include relevant numbers, such as the amount of money or clients you brought in as a salesperson.
Include Volunteer Experience
If you’re just about to graduate college, you may not have a lot of professional experiences to include on your Linkedin profile. The good news? Research shows that most employers value volunteer experience, since what you do in your free time (and without pay) says a lot about your interests and ability to commit. Be sure to include any long-term volunteer experience on your profile, and highlight any career-related skills you applied as a volunteer.
Find the Industry Standard
A good rule of thumb for crafting professional profiles and documents is to find the standard in your industry and tailor your profile accordingly. Search through profiles of your connections and well-seasoned professionals and take notice of the skills highlighted in their summary and experience sections. It’s a foolproof way to make sure you’re taken seriously while also getting some inspiration.
These days, it’s very common for past and future employers to find your social media profiles on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Be prepared for that by making sure your brand is consistent across all your internet profiles. That doesn’t mean you have to stick to only industry-related tweets and statuses, but it does mean your summaries, photos and posts shouldn’t contradict who your LinkedIn profile says you are.
Bonus tip: Turn off Your Activity Broadcast
Ready to use all these tips to revamp your profile? Go for it! But before you do, consider turning off your activity updates temporarily. If not, each time you update something on LinkedIn, your entire network will be notified. The easiest way to do this is to go to Privacy Controls under Settings and select “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.” You can turn them back on as soon as your profile is ready to go.
By Priscilla Aceves