These are difficult times for the unemployed looking for jobs and for people looking to make career changes. One of the platforms dedicated to those particular endeavours is LinkedIn, the largest professional network on the planet. Full disclosure, there are no magic bullets to get you that dream job. There are, however, ways to make your profile stand out enough to catch the eye of some recruiter or a head hunter or that connection who can bring you closer to opportunities you seek. A compelling profile showcases who you are, why you are unique, and overall just what an amazing catch you are.
1. Speak to your target audience
Determine who your audience on LinkedIn is, who you are trying to reach, and address them, crafting a story that is meaningful to them. A business profile will have a different narrative targeted at customers from a personal profile that is targeted at recruiters.
2. Create an eye-catching headline
The headline is the one-liner that by default appears under your name on your profile. It will be one of the very first things visitors read. Instead of just listing your job title, emphasize your speciality and how you can benefit a company or customers.
3. Make simple updates to your intro
Update your intro section to include your industry and location. Using industry-specific career description information such as Financial Services or Education Management leads to more profile views. Up to 9x more profile views and it can help you get discovered up to 38x more in recruiters’ searches. Make sure you update your contact information. Provide email addresses and contacts that you constantly check on and that you are accessible on.
4. Maximize your summary
Your LinkedIn summary is the first section people will see and is your opportunity to tell your story. You want to grab and keep people’s attention and make a bold impression. Include all the key things you think matter including your professional or academic trajectory and key skills and accomplishments. It’s not just about what you have done in the past but what you can bring to a prospective employer.
This is not the time to be modest, boldly showcase your accomplishments from organizations you have founded to successes like increasing sales at your current place of work. If you have numbers, like you increased social media reach by 120% at your current workplace, don’t be afraid to add them. You want to demonstrate the impact and results you have delivered so far. That you are the kind of person who gets things done with significant results to boot.
Showcase your skills and how you want to impact, contribute and add value to future employers or customers. Talk about what you do and why it matters. Consider adding a mission statement and a leadership purpose statement both of which will serve to show people what drives you and the compass that guides your life and career.
Your summary is where you should invest the bulk of your time as you boost your LinkedIn profile.
5. Remember your visuals
It is a cliché but clichés are clichés for a reason. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Telling people what you do is one thing, showing them is a whole other thing and is more impactful overall. People remember visuals more than they do text.
Add media such as photos, videos, presentations, and websites as you showcase your accomplishments. LinkedIn allows you to connect a wide variety of media including infographics and even videos on YouTube. Get creative and make your page jump off the screen and demand attention.
Make an effort to nail the headshot as well and if you are able to, get one done professionally so that you make the best first impression. Choose a picture with a clean background and that clearly shows your face. Pick a theme and/or background that speaks to your profession or personality.
6. Use Keywords
Employers, recruiters, and customers use keywords to search on LinkedIn. You need to find out the keywords that the people searching for you are using. Start by thinking like a recruiter and identifying the words they search with, the words that show up in the job descriptions specific to your industry. Use these keywords to create a good summary and title.
7. Connect and get recommendations
Stay active on the site. Actively share and engage with other peoples’ posts and updates. Connect with people in your industry. If you meet someone at a conference or event, reach out to them with a personalized message about how you met and asking to connect. Engage with their posts even as you share your own. Having a lot of connections helps keep you visible to others.
Credibility is premium on LinkedIn. You get credibility through recommendations. Recommendations are essentially people you have worked with corroborating all the amazing things you have said about yourself. Request recommendations from a diverse group of people including colleagues and bosses. When asking for recommendations from senior leaders or executives, consider writing a draft that they can edit as they see fit, personalize it and allow their voice and tone to come through. It saves them time that they may not have and it allows you to focus on the key areas you want to stand out.
8. Customize your URL
The default LinkedIn URL has your name and some mix of numbers too. There is an option on the right side of your profile that allows you to edit your public URL. This simple change allows you to make your URL personal, concise, neat and memorable.
With this done, share your profile on your professional website, Twitter, and other appropriate platforms.
9. Check your profile strength
This powerful LinkedIn feature lets you know how well-filled your profile is. Keep making changes and adding more over time until the site gauges your LinkedIn profile “All-Star”.
Here’s hoping these changes bring you closer to your career goals or at the very least closer to your goal to get a job so you can put some food in your belly and keep staying alive. Happy profile updating and job hunting on LinkedIn.
Here’s a great piece on ways to get your CV past the applicant tracking system. Tips For Attending A Job Interview