LinkedIn is the go-to site for professionals who want to connect with colleagues, make B2B (business to business) connections, and find new jobs. Your professional history is the basis of your LinkedIn presence.
You can create an overview of your past experience, job duties, projects, and volunteer work. Your colleagues can write you recommendations and vouch for your skill set. You can list skills that would be an asset to a potential employer.
LinkedIn has a robust Jobs section but benefits job seekers in other ways. It’s a virtual one-stop shop for professionals looking to advance their careers. With that in mind, LinkedIn is also a pretty competitive place. So your presence needs to stand out in the right ways to attract the attention of recruiters.
In this article, we’ll share a list of things you can do to create the perfect LinkedIn presence.
1. Professional Photo
It’s a big no-no in the US business world to include your photo on your resume, as you know. But the opposite is true on LinkedIn. Your photo should reflect your professional LinkedIn presence and not necessarily the one you would present to friends and family on Facebook or Twitter.
Consider having a photographer help you with headshots. Dress appropriately and steer clear of busy backgrounds. Avoid using any photos with other people in them. Avoid shots of yourself doing anything you wouldn’t do at the office. For instance: holding a red Solo cup while wearing a lampshade on your head.
2. Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are a great way to meet professionals in your field. They are also a way for you to demonstrate that you have a passion for your industry. You can choose which of your group memberships are visible on your LinkedIn profile.
Participating in groups can lead you to opportunities later in your career. Post insightful comments in group discussions and you just might catch a hiring manager’s eye. You never know where your next big lead will come from or whether you’ll meet someone influential. Networking in your industry, even online, is a great way to set yourself up for success.
3. Write a Great LinkedIn Profile Summary
Your summary is your opportunity to quickly introduce yourself to someone– your elevator pitch. Lead off your LinkedIn profile by giving some insight into who you are as a person. Consider writing your summary in the first person and giving it some personality. A summary on LinkedIn can be somewhat less formal than a typical resume summary. Good LinkedIn profile summaries range between 250-300 words and take advantage of the generous 2000 character limit.
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is essentially a giant search engine. So your summary plays a big role in where you fall in the results. It’s crucial to find out which keywords best reflect your industry, area of expertise, and passions. Then include them in your summary.
Your work experience makes up the largest part of your profile. While it might seem like a duplicate of the work experience section of your resume, you can optimize it for LinkedIn.
For example, keywords are important. Do some research on your industry and learn which keywords recruiters and hiring managers are targeting.
Listing the specific software and hardware that you use in your work can be helpful. Relevant keywords can also include techniques, credentials, industry-specific terms, and more. Having the right keywords in your LinkedIn profile can bolster your credibility and boost your LinkedIn presence.
5. Skills and Endorsements
Your skill set is a list of assets you bring to the table as an employee. Your contacts on LinkedIn have the opportunity to endorse these skills.
These skills include things such as video editing, digital media, and technical writing. If you’re a developer, for example, it includes specific languages that you are experienced with.
Endorsing other people’s skills can encourage them to endorse your skills in return. Typically, you’ll find the specific skills you are best known for rise to the top of the list.
One thing to keep in mind here: Blindly endorsing someone you don’t know well can backfire. Remember, endorsements are not anonymous. You are putting your name behind someone’s ability to do something. In doing so, you are helping shape their professional LinkedIn presence.
Recommendations are a big part of LinkedIn. People you have worked with can write a short recommendation based on their experience with you.
A lot of hiring managers will look specifically at this part of your LinkedIn profile. They know: it offers them insight into how well you work with others. In addition, it shows what type of impression you left at previous jobs.
Getting recommendations can be tricky, especially if you don’t want to just come out and ask for them. Instead, consider first recommending people you’ve worked with. It’s a subtle way of inspiring people to write recommendations for you, without actually asking.
Plus, after you’ve written a recommendation, you get the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from doing something nice.
Posts are a great way to gain attention on LinkedIn and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Why is it worth doing? Because it elevates your position as a professional. How? By showing that you care enough to share insight and initiate conversation. It also shows that you’re willing to raise the collective understanding of your industry.
The quality of your posts is important, of course. And so is the fact that your LinkedIn posts have a greater chance of being seen by a recruiter than your posts on other social networks.
8. Edit Your Public Profile URL
The default URL that comes with your LinkedIn account is difficult to share with people. Who will remember a string of random numbers? Instead, customize your URL from LinkedIn’s Public Profile Settings page. Create a custom URL that includes your name, such as:
A customized URL is easier to remember and tell to people. It also looks much better on a business card or resume. There are also SEO (search engine optimization) benefits.
The perfect LinkedIn profile, after all, is one that’s easy to find.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jobscan.
About the Author: James Hu earned his bachelor’s of Information Systems and Finance from University of Washington. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Jobscan. James has also enjoyed work experiences at Boeing, Microsoft, Groupon, Kabam Games, and a start-up of his own. Through his work in the United States, China, and Spain/Gibraltar, James truly integrates a global mindset into his career. In his free time, he also enjoys water sports and backpacking. Follow James on Twitter.