Whether you are not on LinkedIn or your current profile needs a facelift, developing your strong professional brand online is an integral aspect of a successful career. Optimizing your profile gives credibility, drives referrals and attracts new business contacts. With over 260 million active users, employ these tips to get your LinkedIn profile to stand out amongst the rest.
Did you know that you are 14 times more likely to be viewed on LinkedIn if you have a profile photo? It sounds basic, but having a professional headshot could be your first step to a job offer. A smile, simple background and attire that is appropriate for your target audience is a must. The ideal photo is friendly and approachable — a little bit of confidence goes a long way in the digital workplace.
Next up is the headline. This is one of the most visible sections in your LinkedIn profile and is crucial to making connections and appearing in searches, according to LinkedIn’s search algorithm. Focus on key words that describe you. The headline should be concise and contain your current position, education or your most marketable skill that a recruiter might be searching for.
Following your headline is the summary. Whereas the headline allows only 120 characters, your summary can contain up to 2,000. Don’t be intimidated by this open frontier. The summary can be the most effective aspect of your LinkedIn profile, although it is one of the most underused resources for young professionals. Tell your career story, give context to your resume and add a little personality! The LinkedIn profile summary is your first impression as well as an opportunity to explain your greatest career accomplishments and goals for the future.
When formatting the experience section of your profile, resist the temptation to “refer to resume.” Although it is essential that the information on your resume matches your LinkedIn profile (recruiters check), importing all your professional experience onto the LinkedIn database will make a substantial difference. Your profile is twelve times more likely to be viewed if you have more than one position listed. Employers expect your resume to be a condensed version of your experience, so take the time to expand on past experiences with details that go beyond the resume.
When developing your personal brand, it is important to understand what employers are looking for and how you, as a candidate, can fulfill those needs. No matter if you are a college student or decades into your career, today’s fast-paced economy requires constant development of new skills. Using LinkedIn Learning, a free virtual classroom for all LinkedIn members, you can earn a certificate on a new skill in a matter of hours.
According to executive coach Victor Prince, the most desirable strengths for employees in 2020 include negotiation, cognitive flexibility, emotional intelligence and complex problem solving among others. Along with soft skill courses such as Interpersonal Communication and Enhancing Your Productivity, there are a multitude of courses for hard skills like Learning Adobe Creative Cloud and Learning Python. When a course is completed, a certificate will be shared on your LinkedIn feed and the new skill will be added to your profile to show recruiters, colleagues and supervisors your commitment to life-long learning.
Lastly, include volunteer experience. Almost half of all hiring managers say they view them as equivalent to formal work — take advantage of this! Whether it’s a THON organization or a summer mission trip, the good you do for others can be beneficial for your career as well.