This blog post is the first in a series titled “All About LinkedIn.” Our career expert, Sadie Guzman, will explore how to maximize the platform for your professional development and job search.
This blog will break down the key steps for you to have a successful LinkedIn profile. Engage in professional discussions, expand your network, and enhance your next job search with these tips.
What does your current LinkedIn profile say about you? Consider viewing it from the lens of a colleague or recruiter, what image are you giving off? Your LinkedIn profile is one component of your online professional brand, so you will want to make sure that the messaging you are putting out accurately represents you. This means making it clear for others viewing your profile who you are, what industry you are in, what your job is, and where you want to go. If you are job searching, is that clear on your profile? If not, taking a step back and thinking about how your want your LinkedIn profile to represent you is a great place to start.
Let’s dig into the essential components of an effective LinkedIn profile. The more robust your profile, the more engagement you will have from members and recruiters who are looking for quality candidates like you!
One of the most important parts of your profile is your picture! LinkedIn members with a photo have more engagement, including more profile views and connection requests. We want to humanize this online interaction, so having a face to a name is essential. Additionally, recruiters will be more likely to reach out to you when you have a photo, indicating to them that you are active on the platform. Choose a recent picture where you can clearly see your face, but not a selfie. It does not have to be a professional headshot as many industries and companies are no longer this formal, but something that accurately represents you and your personality. You should also include a background photo for your profile. This could be your favorite city or something that represents your industry. Feel free to showcase your creativity here while keeping it appropriate.
Your headline is probably more important than your photo. Your headline lets others know a little bit about you in a few words. This should not just be your current title and could be about your current situation, such as what industry you are in, what types of jobs you are looking for, or some relevant buzzwords from your field. It should be short and easy for others to understand and you can fit a lot of quality information in this short headline. Think about what you are using LinkedIn for currently. If you are looking for a new job, you will want to make sure your headline is attractive to potential recruiters. Here is my headline: Senior Recruiter | Talent Acquisition | I’m Hiring! This lets people know that I am a recruiter so that’s why I may be reaching out to them, the industry I am in, and a little bit beyond that by letting them know I am hiring.
The summary is something you should spend time crafting. This is an overview of who you are, your experiences, and what your goals are right now. LinkedIn refers to this section as the best lines from your cover letter. Consider making this more of a story and engaging your audience. Maybe start with a question or facts about your professional accomplishments, but remember this can also include information about who you are outside of the workplace. You want to personalize this so people get to know the real you. Again, if you are job searching or trying to change industries, make sure it comes across clearly in this section. Always write your profile in the first person only.
Accuracy is key when it comes to your LinkedIn profile whether is your location or experiences. Make sure that you have your current location updated so when recruiters find your profile, they can see if you are a good fit for the job based on location. Your location could be your current location, where you are job searching, or you can also indicate on your profile that you are open to relocation.
Skills are another way that you can be discovered by recruiters. Many times recruiters are searching for quality candidates with specific skillsets. You can include these skillsets on your profile and also become endorsed for them by your colleagues. A great way to increase your endorsed skills is to endorse your network for their skills on their profile and most of the time, they will return the favor!
Experience & Education
The experience section is the bulk of your profile and can be overwhelming for job seekers as they think they need to rewrite their experiences. Instead, just copy/paste your accomplishment-focused bullet points from your resume. It is important to not only include the places you worked, but also what you accomplished there. Your current job title could be too vague for recruiters to know if you have the skill set they are looking for. Spend time on this section to highlight your accomplishments and work history and include your education. Overall, your LinkedIn profile should always align with your resume.
Seek out recommendations for your page from current or former colleagues. This is just a short note that your colleagues can write to endorse your skills and describe what it is like to work with you. Again, a great practice is to start giving these out to others that you can vouch for and in return, they may give you one back!
Finally, you will want to avoid random letters and numbers in your LinkedIn URL, and thankfully you can easily create a custom URL to share on your resume and with colleagues. Create a URL that is your first and last name and maybe one or two numbers if needed.
Now that your profile is set up and represents your brand, the next step is to start adding connections. Think about your immediate network first, such as family, friends, coworkers, and build from there. You can also join groups and subscribe to newsletters to stay up to date with what is happening in your industry to make more connections.
Personalize Your Message
Whenever you reach out to someone, make sure to personalize your message. You will need to go to their profile so that you have a chance to send this note along with your request. You will not have an opportunity to send a note if you just go to the “my network, people you may know” section. When you connect with someone, be very clear as to who you are and why you are connecting with them. You can see sample connection messages from a previous blog here.
Engage With Content
Another way to build your connections is to engage with LinkedIn posts and even write some of your own. You can write blog posts, update your network about your recent promotion, or write a post about a recent event. I have met numerous recruiters in the field just by commenting on their posts and sharing my advice. This is a great way to meet people within your industry and you never know, someday that person may have a job opportunity for you!
Job Search Tips
Finally, let’s discuss other less well known tips for LinkedIn success.
Open to Work
If you are actively job searching you can let recruiters know that you are open to work. Don’t worry, no one from your network will be notified that you turned this feature on and only recruiters will be able to see it through LinkedIn Recruiter. Turning this on will make you appear in recruiter’s searches, increasing the chances they may reach out to you about your next job opportunity! Once you turn this on, you can indicate your location preferences, job titles, and more!
You can be notified whenever a job is posted that you may be interested in by setting job alerts. We will cover more about this in a later blog post about how to utilize LinkedIn for your job search.
Stay tuned for more tips and tricks to enhance your LinkedIn profile through the next blog in this series!
Sadie Guzman is a Corporate Recruiter and has over seven years of experience supporting job seekers to achieve their career goals. She is passionate about hiring trends, recruiting best practices, and demystifying job search myths. She considers herself an advocate for those seeking employment. In her free time, Sadie loves traveling, spending time with her husband and Pomeranian, and playing in an adult kickball league!
Connect with Sadie on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sadieguzman/