When you first created your LinkedIn profile, you might have hit it with all the gusto of a newbie on Facebook or Google+: you filled out all the fun little bits about your background, interests, experience, and even uploaded a professional looking picture of yourself. But it’s been a while, and you haven’t kept up on that. You figure if you need to, you will attend to it then.
Meanwhile, your dream job recruiter may be sniffing around at your account. Maybe it’s time for a LinkedIn makeover? What to do? Where to start? No worries, friend, we are here to help you, with 25 hints on how to deck out your LinkedIn profile.
- Make it Your Project
Take this seriously, put in as much work doing this as your future boss will want you to work for him or her. Fill out the entire thing, and don’t slack. Every little touch you can give to your profile extra grace and professionalism will impress the recruiters checking you out.
- Set a Custom URL
Rather than having a clunky computer generated number for your screen name, go to the Edit Profile screen and click the Public Profile URL, and then click “edit.” Making a profile of your name (www.linkedin.com/yourname) will leave your name ringing in the ears of prospective employers.
- Take care in choosing a photo
Look at pictures of those who work at your desired company. You want to be among them, so you want to look like you belong among them. If you can get a professional picture of you professionally dressed and “working,” you will grab attention.
- Capture them with your headline
In today’s Twitter-fed world, we want to know what we are looking at, and we want it immediately. So give your audience what it wants: sum yourself up in a succinct headline. Take the time to do it right, and peek over the shoulder on how other successful people sloganize their ability. Tell your readers what makes you different, what makes you best.
- Adopt the language of job descriptions
Read the job descriptions of the sorts of jobs you are after. Note the words and phrases the industry feels are important. Fill your job description with that sort of talk.
- Slim up and lean up your summary
This is the meat of what you have to offer, so make some short and dense paragraphs that use action verbs and dense nouns to sum up what you are all about, your passions, skills, and unique contributions.
- Use stats
Whenever you can describe your past job performance in terms of numbers and stats, do so. If you’ve spoken X amount of times to Y number of audience members, use numbers. We are hypnotized and dazzled by the concreteness numbers seem to have.
- Present yourself
In your summary, use your own voice, conversational yet professional. Be warm, be the sort of person somebody would want to reach out and talk to. In other words, be likeable. Of course, we are all likeable if only we let ourselves be. So imagine introducing yourself to somebody you wanted to impress: write for them.
- Avoid buzzwords and clichés
Don’t say you’re an expert, or that you are driven, or that you are professional, that sort of thing. It’s the equivalent of commercials maundering on about their “excellence.”
- Make your profile into an internet résumé
Make things immediate and comprehensible with bullet-pointed self-praisers for what you’ve done and how well you’ve done it.
- Use the first person
Make it your voice talking to the interviewer: “I am this way,” not “John Doe is that way.”
- Be yourself
Let your interests, passions, loves, desires, and full personality come out. This is conversational.
- Praise your own accomplishments
Speak of yourself in terms of past accomplishments, action-packed, number-girded words of what a surpassing dynamo you are. This is what recruiters hope to find.
- Make your current job entry respectable
This is often the first and only sometimes the thing a recruiter bothers checking. So don’t say “unemployed.” Fluff it up a bit. List your desired job and say “seeking new opportunity.”
- Thicken your summary with multimedia
Add pictures of your work or yourself working: this makes you and your work all the more real to prospective employers.
- Add links to your work experience
Link up company profiles, articles you’ve written, or any websites that document or comment on your work. The more information you give the more your reader will be interested.
- Add volunteer experience and special skills
Add all those lovely quirks and unique projects you’ve done that not only make you unique, but also uniquely qualified for your prospective job.
- Request a LinkedIn recommendation every few weeks
If somebody appreciated your work on a project, ask them if they would talk about it on LinkedIn. Specific recommendations that point out the precise magnitude of your efforts (“increased our sales by 10 percent in May”) go a long way in filling out your worth.
- Ask for specific recommendations
You don’t want all your friends saying the same things. You want the recommendations to encircle your various skills. So ask each coworker for a specific recommendation so there is not too much of the same.
- Edit your recommendations
If somebody gave you a sloppy or unsolicited recommendation, consider whether it is worth keeping visible. You can manage your profile and take the recommendation down.
- Edit your endorsements
Keep the endorsements relevant to the skills you’ve just attained and want to land a job with. An overwhelm of recommendations looks like a blob of indistinguishable gush. You want the recommendations to put a halo around your current achievements.
- Update your status weekly
Make it part of your routine to make updates, adding links to your current work, and keeping the account live and active.
LinkedIn lets you share articles you’ve written. Write about your field of interest, show you have a professional interest in it, and showcase your expertise.
- Add your blog
Assuming your blog is relevant and appropriate, this can keep your LinkedIn profile relevant. LinkedIn has a setting to let WordPress link directly to your profile.
- Join Groups
By joining groups and listening to the latest buzz, you are joining a community and networking, keeping abreast of your profession and mingling with those you might one day work with.25 Top Tips for Giving your LinkedIn Account a Makeover by Daniel June