Even if you have been using LinkedIn for a while, it can be overwhelming. What sections are the most important? How much information is too much?
This is a common question I hear, “I don’t know if this or that should be on there” or “I wasn’t sure so I just downloaded/copy/pasted my whole resume to my profile.”
You want to reinforce your brand and make the information easy to read and impactful, but you don’t want it to be a duplicate of your resume. LinkedIn should be the teaser, to entice the reader to ask to see your full resume. You want your reader to see a little more of a human side to you as well. Think of the LinkedIn profile as the friendly, humanized version of your resume.
Here are some things to think about when building and adding to your profile:
☑️ Fill out all the sections. Don’t leave anything blank. Fill in the volunteer, certifications, languages, projects, honors,and awards. You can add PowerPoints, photos, samples of your work, coursework, and things you have done in your career.
☑️ Add a profile photo AND a background cover photo (get rid of that blue LI background!). This makes it uniquely you. They definitely add personality and/or help brand the client by having a photo of the company, service, or product they represent.
☑️ Write a headliner that grabs attention. Instead of “Account Executive”, write “Account Executive specializing in the development of groundbreaking sales and service strategies internationally”. Add a little zing to it. Get your reader interested. Some even call the headliner “prime real estate” meaning it’s a great place to add keywords and branding that help direct LinkedIn’s algorithms to your profile. Get as clear and focused as you can. Add buzzwords if you know what they are. Not sure? Find jobs that interest you and notice the same words listed over and over? Add them. Don’t neglect this section.
☑️ Create an About section that speaks to the reader. This section used to be more formal and many people wrote theirs like a biography–3rd person, boring, etc. These days, it’s all about the conversation. Get them interested in what you have to say. Write in first person. It’s OK to be a little more human here. People expect it—and love it. The About section should be engaging, interesting, and conversational. Think of it as if you are speaking to someone at a networking event. How would you speak? What would you say? You’d keep it professional but interesting, right? You want to tell a story about why you do this type of work and what makes it interesting. Be enthusiastic.
☑️ Add Content! Make sure to add descriptions of what you do at your job. Add your daily responsibilities as well as your accomplishments. This is where I see clients fall short. They add their company and job title but nothing else. LinkedIn rewards content. Don’t omit critical information. Add content to your roles. What were you most proud of accomplishing? What projects have you worked on that added value? What is interesting about where you work? You can also add numbers and percentages. If you are hesitant about sharing exact figures, you can say, “increased revenue 87% in two years”. Adding numbers adds to your credibility and gives the reader a glimpse of what you have done.
☑️ Get a recommendation. A recommendation or two on your profile gives you more credibility. What good do thousands of connections do for you if you don’t have one recommendation? It might feel awkward, but once you’ve asked, it’s done and guess what? You’ll most likely get that recommendation!
☑️ Create an endorsements section. Complete the skills and endorsements section and pin the top 3 that related to your job hunt. Again, these are key with algorithms and recruiter searches as well.
Your job has just begun. Now that it’s complete, start engaging. Don’t do all that work and not connect with colleagues, recruiters, industry professionals, etc. The more you use LinkedIn, the more it rewards you by showing your profile in recruiter searches. Reach out, plan on getting on LinkedIn 10-15 minutes every other day and watch it go to work for you.