Having a LinkedIn profile is now an essential requirement if you wish to succeed in the professional world, and is even more invaluable when it comes to your career development. Having a great LinkedIn Profile will improve your visibility to recruiters and potential employers, and will strengthen your reputation within your chosen professional field. You certainly shouldn’t be leaving university without one. And if you don’t have one now and you’re currently looking for a job, make sure setting up a LinkedIn profile is the next thing you do after reading this!
Complete your profile
It’s in your best interest to fully complete your profile. Include past and current work history, a summary, skills you’ve learned- tell it all. LinkedIn will show you what you should fill out to get to 100% and let you know how strong your profile is.
Don’t share your profile changes
If you haven’t selected the feature that doesn’t post the changes you’re making to your LinkedIn profile, all your connections will see the amends. Here’s how to fix it: navigate to ‘privacy & settings’, click on ‘turn on/off your activity broadcasts’ in the ‘privacy controls’ section and un-tick the box.
Decide early on what your strengths are, and then use them in your profile in as many sections as you can. If your top skill is sales, describe how you have met your targets in your summary as well as in the experience descriptions. Don’t be afraid to reinforce those key skills in different sections of your profile. This will help the right audience find you.
Use the endorsement section wisely
Proactively ask your connections to endorse you only for your top skills. Decide what those 5 or 6 skills are, and actively delete or reject the endorsements that don’t match your choices. Having the highest number of endorsements for key skills will impress those who are looking at your profile.
Build credibility with recommendations
You should aim for at least three, the number of recommendations that LinkedIn needs to tell you that your profile is complete. A recommendation for each position will go a long way to improve your credibility, even better if they are from your manager at the time.
Know the limit
The character limit that is. Make sure that you use every character available for each section. You can’t afford to leave any space unused, as keywords associated to your skills are the key to being found in LinkedIn. The more you use them, the higher the chances are of being found.
Don’t include every detail of every job you’ve had. You can certainly leave off the jobs that you had early in your career if they don’t offer any insights into who you are now.
Customise your public profile URL
By customising your public profile URL, you will make your profile look more professional, and it will be easier to share. Instead of using the URL that LinkedIn will have assigned to you, your new URL will look far more professional. You can customize your URL, found under your profile image, by clicking on the edit icon next to it.
A picture tells a thousand words
Any picture is better than no picture at all. On the other hand, a little bit of effort will really go a long way to make sure that your profile looks great and that you get noticed. Your picture needs to be of the highest quality, with great lighting and razor-sharp resolution. Avoid pictures taken on holiday, or on nights out. Even more of a no-no are pictures badly cropped, or where you can hardly see your face because they were taken from a distance, or where you’re wearing sunglasses.
Don’t just use words
Did you know that LinkedIn also owns Slideshare? It allows images, videos and documents to be used in the Summary, Education, and Experience sections of your LinkedIn profile. Use this opportunity to showcase your work in different ways, not just by using words. You can embed a variety of file formats, including Slideshare presentations, pictures from Twitter and videos from YouTube (find out how here, and what file formats are allowed here).
Personalise your website links
These are the links that are part of your ‘contact info’ and can be accessed in the ‘edit your profile section’. Instead of using LinkedIn’s default setting of ‘personal website’ or ‘company website’, make the anchor text more visually appealing and attention-grabbing to people who view your profile by personalising the text. If you are adding your company’s website URL address, you might want to change the default text to your company or employer’s name. In the same way, if you are adding the URL of your personal blog, change the text to something that is personal to you. Your profile can display up to three website links, and they can all be customized by clicking the pencil icon next to the links.
Showcase your achievements
LinkedIn gives you the option to add your languages, publications, awards, patents and certifications to your profile. Are you certified in a particular software? Have you won an award for your work? This is where to add these details. If you are currently unemployed, add any volunteering you might be doing in this section too, because it shows that, while you may be out of work, you are still keeping active.
Your LinkedIn profile is part of your online personal persona so you have to get it right. When you apply for a job with Enterprise, your online social networks will be checked too so these tips will ensure you have a LinkedIn profile to be proud of.