Not sure it’s worth spending time on your LinkedIn Profile? LinkedIn operates the world’s largest online professional network with more than 250 million members in more than 200 countries. More than two new professionals join every second. If you’re invested in your career, you need to be on LinkedIn. It’s that simple.
Here are ten ways to perfect your profile and impress recruiters and hiring managers:
1.) GET CURRENT. Take a fresh look at your profile. Ask yourself, “Does this tell a compelling story about what I want to do professionally?” Maybe that paragraph about your teen years as a camp counselor doesn’t really lend credibility if you’re positioning yourself as a Financial Analyst job candidate. Feature experiences that are most relevant for the future positions you desire and highlight the skills that prove you’re up to the challenge.
2.) QUANTIFY. QUANTIFY. QUANTIFY. You know how résumés featuring quantifiable results are more powerful that those with general statements? The same principle applies to your LinkedIn Profile. Recruiters and hiring managers want to see results (e.g. ranked number one in sales three years running, increased market share by twelve percent, wrote ten whitepapers which generated 5,000 website downloads). Use numbers to back up your claims and tell the story of your achievements.
3.) BECOME A GROUPIE. LinkedIn Groups help professionals in the same industry or with similar interests share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and keep up with industry trends. Use the ‘Search’ feature or Recommended’ list to find Groups you’re interested in joining. Or, create a new Group based on the topic/industry you’re passionate about. Don’t overdo it just to bulk up your profile. Join only those groups that add real value and help advance your career goals.
4.) FOLLOW INFLUENCERS. Search LinkedIn for professionals you specifically admire and ‘follow’ them. Not only will you benefit from their personal updates and possibly make new business contacts, recruiters and hiring managers can see the type of people you look up to (e.g. Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Arianna Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg). Again, be genuine with your admiration—and consider focusing on influencers in the professions/industries you aspire to.
5.) FOLLOW COMPANIES. The same best practices apply to ‘following’ companies on LinkedIn. Make a list of companies you love (and would welcome in your news feed) and ‘follow’ them. Recruiters and hiring managers can learn a lot about your interests by which companies you admire (e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Birchbox, Uber).
6.) PAY IT FORWARD. LinkedIn allows you to ‘endorse’ other users’ skills— basically giving them your stamp of approval. Good karma never hurts, so spend some time ‘endorsing’ other people’s skills. Be genuine. Only ‘endorse’ skills you know or believe that person possesses. Many professionals will return the favor and ‘endorse’ your skills.
7.) EMBRACE YOUR INNER BOOKWORM. Reading online articles or books and sharing them on LinkedIn (preferably with thoughtful commentary) enhances your profile and news feed. Plus, it’s a great way to establish credibility as a subject matter expert and demonstrate your commitment to learning.
8.) ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS. Have you asked your ‘personal board of directors’ to ‘recommend’ you on LinkedIn? People who are close to you and can vouch for your work ethic and skills can use the ‘recommend’ feature to paint a compelling picture of who are and what you have to offer. Encourage them to mention particular skills that support your dream profession.
9.) SMILE. Is it time to update your picture from twenty years ago? Do you have a professionally-taken headshot you can use instead? Do you look friendly and mature? Is the image high-quality and crisp? If you don’t have a professional headshot handy, consider asking a friend to take a new picture with a clean background. Remember, a picture tells a thousand words!
10.) FIND FRESH EYES. Ask a friend or colleague to review your LinkedIn Profile and provide feedback. What impression do they get after reading it? If they were a hiring manager for the type of position you’re seeking, would they pursue you as a candidate? Getting an outsider’s perspective goes a long way.