Is your LinkedIn profile complete? LinkedIn is a great way to connect with potential employers. LinkedIn has over 760 million professional members and over 303 million are active users looking for connections. Of those LinkedIn users who are engaging with the platform monthly, 40% access it on a daily basis. LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook where you can spend hours of time. It is used sparingly, so you only have to invest a few minutes to make an impact. Users only spend about 17 minutes per month on LinkedIn.
You can use LinkedIn to build an online presence as well as a professional identity. Anyone who wants to extend their reach and connect with potential employers should be using LinkedIn to do it. Let’s get started with your LinkedIn Profile.
Whether you currently have a profile or are just setting one up, there are few things you need to know regarding accounts available and ways to improve your profile.
Types of Accounts
On LinkedIn, you are a person, first and foremost. When you signup, you create a free personal account and profile, which includes background and professional information relevant to your potential employers.
LinkedIn offers two types of accounts, free and paid. The main difference between the two is that the paid account does not limit the number or frequency of your actions, as the free account does. With a paid account, you can join more groups, send more messages (InMail) and introductions, view more profile information, see everyone who has viewed your profile, and check references, among other things. Most people begin with a free account and only upgrade if the need arises. So don’t get out your credit card till you need a paid account. Use the free one until you outgrow it.
Whether you have a free or paid account, your profile is the foundation you build on. Let’s go over the parts of a profile so that you can have your information and details ready to add to each section. It’s important to include as much information as possible. Remember, you want people to read your profile and want to connect with you.
Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn has set up each personal profile to include information that is similar to a resume. You can include links, images, videos, slide shows, and more. Most of these sections can be repositioned to your liking; however, the headshot is always the first section.
Check out these tips to have a stellar LinkedIn Profile:
You’ll need a professional-looking profile photo. You should stick to the professional images in order to get the best results. But don’t worry; you don’t have to spend a lot of money on this. Just get someone to take a high-resolution, high-quality headshot or torso shot.
Tip: You should be looking at the camera and your head should fill at least 60 percent of the frame.
Look at various profiles. A headline area appears under each member’s name. In this area, write a headline that identifies and describes you. This helps others to find you, even if they don’t know you on a personal level yet.
Tip: Don’t get too long-winded here. Say as much as you can but do it succinctly.
This area should include a well-written summary of your experience, education, and knowledge.
Tip: Consider using bullet points for easy readability. Use power words to grab attention and include keywords. Keep it professional. Your authority, credibility, and reputation are at stake. Make yourself look good, but be honest.
Here, enter in each job you’ve had.
Tip: List each job separately even if you worked for the same company, but did different things or had different supervisors. This part is important because if you worked on a specific project and you want a reference, it’s a good idea to list them separately. This allows the people you worked with to link their references to that particular project or task.
Skills & Endorsements
In this area, check off everything you have experience with including software programs and more. Your connections can then endorse anything that you’ve said you can do in order to validate your experience.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask previous employers or coworkers for endorsements. You will be surprised by the people who will be happy to help you by endorsing you and your work. Every endorsement gives you increased credibility.
This area is where people can recommend you. LinkedIn provides an easy way to request recommendations from people you’ve worked with and are connected to. A recommendation carries more weight than an endorsement.
Tip: Send personalized, individual requests for the best results. Mass messages tend to be frowned upon by those who receive them and are less likely to take the action you’d prefer. Remind them of what project you worked on or any special accomplishments or details you want them to focus on in their recommendation.
This is where you should include any education you’ve received. Even if you didn’t finish your course of study, include it so that you can connect with fellow alumni.
Tip: If you received some type of recognition or excelled at something, include the specifics.
Any groups you join will show up in this section. You don’t have to do anything but join.
Tip: Try to keep the first 8 to 10 groups related to your career goals.
You’ll notice that under Summary and some other areas, you’ll be allowed to add a document, photo, link, video, or presentation.
Tip: This is a great way to introduce yourself and help viewers get to know you. Remember a photo speaks a thousand words. Multiply that for video. These are the extra things that many don’t bother doing. Adding any or all of these items will make you stand out.
If you’ve written any books or published works, you can list and link to them in this area.
Tip: This is a wonderful way to show your professionalism.
LinkedIn constantly improves the profile area. Whenever there is a change, take note of it and make use of the improved or added functionality. The more areas you complete in your LinkedIn profile, the more likely you are to make meaningful connections. The goal of your profile is to make people like, know, and trust you so they will want to connect. This is very important when searching for a job or new career.
Time to Update Your LinkedIn Profile
So now it is your turn. Time to go and start completing or updating your profile. Short on time? Try one or two areas each day. In a week or two, you will have a completed professional LinkedIn profile. Then you are ready to start connecting with those potential employers.
Do You Need Career Search Help?
If you need help updating your resume, practicing for an interview, or organizing your job search information during these challenging times, consider reaching out to Rachel Schneider at Career Find to assist you.