dear sam: I never took LinkedIn seriously until a friend of mine was contacted by a recruiter, who saw his profile on LinkedIn, and invited to an interview for a well-known company. My profile has all the bases filled in, but it still doesn’t get much attention. What can I do to stand out? I want it to feel like I really know what I’m doing. -Cody
Dear Cody: The fact that you have a LinkedIn profile is a great first step! But having a bad profile could potentially be worse than having none at all. You want your profile to reinforce your personal brand and give credibility to your application. If your profile is stripped down or outdated, you risk being perceived as someone lacking in attention to detail or unaware of today’s best practices. The more you invest in LinkedIn, the more you will profit from it. Here are 4 simple tips to improve the appearance and effectiveness of your profile:
1. Optimize your profile with keywords
When recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn, they’re usually looking for profiles with keywords that match their job postings. Incorporating the most searched keywords in your industry into your profile can be the difference between being found and remaining invisible. Before updating your profile, do some research, such as reviewing industry leader profiles and reading job postings, to find out which keywords have the most impact in your particular market. . Feature these keywords in your profile, including your summary, title, and skills sections.
2. Use your skills section strategically
LinkedIn allows users to add up to 50 skills to their profiles to showcase unique qualifiers. A user’s first-degree connections may choose to endorse these skills, thereby validating and adding credibility to a user’s assertions. This section is valuable real estate and should not be wasted on skills that are common and carry little weight. Choose to highlight industry-specific and impactful skills, such as cloud and distributed computing, statistical analysis, and data mining skills. A profile with strong skills and many endorsements is more likely to be discovered by recruiters.
3. Reinforce your brand with a background photo
You can easily add more personality to your profile by adding a visually appealing background image. Choose an image that reinforces your brand (like something with numbers or graphics for the financial industry, or something with a computer and keyboard for the digital marketing industry). This simple change immediately refreshes the look of your profile.
4. Customize your LinkedIn profile URL
When you first set up your profile, LinkedIn assigns you a URL containing a string of letters, numbers, and backslashes. If you ever plan to share your profile link (on your resume or in your email signature, for example), it’s essential that you customize that URL to something like: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. To do this, click “View Profile” under “Me” in the top menu, and select “Edit Public Profile and URL” in the top right of your screen. You can then customize your URL to one that reflects your personal brand.
LinkedIn can be an invaluable resource for job seekers and career professionals, but it takes time and culture. Your profile should be a direct reflection of the brand you’re trying to represent, and it should help attract and impress potential recruiters (as well as potential clients, business partners, colleagues, etc.). By only filling in the basics of each section and not taking the time to strategically create a compelling, dynamic, and keyword-rich profile, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to market yourself as an industry leader. LinkedIn has a range of articles and videos with additional tips on how to build an impressive profile, or check out this episode of Dear Sam Live for more information. Good luck, Cody!
Samantha Nolan is a certified professional resume writer and owner of Nolan Branding, a full-service resume writing company. Have a resume or job search question for Dear Sam? Contact Samantha at [email protected] To learn more about Sam’s resume writing services, visit www.nolanbranding.com or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-952-3928. Find us on Facebook, live Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. EDT, for an in-depth discussion on this week’s Dear Sam topic!