When searching for a job you need to put your best foot forward. Creating a great LinkedIn profile will help you stand out from the pack and get employers to notice you. Follow these ten tips to take your LinkedIn to the next level.
1. Have A Professional Profile Picture
Your profile picture is the first visual that people will see when they look you up on LinkedIn, so it’s important it represents who you are as a professional, or where you want to be. A classic student profile will have graduation photos as their profile image but to stand out have a friend take headshots of you in professional clothes. Take a bunch of photos and pick the one you think represents you best to put on your profile.
2. Personalize Your Cover Photo
In the same vein as your profile photo, you need a professional background image on your page. Your background image doesn’t need to be a picture of yourself but it should represent a part of you. Including a skyline of the city you live in or a picture of an item that relates to your career will help make your profile more individual.
3. Keep Your Headline Short And Sweet
You only have 120 characters for your headline so it’s important to get to the point and explain who you are. For most people, they leave the headline as the default set by LinkedIn, which will be your current job title and employer. Mix this up and make yourself stand out from the crowd by posting where you want to be. Instead of saying Undergraduate Student at Your University say Aspiring Fashion Designer with an academic background in the field and a passion for patterns. Ideally, you want to show what your area of interest is, what industry you’re in and what makes you unique. These small details make a lasting impression with employers.
4. Fill Out Your Summary
Your summary is not a roundup of all your previous job experience, you’ve already filled that out in the sections below. Instead, your summary should read like a cover letter allowing employers to get a better idea of your personality as well as your skills. Stay away from academic writing style here and write this section in your own voice, or how you would actually talk in a work environment. Although you have a lot of space to work with don’t feel like you have to fill it all. Keep your points simple and your sentences short.
5. Edit Your URL
This is a simple step that goes a long way to directing people towards your LinkedIn profile. In the top corner of your profile page, you have the option to change your URL from the generic one given to you when you sign up. Use this tool so that when you print off a resume or send your LinkedIn URL to someone else it is identifiable. This little step makes your entire profile look more put together.
6. Add Workplace Experience – and explain why it’s relevant.
When you’re just starting out and don’t have a ton of work experience it can be hard to decide what to put down under experience. The best way to decide is to see if you can explain why working in that job will prepare you for future work. For example, putting in your experience waitressing can show that you work well as part of a team and interacting directly with customers. As long as you can explain why you experience has prepared you for your future career feel free to keep it in.
7. Fill Out The Volunteering Section
This section of your LinkedIn is a great way to show some of your interests and values that make you a unique applicant. Employers are looking for people with a similar set of values to them and explaining some of your interests and passions outside of the workplace is a great way to tell employers more about yourself.
8. Share Articles Relevant To Your Field
Take advantage of the LinkedIn home feed to find and share articles that apply to your field. Even better than sharing these articles is writing one yourself. You might not go viral from one of these posts but if you can get people in your industry reading it then you’re directing more people to your profile and increasing your opportunities to connect.
9. Spell Check Your Page
Just like on a typical resume or cover letter any spelling or grammar issues will have employers looking away from your profile. Proofread your LinkedIn profile and download helpful apps like Grammarly that automatically check your writing to be sure you don’t miss any errors.
10. Use Your LinkedIn Regularly
It’s easy to set up a profile and just leave it but without maintaining your profile it’s easy to miss new connections and to fall behind in your information. Three years after you graduate your profile should still say you’re a student, and updating your job descriptions with your latest projects helps you keep track of what new skills you are developing. LinkedIn isn’t a social network that you can just leave unattended so be sure to check in regularly and stay up to date.