Like it or not, LinkedIn is a powerful tool in your career. That being said there are some definite ways you can boost your LinkedIn profile that you should be aware of. Read on to learn about the various components and tips you can incorporate in to your own LinkedIn profile that will level-up your own profile to help in your job-search, with networking and building your online portfolio.
1. A Professional Photo
This may seems obvious to most but I can’t tell you how often I see LinkedIn profiles without photos or worse, of people who have clearly cropped a photo from a night out. Your photo is a part of the first impression people have of you. I personally want to convey a warm, friendly and professional vibe. The vibe you want to give off may vary by industry but a friendly Professional first impression is always a good thing!
Again, it may be evident, but the key here is to list the location where you want to work. Recruiters when searching will look for people in geo-targeted areas. If you’re planning to make a move to a new location, list that location so you can more easily be found through search.
You can get creative with your headline based on where you are in your career. If you’re in the process of job hunting crafting a unique headline can help you stand out and target the job or industry you’re interested in. Get inspiration by looking at others’ headlines on LinkedIn.
4. Summary Statement
A summary statement is essentially your elevator pitch that gives people an insight in to who you are, what are your motivators, passions, strengths and values. It’s incredibly powerful to have and it’s one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile that is often overlooked or quickly thrown together. At a glance, you’ll notice that only the first few lines of text show up off the bat for the summary statement. You can expand the text to see more, but this means that those first few sentences are crucial in order to grab the attention of [readers] potential employers!
The summary statement is crucial for those lacking in experience or for people who want to make a career shift. This is where you’ll convey your transferrable skills, accomplishments and true career interests.
By including multimedia, you are helping yourself standout. It also allows you to present work you’ve done that you’re proud of. Videos, images, decks etc. will encourages viewers to engage with your profile which in turn allow them to get a better idea of who you are, the kind of work you produce and how creative you are. It really can help convey a lot of different messages depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
6. Current Job
Do not leave this blank, this one is huge! Most recruiters use the current title search feature to find relevant candidates. Without using it, they would see search results for every single person that has ever held that title that matches all of the other criteria they’re searching for. You should still list a current job even if you are unemployed. What you’ll do is put “Seeking New Opportunity” or “In Transition” in the company name field. If you’re a student who is job hunting before graduation you could put something along the lines of “Full Time Student/Graphic Designer in Training”.
Adding your education has a few different benefits. For starters, as it’s true for some of the other sections above, including your education will make you more easily searchable. “Users who list their education appear in searches up to 17 times more often than those who don’t.” (Blair Decembrele, Time). Including your education can help you expand your network by connecting with past peers and professors. You can also use it as a way to connect with other alums in your industry. Education also demonstrates your academic level and any achievements.
8. Licenses & Certificates
If you have licenses and certificates be sure to include them in your profile! They can be powerful to list on your LinkedIn profile especially considering your industry. A license or certificate can assert yourself as an expert in your industry and showcase your knowledge and skills.
9. Volunteer experience
Adding volunteer experience is incredibly valuable. Recruiters see the value in volunteer experience and look for candidates that possess this experience. Not as many LinkedIn members include volunteer experience in comparison to those that have it. So you’ll set yourself apart by including it. Deloitte did a survey that targeted people who have the ability to make or influence hiring decisions. The survey found that, “82 percent of the respondents said they are more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience,” (Deloitte). Be sure to add any volunteer experience to make yourself standout!
Make sure your skills section has skills that are relevant to jobs you’re applying for. “Our algorithm leverages skills to help recruiters find members that might be a good fit for open roles, so this is an easy way to make sure the right people are finding you on LinkedIn.” (Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn). You have the option to add up to 50 skills. Don’t think you need to add that many, in fact, adding less skills is likely the best route. Having too many skills mean your endorsements could be spread out, meaning less endorsements per skill. Also, if your connections gravitate towards certain lesser skills, this could impact what skills your profile is optimized towards. (Yes, everyone knows how to use Microsoft Office!)
Accomplishments are HUGE! Companies are looking to see what value you can provide them . How do you demonstrate that to them? By clearly stating the accomplishments in your career.
This is yet another way you showcase work that you’re proud of. Treat this like an extension of your portfolio or website.
There’s high demand for people who speak more than one language. Be sure to note all the languages you speak.
LinkedIn is SEO rich, meaning you can use keywords to search across the platform. So think about it, people will use these relevant keywords to search LinkedIn for people who match what their looking for. This may translate to relevant locations, background, skills, experience, and more! Try to put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager in the industry you’re applying to. What kinds of keywords would they use to identify candidates? Scanning job descriptions and other LinkedIn users who are in the position you’re interested in is helpful to pull keywords. Use keywords everywhere in your profile, but especially be sure to include them in your Headline, Summary and Experience sections.
LinkedIn is an extremely useful professional tool. It could be the key to landing your next job, help you network and act as an online professional portfolio. It can feel daunting updating it, so I try to regularly make small updates over time so I stay on top of it. You can also select sections you’d like to focus on and once a week make an update to a section of your profile. I’ve always found breaking up the work into smaller tasks has always been helpful.
What are some of your tips for boosting your LinkedIn profile? I’d love to read about them in a comment below!