The perfect, proactive LinkedIn profile: up your game in an hour
Rae Britton, Octopus Personnel Marketing Manager, explains how to invest an hour today to improve your LinkedIn profile to work harder for you – establishing yourself as a full-fledged industry professional, maximising engagement, maintaining your personal brand or seeking that dream role.
Is #lockdown2020 the time to update your LinkedIn profile? Did you know that LinkedIn, the professional social networking platform, has actually been around longer than Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram? It hosts more than 600 million professional profiles, offering an almost unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities.
Wherever you are in your LinkedIn profile journey, follow my 13 point plan to get you noticed, help you craft a stunning summary that illustrates your accomplishments, projects and skills and make your profile seriously shine.
Quick note, before you get started, turn off the update my network feature until you are completely happy with the final product. That way you can edit discreetly to your hearts content!
1. Show a complete Linked-up LinkedIn picture
Simply put, there more of your profile you complete the better! You need to fill out every single section of your LinkedIn profile to make sure you’re noticed and can be found by the right people for the right reasons. LinkedIn actually measures how complete your profile is as you are working on it and makes suggestions on how to make it stronger – use them!
2. Get a Custom URL
A custom URL looks much more professional and it easier to find and include on your CV – and it’s simple to do! On the Edit Profile screen, at the bottom of the grey window that shows your basic information, you’ll see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL, and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL to quickly and easily guide employers directly through to your LinkedIn profile.
3. Pick the perfect photo
Your profile picture is your calling card on LinkedIn – it’s how people are introduced to you and (visual beings that we are) it governs possible employers’ impressions from the start so invest in your profile picture. It’s your first chance to communicate that you are friendly, likable, and trustworthy — attributes that are crucial to getting prospects to engage with you. This is the first step to building your personal brand on your LinkedIn profile and making yourself stand out from other candidates.
Here are some quick guidelines to follow:
- Make sure the picture is recent and looks like you
- The ideal size is 400 x 400 pixels (but you can use anything up to 8MB)
- Your face should take up around 60% of your profile and you should be the only person in the picture (long-distance shots don’t stand out)
- Avoid selfies – two minutes with someone else taking the picture makes all the difference
- Use soft, natural light
- Wear what you would like to wear to work, and smile with your eyes
- Avoid distracting backgrounds
- Use filters wisely – you want your image to look polished and sharp, so stick to spotlight or classic filters.
4. What makes you unique? Your headline!
Your headline doesn’t have to be your job title and company—in fact, especially if you’re looking for jobs, it shouldn’t be. Instead, use that space to succinctly showcase your speciality, value proposition, or your “so what?” The more specific you can be about what sets you apart from the competition, the better.
5. Target your dream job
Download the job descriptions for your ideal role. Use a tool such as Wordle to distill out the key phrases or words that recruiters and employers will be searching for and make sure they are sprinkled throughout your summary and experience. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is dressed for the job you want!
6. Create a super summary
A summary is so important because it is your chance to tell your own story; it should never just be a list of skills or the job titles you’ve had. This is your most personal piece of content marketing, your chance to speak directly to the reader – and it’s worth the effort. Try to bring to life why your skills matter – and the difference they can make to the people you work with. Invest some serious time in drafting and redrafting your summary – and seek comment from others.
Approximately 3-5 paragraphs long, your summary should be conversational but professional, walking the reader through what makes you passionate about you work, your key skills, unique qualifications and a summary of the various industries you’ve worked within over the years. Avoid buzzwords like the plague, be warm and welcoming and write in the first person.
7. Power up your summary with multimedia
We all know that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, especially when it comes to showcasing your work. LinkedIn lets you add photos, videos, and slideshow presentations to your profile summary, and this is such a powerful tool. Instead of just talking about your work, you can show examples and let the work speak for itself! Or show yourself in action. Or share a presentation. Click ‘Edit profile,’ scroll down to your summary, then click on the box symbol, then ‘add file.’ You’ll be glad you did!
8. Expand on your experience
Your LinkedIn profile is the place to highlight your best accomplishments, not to simply create a list of jobs. Flesh out your experience section with bullet points that describe what you did, how well you did it, and who it impacted. Use the first person. Use numbers to show impact, “I have helped more than 500 business people—from entry level to CEO—understand how to effectively use LinkedIn.”
9. Add Projects, Volunteer Experiences, or Languages
Do you speak French, Spanish or Mandarin? Have a first aid or project management certification? Volunteer for a homeless shelter each weekend? A great way to showcase what makes you unique in terms of skills and experiences is to add these “additional” profile features (listed on the left when you’re editing your profile). They really make you stand out from the crowd and help your LinkedIn profile to speak about who you are!
10. Get recommended
Feedback is so powerful and lovely to receive, but you can make it work harder for you! When someone says, “You did a great job on that project!” ask them to take a snapshot of that success by writing a recommendation on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to specify what you’d like the recommender to focus on so you don’t end up with a generic, “Rae was great to work with.” “Rae’s contributions on the project enabled us to increase customer engagement by 15% over our original plan” will really showcase your strengths and help future employers envision how your skills could benefit them. Be strategic about your recommendations – ask a wide range of different people and ask them to focus on different skills or experiences. You can review each recommendation once it’s made, deciding whether to add it or hide it. Make sure each one address a different skill and really highlights your impact.
11. Manage your skills
You need to manage your endorsements and keep your skills updated. Whether you change career, develop a new skill or take on new responsibilities, regular maintenance of your LinkedIn profile means that the skills and experiences you really want to be known will be clearly displayed so when connections land on your page, they’ll only see the most relevant skills.
12. Make Sure People Can Find You
The contact information section of your LinkedIn profile is vital! Make sure it holds your correct, up-to-date information, including your email address (or blog, or Twitter handle, or anywhere else you’d like to be found).
13. Stay engaged!
Here are my top tips for maintaining a vibrant LinkedIn profile which works to attract the right people:
- Show your enthusiasm! Use your status line to announce projects, events or anything which you’re doing related to your field
- Update your status weekly – Share interesting articles or news, or an article you wrote. Well-expressed comments also enable you to share a broader range of content, whether you agree with the article or found it’s counterpoint interesting. Your comment expressing that viewpoint starts to establish your opinion and thought-leadership and encourages your connections to engage.
- Publish on LinkedIn – Share your perspective about what’s going on in your field, weigh in on a recent industry development, or show off your skills as a writer. If you have a WordPress blog, consider using a plugin such as WP LinkedIn Auto Publish to automatically publish on LinkedIn
- Join and participate in groups related to your field of expertise. They are ongoing online networking events, providing instant connections to key people and enable you to be part of relevant discussions and connect with the leaders in your industry
- Add to your connections, but only people you know! A good guide is to have 50 or more connections
- Keep reviewing your profile monthly. Step back, take a look at your profile, and see how it looks to an outside person. Is it enticing—or overwhelming? Edit accordingly
- Get the app on your phone! You can easily like, comment or share posts with a quick tap. Your notifications and messenger will help you to be more responsive to developments in your LinkedIn communities.
If you are looking for that dream role…
At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role. Years of industry expertise, outstanding relationships with our clients and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role. You can sign up here or call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.