Your LinkedIn profile is so much more than just a glorified resume. Or, at least, it can and should be
So you’ve written your cover letters, built your references, cleaned up your social media profiles and now we can help you craft the ideal LinkedIn profile! Now let’s take all of these resources and get you noticed on the job market. Your paper resume is important, but you can really bring your career to life if you leverage all of the profile features of LinkedIn. The website keeps a good pulse on your “Profile Strength,” but we have 10 important points to ensure you don’t forget a thing:
1. Clear Profile Photo
The first thing a viewer should see is your smiling face worthy of a business card. LinkedIn profiles with colour profile photos that clearly display your face receive much higher engagement, and someone searching your name after meeting you in person will have an easier time identifying your profile.
2. Full Name, Plain and Simple
Don’t add initials, acronyms or other titles to your name field. If you have a maiden name users might search, include that…but keep it simple.
3. Keyword-Heavy Headline
Instead of just including your current job title, include hashmarks (|) to creatively explain core responsibilities or industry associations (ex. Social Media Marketing | Digital Strategy | Fortune 500 Experience).
4. Custom Vanity URL
By default your LinkedIn Vanity URL is typically your first and last name followed by a string of alphanumeric characters. Edit this to simply be your first/last name, or something that can be easily remembered, added to a business card or email signature.
5. Posts Showcasing Your Latest Activity
When you write a blog piece on the LinkedIn Pulse platform, your most recent content will be featured in the Posts section of your profile. Showcase your professional perspectives, workplace achievements and writing style.
6. Summary and Experience with Added Media
While these sections are more traditional, your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have to read like a resume. Use these fields to tell your story. While your Summary could be likened to a written 30-second elevator pitch, add some media that brings it to life with a link to the website, project or video you’re proud of producing. Focus on how you added value in each of your past roles, and showcase the more colourful experiences that will pop off the page.
7. Meaningful Recommendations
Offer recommendations to those you’ve worked with in the past without being asked, and ask for a recommendation in kind. When one is submitted on your behalf, you can ask for changes and choose which to show. LinkedIn endorsements have the added benefit of enabling a user to click through to learn more about just who it is recommending you and their credentials.
8. Your Top 10 Skills
A visual representation of your abilities, these crowd sourced skills are acknowledgements from your connections that you’re good at what you do. You can prioritize the “Top 10” you wish to highlight that you bring to the table.
9. Groups and Followings Worth Sharing
Any alumni groups, community organizations or industry groups you’re a part of should absolutely be followed. Someone looking through your profile might find a connection to you, or notice a shared interest that can spark conversation. Following influencers, news sources and companies you care about can also inform a viewer about what matters to you, deepening a potential connection.
10. Additional Information Not to Forget!
Last but not least, your education history, honours and awards, volunteering and languages are some of the last highlights you’re able to add to the tail of your profile as a final fingerprint differentiating you from other candidates. Any of these categories could be a potential source of connection to an employer or recruiter, so don’t neglect them.