With 95 percent of hiring personnel using LinkedIn to actively search for and contact prospective employees, setting up and maintaining an effective LinkedIn profile is not optional; it’s mandatory.
If you want to stand out, whether you’re searching for a job, leads, or just networking for a rainy day, a professional, eye-catching LinkedIn profile is a superb idea to ensure you can be discovered by the right people at the right time.
Thankfully, having a good profile isn’t rocket science. It just takes a little bit of work and some diligence.
Use a good photo and background image
Right off the bat, anyone who visits your profile will look at your visuals. Your background image – which appears at the header on top of your profile page, behind your profile photo – is a chance to share a side of your personality or interests. If you like to ski or hike, for instance, use an appropriate landscape photo to show those hobbies. Avoid possible copyright issues by taking the photo yourself.
Your profile picture is even more essential, as hiring personnel are more likely to read through your experience and qualifications if you have one. You should be well dressed, and the photo should show your head and shoulders. Be sure to smile; hiring personnel want happy people on their team.
Write a good headline
Instead of using the default headline – your current job title – stand out with a creative description. A good approach is to use nouns that describe your profession and where you want to go in your career. For instance, instead of using the default “Quality control analyst,” go with, “Detail-oriented quality specialist.”
Drop key phrases in your summary
Unlike your resume, your summary should say something about your personality. If you’re on the lookout for a web design job, say, “I am a collaborative, unique thinker who enjoys bringing the web to life.”
Most importantly, add a section at the end of your summary called ‘Expertise’ where you insert keywords specific to your industry. These are words found in job descriptions and on the profiles of candidates like you.
List transferrable skills
The experience section, where you’ll list all the jobs and volunteer experiences you’ve had, should be close to the Work History section found on a traditional resume.
You should go into greater detail on each job than you would on your resume, however. You should also include jobs outside your field. Describe the skills you honed, those positions, and how they can transfer to the job you want.
It’s great to describe what your best professional skills are, but hard numbers often say more than just words. Demonstrate to organizations how your work made an impression. Maybe you surpassed a sales goal, or increased your company’s social media following.
You can also add links to work samples. Include a description of each sample and any part you played in creating each project.
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