LinkedIn is the home of your personal brand online, and potential employers are paying attention. In fact, many recruiters believe LinkedIn is the most effective tool in vetting potential candidates. Whether you’re using it to attract recruiters and potential employers, to stay in touch with former colleagues, or to build your professional network online, LinkedIn is a valuable resource that you’ll use throughout your career. Follow these five tips to build an effective LinkedIn profile that will stand out from the pack.
1 Use a professional profile picture
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good headshot on your LinkedIn profile. It’s a great way to personalise your profile and helps new contacts recognise you. But save the glamour shots for Facebook or Instagram. When choosing a photo, opt for a professional, high-quality headshot that would look at home on a company’s ‘About Us’ page on their website.
2 Choose your headline
If you don’t select your own headline, LinkedIn will automatically use your current job title. A custom headline will stand out and make your profile visible to prospective customers, clients, or recruiters looking for someone with your special skills on LinkedIn. Use it to clearly state what you do and the industry you work in. For example, ‘rising accounting and aspiring financial advisor with a strong client focus’ might work for you. But keep it real and stay away from made-up job titles.
3 Use your summary
Your summary section is an overview of your career to date and your first opportunity make an impression. In saying that, keep the bulk of the detail for the ‘experience’ section of your profile. Use your summary to introduce yourself to your network, touching on your skills, career highlights, goals, and motivations. Tell people what you’re passionate about, what makes you tick and what gets you up in the morning. While it can be tempting to include everything you know here, keep it short and sweet – no longer than a few sentences.
4 Highlight your experience
Just like your resume, your experience should provide a complete overview of your career to date. For each position you’ve held, include the organisation and its location, your role, how long you worked there, and a description of what the role entailed. Make sure you highlight any notable achievements or projects you’ve worked on. Recruiters don’t need to read another job description, they need to see how you’ve excelled in each of your roles.
5 Ask for recommendations
Don’t be afraid to ask previous employers, colleagues, internship supervisors, university lecturers, and any other relevant professional contacts you have to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Letting other respected industry professionals sing your praises will be particularly impressive to recruiters when you’re looking for a job. Think of your LinkedIn profile like an extended CV. It should provide details of your professional experience, but in a way that gives the reader a better sense of your personality and career ambitions.