Just like any other kind of social networking, LinkedIn can definitely be awkward and uncomfortable. Especially if you lack confident socialization skills- which most of us do! It’s not any easier selling yourself in person so why would it be any easier to do so on the Internet? It can be just as intimidating mingling at a social networking event versus reaching out to someone on LinkedIn and having him or her view your profile.
We find that it’s actually harder because you can at least redeem yourself in person if you suddenly get diarrhea of the mouth. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t go for LinkedIn. If there are any mistakes on your profile, sadly, that will be all a recruiter remembers- not your 10+ years of experience. Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds viewing a profile. So it’s important to make those 6 seconds count!
You don’t ever want to give a recruiter a reason to move on to another potential candidate. That means your profile has to give them everything they’re looking for: a catchy headline, a professional profile picture, a descriptive summary, detailed experience, and notable skills and education.
The most important part of any LinkedIn profile is the headline. It’s what people will see when you appear in their search results so it’s important to make sure your headline uses keywords that describe you and your profession. You want to stand out to people while remaining creative and professional.
The first impression people will have of you will be based on your profile picture. So make sure it’s a professional, clean, and clear image- and whatever you do make sure you have an image! We can’t stress that enough. Profiles with an image get 14 times more views than those without. You wouldn’t show up to a networking event without your face, right? Right.
Even if you have a nickname that everyone calls you don’t use it. We repeat do not use it! Always, always, always use your full name on LinkedIn.
Your summary should be a quick synopsis of your professional background, present and future career goals, and your most valuable assets- what you will bring to their company. Again, it’s important to be creative here while remaining professional. It’s definitely the only area of your profile that demonstrates your voice so don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Think of this area as your LinkedIn resume or CV. You should list all relevant work history. If you were a nanny in 2005 while in college but are currently looking for a financial analyst position now- leave it out. Include job titles, your employer’s name, how long you worked there, and descriptive details about your position including your responsibilities and achievements while employed there. Make sure these are all bullet points and not short summaries. Remember the 6-second recruiter! We want to give him as much information about you as possible and make it as easy as possible for him to do so.
Education, Skills, & Endorsements:
It’s always important to list your degree and where you attended school. This way you can also network with alumni from your school, which is always a plus in any field.
The skills section of LinkedIn can be just as important as your education- especially for entry-level positions. You want to add skills that are relevant to any previous experience and also any skills that you are good at or interested in. For instance, if you haven’t used Photoshop in any of your previous positions but you know the ins and outs of it and are confident to list it as a skillset for any potential positions, you should add it.
Skills help you appear in the search results when people are searching for possible job candidates. So try to get your skills endorsed by any previous co-workers or bosses to make them more legitimate.
Lastly, it’s important to grow your network. Try to create at least 300 connections. This will allow your network to grow faster and give you access to more profiles- especially if you are on the job hunt now! Of course, you can’t grow 300 connections over night so be sure to work on it over time.
The easiest way to start growing your network would be to link with everyone that you know from high school, college, or previous positions. You never know who your friends know and their connections can lead you to another connection that can land you your next dream job! From there, you will start to have other suggested connections presented to you by LinkedIn based on your skills and current connections. If you know the area you are looking to work in you can also link with people in that field. For instance, if you want to be a beauty editor for a magazine you should link with other editors. All these connections will lead to other connections that could potentially lead you to a position with one of these companies!