Whether or not you're looking for a new job right now, you still need a LinkedIn profile that stands out.
With more than 500 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is easily the largest professional network on the planet. It's not only large but also highly effective in helping professionals in any industry get and stay connected.
So why should that matter to you? LinkedIn is your chance to get your name and face in front of hundreds (or even thousands) of professionals in your industry. If you're looking for a job, that's essential.
However, it's not enough to just have a LinkedIn page. You need a great LinkedIn profile that draws attention, says the right things, and helps you really connect with the people who can help you expand your career. Here are 10 simple tips to help make your LinkedIn profile stand out.
1. Add your headshot
The simplest thing you can do to upgrade your LinkedIn profile is to add a good headshot. Be creative if that fits with what you do or who you are, but remember that this is the first impression people will get from your page. If you don't have a professional headshot to use, it's worth the investment. With the huge numbers of people on LinkedIn, those without a photo are easily pushed aside.
2. Create an eye-catching headline
Your headline is the first bit of text that shows up right below your name on your LinkedIn profile. The default settings will fill this in with your current position and that's okay for starters — but it can be whatever you want. You have 120 characters to work with, so why not add on a little? Think of it as a small billboard advertisement for you and what you do. Instead of just listing your job title, mention your specialty and how you benefit your company or customers. For example:
Advertising Sales Rep helping clients create winning branding strategies. Over 300 successful clients.
Just like that you've told them your job, what you bring to the table, and provided a little credibility easily and effectively.
3. Craft an interesting summary
Your summary can be a longer form of your headline; here you have 2000 characters to work with so you can dive in a little deeper. Don't focus on just your past experience but on what you do well and what you can bring to a prospective employer. Keep in mind that keywords are crucial here — use words that you want to be strongly connected to in your field.
Attention spans are short these days, so don't use up all of those 2000 characters. Instead, keep it to less than half of that. Be creative and paint a picture of who you really are as a professional.
4. Highlight your experience
You can do better than simply cutting and pasting your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. You don't have the same two-page rule here, but you do have internet readers' short attention spans. Be sure to include any jobs that you deem relevant to where you want your career to go, and use two to four interesting and impressive bullet points for each job you include. Also, use good action words to show not just what you did, but what you accomplished in each position.
5. Use visual media
Did you know that you can add a background photo/cover photo on LinkedIn just like on Twitter and Facebook? It's simple to do and it makes your LinkedIn profile stand out, so pick a theme that speaks to your profession or personality.
LinkedIn also allows you to connect other media to your profile like Youtube videos, infographics — you name it. Get creative with relevant media and make your page jump off the screen and demand attention.
6. Customize your URL
Your LinkedIn URL is the web address for your profile. The default URL will have your name and some gibberish numbers on it. Why not make it something more relevant? Along the right side of the profile, you will see the option to edit your public URL. Use that option to make your URL more concise and neat — again, it only takes a couple of minutes and it can make your URL much more memorable.
7. Start making connections
It seems obvious, but it can be easy to forget sometimes. You need to keep growing your connections as you meet people because of LinkedIn's system of first, second, and third degree connections; having a lot of connections helps keep you visible to others.
That being said, while you can connect with people you don't know, it's preferable to connect with individuals whom you know personally, have worked with, or met in a professional capacity.
8. Ask for recommendations
This is a big one. Think of people that you've developed a good working relationship within the past. When you edit your profile, there is a link to click that says Ask for Recommendations. Click on it. You choose what you'd like to be recommended for and can choose a list of people from your connections. Then, send it out and hope you get some great feedback.
Recommendations are a key to making your LinkedIn profile stand out. Employers want to know that others have approved of your work.
Help your karma out and write recommendations for some of your connections in return.
9. Keep your page active
LinkedIn is more than an online resume — it's a networking social media site. That means to get the most out of it, you need to remain active. Check out what other people are posting, engage them with thoughtful comments, and like and share posts that strike you as helpful.
You can also join groups that are on LinkedIn. Whatever your professional interests are, from marketing to accounting, there are going to be groups talking about it. Join one or two and interact within that group. It's a great way to meet some new people and share ideas.
10. Check your LinkedIn profile strength
If you look at your current profile, there is a gauge on the right-hand side that gives you a “Profile Strength” measurement. Essentially, this is telling you how completely you've filled out your profile. Keep adding more and using the site's tips until that gauge rates you “All-Star.” It's simple, but it can help you see if you've overlooked something.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool and one that's really easy to use. Make the most of it by optimizing your profile to grab attention, sell your skills, and validate your accomplishments. You want your page to be visually appealing to visitors while making it easy for them to get a feel for who you are and what you really can do for them professionally. These 10 tips make a great start for building your winning LinkedIn profile.
Click on the following link for more advice on creating your LinkedIn profile.
Is your resume as powerful as your LinkedIn profile? Let one of our resume experts check with a free resume critique!