Recruiters and hiring managers expect every professional to have an active LinkedIn profile. However, they will ignore you if it’s badly written, incomplete or out of date. Despite this, the majority of users still simply set up their profile and then abandon it.
You can’t afford to do that if you’re job hunting or trying to build your personal brand. Not least because LinkedIn is constantly tweaking its features. You can subscribe to LinkedIn’s official monthly blog to keep on top of all the changes. But, if you’re looking for a short cut, we’ve put together this nine-point list you can check against your LinkedIn profile right now.
9 ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out
1. Get a professional photo
A staggering number of profiles still don’t include a headshot. Yet LinkedIn’s own research shows that profiles with photos are seven times more likely to turn up in searches. Your headshot really does take centre stage, so choose a professional looking picture. Face forward so you look like you are making eye contact and use a tightly cropped close up.
2. Create a Custom URL
A customized URL (ideally linkedin.com/yourname) is much better than the clumsy number combination you’re automatically assigned when you sign up to LinkedIn. Go to the Edit Profile screen and specify what you’d like your address to be.
3. Write a headline that really works
This should showcase your value add. It doesn’t have to be your job title but it does need to be specific to appear in recruiter searches.
4. Make the most of the summary section
Only the first two lines of your summary show up automatically. Readers need to click on ‘view more’ to see the rest of the summary. As such, you really need to make the most of those two lines. That means getting your main selling point and some key words across. Try to make them engaging and encourage the viewer to read on. Give this careful consideration because getting it right is crucial.
5. Use numbers
Validate your claims with numbers wherever possible. For example, you could be specific about the budget you were responsible for, the number of people you managed or the sales targets you smashed.
6. Keep it professional – but inject some personality
LinkedIn can be so much more than a list of job titles and duties. It’s a place to highlight your accomplishments by describing not just what you did but how well you did it and the impact you had. Use the first person and make it conversational.
7. Make it visual and interesting
Think about adding presentations, publications, articles, projects, volunteer experiences, languages or videos – it all helps to make your profile more interesting and demonstrates what you can achieve.
8. Manage your ‘Skills/Endorsements’ section
LinkedIn automatically selects the top three according to how many endorsements you have received. However, you can re-order your skills to show the three where you add most value first. This overrides LinkedIn’s automatic selection – and encourages your followers to endorse you for your most relevant skills. You need to ensure your top three skills are important, searched for and aspirational.
9. It’s not just about your work experience
Potential employers, clients and business partners will check you out on LinkedIn to get a real sense of who you are. This does not mean you should be posting photos of your baby , no matter how cute.
Instead, make sure you give details of your voluntary work, charities you support or boards you sit on. Don’t underestimate this feature. According to LinkedIn data, 41% of employers consider volunteer work to be as important as paid work.
Finally, make sure your LinkedIn profile shows your enthusiasm. Join and participate in relevant groups, share interesting articles or news. You can even create your own content. It all helps to make you stand out as an interesting and engaged professional and encourages recruiters and influential leaders in your industry to connect with you.