You may not have noticed, but more employers are enabling professionals just like you to write your LinkedIn profile to build your network and apply for jobs.
LinkedIn is giving job seekers the ability to streamline the job application process tremendously, making it easier than ever to manage their job search.
This is the main reason why LinkedIn should be a key part of your social media job search plan.
By filling out their profile in a detailed manner one time, you can avoid the tedious task of completing multiple job applications for different companies.
This is cause for celebration!
Recruiters will have an easier time comparing, sorting, and storing candidate information, making the process of managing candidates much more efficient. Any recruiting organization not currently using LinkedIn may be left in the cold if they don’t jump on board soon.
Many job boards across the web are also integrating LinkedIn authentication protocols into their systems, making this highly likely to become a new web standard in the near future.
Job seekers should be certain that their LinkedIn profiles are up to date and complete. Treat the LinkedIn profile with as much care and attention to detail as you would a standard resume.
What’s Most Notable About LinkedIn
LinkedIn has more than 332 million registered users as of January 2015. The site adds two new members every second, and 187 million people visit the site each month. With so many members, the rate at which your network expands on LinkedIn can be truly amazing.
As you know, LinkedIn allows you to leverage the power of your network—the people you know, and the people those people know—to help you connect to the person (or people) who are in a position to offer you a job.
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, put it this way: LinkedIn is about “connecting talent with opportunity on a massive scale.”
According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
This is your WHY for completing your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn considers your profile “complete” if you include:
- Your industry and location
- An up-to-date current position (including description)
- Two past positions
- Your education
- Your skills (minimum of three)
- A profile photo
- At least 50 connections (300-500 is optimum)
Editing/Enhancing Your Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is better written in first person, unlike your resume that is written in the more formal third person. By writing your content in first person, it has a more personable feeling.
Creating Your Headline
Your LinkedIn headline is the most important part of your profile. How you describe yourself to prospective employers and networking contacts is vitally important. The information you put in the “Professional Headline” field displays as the primary tagline at the top of your profile and is what appears primarily with internal and Internet searches.
When a search is conducted on LinkedIn, a search box returns a listing displaying only photos, names, and headlines. This is why it’s important to have a good headline. A headline filled with the right keywords is an effective positioning tool. Example: Chief Marketing Officer I Trailblazer driving Marketing Integration, Market Share & Profits
Statistics have varied, but most agree that…
LinkedIn profiles with photos receive 50%-70% more inquiries than profiles without photos.
Some recruiters will pass on potential executive candidates if they do not have a photo displayed.
Be selective about the photo you use. Pick one that is professional in nature, not personal. Business attire and headshots are best. For maximum exposure in your job search, let everyone see your photo when selecting your settings.
Customizing Your LinkedIn URL
By default, LinkedIn assigns you a URL with random numbers and letters. For branding purposes, you will want to customize this link and add it to your resume contact information. Example: www.linkedin.com/in/louisegarver
Crafting Your Summary
After the headline, the most-often read section of your profile is the Summary. The Summary section plays a large role in LinkedIn. You can use up to 2,000 characters in your summary.
One popular format for a “Summary” is the “Who/What/Goals” structure. Using this format, you outline Who you are, What you have to offer or add (what is unique about you or your experience), and what your Goals are for being on LinkedIn or your career.
In an Inc. interview with Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s co-founder revealed that your summary should have a goal.
His advice was this…
Don’t be generic. Be unique. Show your value.
Be sure to weave in keywords so when people are searching for executives with XX, your profile will show up.
You have 2000 characters (about 290 words) to create a message about you, your passions, interests, goals, what makes you successful, etc. Make sure your summary portrays you well.
Filling in Your Work History
The ability to showcase work on your profile is important. When providing a description of your work history, remember that LinkedIn is not your resume. Ideally, what you place in your experience section on LinkedIn should complement what you have on your resume. Don’t copy and paste your entire resume verbatim on LinkedIn. For example, select your top three strengths and support with examples of your accomplishments using those strengths.
You can add to your content by including video, images, audio files, animations, PowerPoint presentations, ebooks, and more.
The advantage of the Project data field is that you can provide much more detail about a specific initiative, including tagging others who worked on the project with you. You can also prioritize the order of projects within the section as you’d like them to appear.
One of the best things you can do to help your profile be found is to identify and list “Skills” on your profile. Skills listings create keywords for searches within LinkedIn. If someone searches for particular skills, and you have them listed on your profile, you’re more likely to be found. LinkedIn lets you list up to 50 skills on your profile in the Skills and Endorsements section.
Graphics and videos
Add a little flair, sparkle or zing to your profile. A SlideShare presentation on marketing tips or a short video on team building are easy to upload and help showcase your talents and skills to your audience. It gives people an opportunity to see you in action in a video or experience your presentation style in a SlideShare.
People process information differently, and you want your LinkedIn Profile to appeal to everyone. The four neurolinguistic processes are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and auditory digital. The visuals want to read/see content, the auditory people process by hearing information, the auditory digitals need to make sense of everything and see the 1, 2, 3 of things, while the kinesthetics need to feel the “humanistic” side of a story. Adding graphics, slideshows, and videos achieve this for you.
New jobs or promotions
Keep your LinkedIn Profile updated with the most current job and/or promotion title, duties, and accomplishments. You never know when you may need to start job hunting, or a recruiter has a search he/she is trying to fill and happens upon your profile. If it isn’t current, you may be missing out on a great opportunity.
Some may think that volunteering doesn’t count in a resume or LinkedIn Profile, but I do not agree.
In a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 42% of hiring managers said that they considered volunteer experiences close to the same as professional work experience. If during your volunteer experiences you are using your skills or learning new ones that can translate to the corporate world, list your volunteer work. It also indicates that you are a well-rounded, community-minded individual.
Endorsements have been touted as meaningless pats on the back. However, Crystal Braswell, manager of corporate communications at LinkedIn, says “They are an additional signal that reaffirms your skills and areas of expertise for anyone viewing your profile.”
At the very least, it makes your profile look more complete.
Degrees, licenses, certifications
Most executives continually work on their professional development. This could mean an MBA or Ph.D. degree, a professional license or adding certifications relevant to their industry. Be sure to keep updated as recruiters always include these in their keyword search.
Advice for Contacting
Include your contact information on your profile. NOTE: It is against LinkedIn’s Terms of Service (TOS) to include contact information in your “Professional Headline.” You can list your phone number(s), email addresses, and other contact information in the “Advice for Contacting” section.
There are many other sections that can be filled out such as education, organizations (your professional memberships), honors & awards, certifications, volunteering & causes, publications, test scores, language, courses, patents, causes you care about, supported organizations, interests, personal details, posts, following, groups. The more complete your profile is, the better. LinkedIn is a social site—the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.