First impressions count. When people discover or visit you on LinkedIn, you have to incite engagement by having a full and exciting profile.
Your career decision makers such as HR professionals, recruiters, or future bosses are seeking you out from a mass of competition. If your profile fails to distinguish you from your peers, it can damage your career advancement and credibility.
Did you know that you can change the order of the sections on your LinkedIn profile? Based on exhaustive feedback I’ve heard from hiring professionals, your profile layout should mirror your resume structure.
Here are my top-to-bottom tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
URL: At the very top of the screen should be your customized LinkedIn URL. This is what visitors see in their web browser address bar.
Photo: Having a picture strengthens a viewer’s engagement with you. LinkedIn profiles with photos are viewed 11x more than those with no photo.
Headline: This is equivalent to the top of your resume, where you place your name, degree and (if applicable) industry designation.
Summary: There is a separate section called Contact Info (fill this out as well), but also put your email address and phone number right at the top of your Summary section.
Hiring decision makers want to be able to contact you immediately. Don’t make them hunt for this information.
Some people remove this text once they begin a new placement, but I recommend you leave it there. You should always be on the lookout for your next career opportunity, as many people are finding out right now.
The remainder of the Summary section is for what I call your “projective” (combining what used to be the objective and profile sections in older resume formats).
Use this section to describe your skills, in a way that reinforces your personal brand and delivers a compelling message.
Skills and Endorsements: You can emphasize your skills by listing them in priority order and asking your current and former colleagues to verify you with endorsements. Similar to changing the order of your profile sections, you can also “drag and drop” your skills to reprioritize as your career advances or to align with job postings.
Experience: Just like on your resume, provide a reverse chronological list of your work experience, using the STAR story format to relay accomplishment-based career achievements.
Note: New grads may want to place their Education section above the Experience section, while senior executives may move it right to the bottom of the profile.
Recommendations: This section provides you the opportunity to have peers, management and other stakeholders in your career articulate persuasive performance feedback to elevate your candidacy and allow your future employers to swiftly reduce the candidate pool. The reference’s LinkedIn page is only a click away if the hiring authority wants more information.
Tell your stories
Fill the rest of your LinkedIn profile with elements that tell pertinent, verifiable, performance-driven stories about yourself. With the exception of confidential information, you can be a bit more adventurous and include information you might not share in a resume, since it’s a page-less platform.
Unlike a resume, which is judged poorly for being too long or having half-pages, you won’t discount yourself with a long LinkedIn profile.
Fill out as many LinkedIn profile sections as you can, such as Volunteer, Honours & Awards, Certifications, Courses, Projects, Publications, Interests, and Personal Details. These are things you sometimes can’t include on a resume, simply because of space.
When you present the right details in the right order, your LinkedIn profile can catapult your career advancement.
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