How To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out From The Crowd
You want to work in the digital economy, but the only way people can find out anything about you is when you send your CV to them. Congratulations for upgrading from paper to PDF.
However, to help you build a good reputation in your chosen field and improve your chances of landing that dream job, you need to be in the digital universe. LinkedIn is the best place to do this.
It is hard to imagine a university graduate in the last 5 years not having a well-polished LinkedIn profile, but I have recently mentored 2 university alumni and I was a bit shocked about how little they had online. This concerned me for a few reasons:
- LinkedIn is such an easy way to stay in contact with university professors and course colleagues. Some of those people you want a connection with but don’t want to share your social life with them via Facebook or Snapchat.
- It wasn’t very easy for me to scan their profile and find a mutual connection to help me build my trust in them.
- If they want a job in technology, which wants to connect people and help them share, but they are not able to use these tools, what am I meant to think?
Whether you are new to LinkedIn or need to do some work to make your profile shine here are my top tips:
When you sign up, LinkedIn automatically assigns you a URL with a long set of numbers. Change this to something simple but memorable that includes your name. This way you’ll be able to publicize your profile more easily, for example including it on your CV or email signature.
A strong network of connections on LinkedIn is one of its most useful features. To find and connect with people use the desktop version and always send a message. Only click to connect if you are already talking to that person. No message, then no connection.
A good professional photograph is important. No pets, no drunk nights out, and no pictures of you holding a fish. And don’t go wild with Facetune. Your photograph needs to look like you so when you meet someone for the first time they can recognize you.
Here is your chance to show off. You shouldn’t use the first person on your CV but on LinkedIn it’s fine. Be warm and welcoming and use the summary as a chance for people to get to know you. Your summary should be about 3 or 4 paragraphs and include a few bullet points to help people pick out key skills and achievements as they scan your profile.
If you don’t have many years work experience this section is important. As well as information about your degree and the subjects you covered include any activities you took part in or clubs you were a member of. Provide details of your dissertation or thesis and if you’re proud of your degree classification show it off.
At this stage you probably won’t have much to put here. It’s ok to include part time jobs, volunteering, and internships as it shows potential employers that you already have some basic work skills. Like a CV, work backwards and include your job title and the dates you were employed. Highlight any significant achievements and accomplishments. If you have any gaps that are longer than a couple of months include a reason why if you can.
Try and avoid buzzwords like ‘responsible’, ‘strategic’, ‘analytical’, and ‘driven’. Take a look at the job descriptions of the sort of roles you are interested in and use similar keywords throughout your profile. This will help recruiters find and match you to any potential roles they have.
It’s very simple for someone to endorse you so this section can become overloaded over time. You need to manage the skills that people can endorse you for so that they remain relevant. Remove any outdated skills and add the ones that you want to be known for and that will help with your next career move.
If someone tells you that you’ve gone a great job, ask them for a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations help you stand out and build up trust signals for potential employers. You can always write the recommendation yourself. This saves time for whoever you asked, and you can tailor the recommendation to highlight particular skills and show how much of a superstar you really are.
LinkedIn groups are a great way to connect and network with other people in your industry. By taking part in group discussions it shows that you are engaged with your profession. Others in the group will start to notice you and you’ll begin to build a strong reputation as you move up the career ladder.
You should now have a pretty decent LinkedIn profile. But don’t do all of the above and forget about it. Keep checking back to add new skills you’ve gained or projects you’ve completed, comment on interesting articles, and to reply to any messages.