Five Elements of a Perfect LinkedIn Profile - Infographic
Used almost exclusively for professional purposes, LinkedIn stands apart from other social media platforms—you’ll find very few cat videos and food photos on LinkedIn profiles. Instead, people tend to use the site as an online resume. Most modern professionals seem to understand the need for a presence on LinkedIn, but they may not always understand how to create an effective profile. There are numerous ways to enrich your profile, but the following five tips are sure to give you a leg up on the competition.
To some people, the idea of adding their face to a LinkedIn profile feels narcissistic and wrong. After all, most of us wouldn’t ever think of slapping a picture on our resume. But the practice of including a picture has become the norm on LinkedIn, just as it has on other social media platforms. Profiles without pictures appear incomplete.
You don’t need to pay for professional headshots, but make sure your profile picture presents the image you wish to convey. Dress for the kind of job you want, make sure the photo is clear, avoid pictures with other people in them, and try to pick a photo that is current.
They Call Them “Keywords” for a Reason
If you’re hoping that prospective employers will find you on LinkedIn, then keywords are… well… key. The search function on LinkedIn looks for keywords and recruiters will often use that search function to locate potential candidates. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, your dream job could find you if you sprinkle the right keywords throughout your profile.
The Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a great resource marketing firms use to research popular keywords, but you can use it to build your profile. The tool allows you to pinpoint the relevant words and phrases that people (including recruiters) are looking for in online searches. Just be sure the keywords you select accurately represent your skills and experience.
Once you’ve nailed down your keywords, incorporate them into your profile. Be sure to include your most significant keywords in your profile’s headline. Then add them to your summary, include them in your work experience, and possibly even drop them into areas such as your education and volunteer activities.
Speaking of Headlines…
Give some serious thought to your profile’s headline. Many people simply slap their current job title into the headline, but one must realize that the headline is the first thing people will likely see in your profile. You’re more than just a job title, so use that space to sell yourself. Get creative and try to explain what makes you unique or which skills make you valuable to employers. A headline that reads “Relationship Builder, Negotiator and Deal Closer” is far more descriptive and eye-catching than “Sales Manager.”
One other tip to consider regarding profile headlines is to add your email address. Your name and headline will pop up in search engines. If your contact information is in your headline, recruiters will be able to connect with you without logging in to LinkedIn, cutting out the middle man.
Samples and Examples
Use attachments to back up all of the skills and experience you’ve listed on your profile. LinkedIn allows you to add documents, photos, videos, and presentations that can serve as work samples. If you say you’re a wiz at writing press releases, prove it by attaching an example. If you’re especially proud of a major presentation you’ve done, why not include it? Let your hard work speak for itself.
Many creative professionals, such as writers and graphic artists, already have portfolios or blogs stashed away somewhere on the web. If you’ve established a portfolio elsewhere, there’s no need to rebuild it in LinkedIn. Be sure to include links to the portfolio though and possibly include a couple of samples to whet the appetite of anyone who finds your profile.
Be a Joiner
If you tend to think of LinkedIn as an online repository for resumes, you may be neglecting the social aspect of the platform. There are two excellent reasons to consider joining some LinkedIn groups. First, you will have an opportunity to expand your network and make new contacts (you never know which contact will want to hire you somewhere down the line).
The second reason to join LinkedIn groups is credibility. Involvement in groups that are specific to your industry conveys the idea that you’re serious about your career and you’re knowledgeable about your industry. You can start your foray into LinkedIn groups by joining the Ashford University Alumni & Students group.
Whether you’re looking for a job or not, an up-to-date and robust LinkedIn profile can be a big asset. With the five elements listed above, your profile will make a bold first impression.
Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education