11 tips to make sure your LinkedIn profile stands out
While updating your resume might be second nature for you, one of the overlooked feats is revamping your LinkedIn profile. Having a well-crafted LinkedIn page is the most effective way to get the most out of this powerful social media tool. Recruitment consultant for executive search firm Michael Page, Ranjan Dua, agrees, “It’s the first screening mechanism that we use while searching for a job candidate. It’s, therefore, very important.”
Wondering why recruiters are not lining at your doorstep, despite you having all the requisite skills and experience you need for that job you like? Probably because of your LinkedIn profile is not up to scratch
Dua asserts that a good profile can act as the packaging to your talents, skills, and experience, and help you market yourself to your industry. It’s the easiest way to build a personal brand that will make you more attractive to recruiters.
How to update your LinkedIn profile
1. Complete your profile
It might seem like the most obvious step, but you’d be surprised to know how many people don’t realise the importance of having a completed profile. The more informative your page is, the better chances there are for you to be noticed by potential recruiters. “An incomplete profile is a big red flag,” says Dua, “LinkedIn has a very structured approach. It has sections for everything, from stating your educational qualifications to properly mapping your job changes, and recommendations from your peers and seniors. I’m not saying everything should be completely filled to the brim, but every section should have some information, at least.”
Your profile will give recruiters a complete idea of everything there is to know about you, professionally—what your skills are, where you’ve worked before, and what do people you’ve worked with think of you.
LinkedIn also has an indicator that shows you how strong your profile is, based on its completeness—the stronger the profile, the better its chances of getting noticed.
2. Choose a great photo
The profile photo you choose might make or break your chances of being recruited, or even noticed. Humans are visual beings, the first thing anybody will notice when they come across your profile is your photo. This 500×500 pixel image can prove to be extremely useful as it’s the first impression people will get of you. You should be able to communicate your qualities, like being friendly and likeable, through your picture. “It’s the first introduction we get with the candidate, so it should convey professionalism,” says Dua. Lydia Abbot, content marketer at LinkedIn, notes in her blog about the ‘Right LinkedIn Profile Picture’ that one of the key things to ensure here is that your profile picture should be recent and clear. You need to look professional, so avoid putting up selfies or blurry photographs from that one wedding you went to and had great make-up on. Your face should take up about 60 per cent of the frame and you should wear what you would normally wear to work. She also advises that it’s best if you’re looking forward in your photo, or you can look towards the left to lead the viewer to the rest of the contents in your profile.
3. Make your headline pop
This 120-character long description can be used as an advertisement for your profile, when used correctly. “The headline is the second thing a recruiter notices about your profile, after your photo,” says Dua. This is the first text that shows up right below your name in your profile. LinkedIn uses your current job title and your employer as your headline by default. But you can edit this to make your profile stand out. Recruiters go through a lot of profiles when searching for a candidate. By having a descriptive headline, you can catch their eye more effectively. This is your chance to tell a potential employer everything about you in one sentence. You can either list your primary skill, or your most important achievement as creatively as you can.
4. Connect with people
Having a lot of (relevant) connections makes you more visible to people. Dua agrees, adding, “Connections are there to help you build a network of industry professionals that can help you grow, and who you can help as well. LinkedIn’s algorithm suggests connections to you based on the connections you’ve already made, so it’s better to connect with people who can relate to the content you put out and have content that you can relate to as well.”
One of the ways to go about it is to sync your profile to your email contact book. This will let LinkedIn’s algorithm to suggest people you know and could possibly connect with easily. You can also start following up official meetings with an invite to connect on LinkedIn. This will help you grow your network and stay connected with people in your industry.
5. Get the ‘Summary’ right
This is a place where you can elaborate and tell the viewer your story, both personal and professional. But be precise and to-the-point, suggests Dua. “One of the biggest mistakes people make here is that they try to be verbose,” he says, “When you write paragraphs that start with ‘I began my journey with….’, it becomes an ordeal for the recruiter to read through the entire thing.” Don’t use it just to list your skills and professional achievements, this will make it look boring and stale. Write from a first person POV, and be interactive. Another thing to keep in mind here is to back up your claims with numbers to prove them. “Your content should also be quantified. For instance, if you want to say that you increased your company’s business, we want to know exactly how you helped in that, so you should say something like ‘I helped increase my company’s business revenue from 5 per cent to 10 per cent’.”
Share how the skills you’ve acquired have an impact on the industry and the society. It should not be more than three-five concise paragraphs long.
6. Streamline your skills
This section can let you effectively showcase all the skills you’ve perfected over the years. A good way to know what to add to your profile is to check out the skills of the people who are relevant to the job description you’re searching for. This will help you get an idea on how to streamline and curate your skills, which people can also endorse you on. In 2019, LinkedIn launched a feature that lets you take a quiz to determine your proficiency in the skills you’ve listed. It’s an online test that will help you assess the level of your skill and will earn you a ‘Verified Skill’ badge on your profile. According to a research conducted by the platform, candidates who have the ‘Verified Skills’ badge are more likely to be hired for the jobs they apply for. You can take the test multiple times to improve your chances at a ‘Verified’ badge. Additionally, Dua adds that you can also link your Google certificate with your profile to make a better impact, “It shows that you’ve gone out of your way and gotten these certifications.”
7. Accessorise with multimedia
Your profile should be professional, but not boring. LinkedIn lets you add photos, videos, and slideshows, to enhance your profile. Make sure you use this feature effectively to use different ways to highlight your skills, experience, and achievements. Here, you can showcase yourself in action by including videos of any conference you spoke at, or something that exhibits your talent properly. This also includes adding a background photo that doesn’t distract from your main profile photo, but serves to add to your profile. According to Dua, you can use your background photo as a tool too, “Using the company’s branding and logos, as your background photo, shows loyalty towards the company. It’s not mandatory, but it looks good on a profile.”
8. Request recommendations
Don’t be afraid to ask people for recommendations to add to your profile. Reach out to people you work with, or have worked with in the past, and request them to write you a testimonial that speaks of your skills. Aside from being a glowing review of your skills, this can serve to show any potential employer that you are a team player and can work well with different kinds of people.
But make sure the recommendations are not vague and generic. They need to be specific and highlight your abilities and skills. “Recommendations and endorsements on your skills do hold some merit, but if it’s just from your peer group, the recruiter will see right through them. If it’s from your senior, or a senior professional from your industry, then it makes a difference,” says Dua.
9. Ditch the buzzwords
While it’s tempting to pepper your profile with words like ‘motivated’, ‘specialised’, ‘leadership’, ‘passionate’, and etc, avoid these buzzwords at all costs. These words present a very vague image of you as a professional and can make your profile get lost amongst others. Use them very judiciously, if you have to, and back it up with real-life examples, illustrating why you’re saying you have that ability. If you’re looking for effective and descriptive keywords for your profile, then you should look at your target job descriptions. See what your ideal employers are looking for, not the important keywords, and tailor your profile accordingly, suggests Dua.
10. Share your opinions
Another under-used element is the Publishing tool provided by the platform. You can express your opinions and exhibit your thought-leadership by publishing long-form content on the website. Needless to say, it needs to be original, well-researched, and relevant to your industry. This can attract viewers to your profile and start a conversation with people, leading you to develop your personal brand.
11. Follow industry influencers
Identify people who hold influence in your industry and follow them on LinkedIn. Not only will it be an informative experience for you and provide you with interesting and relevant content on your feed, you can share it on your feed as well. This can serve as an extension of your brand and highlight your interests and thought process.