So, you’ve crafted yourself a killer LinkedIn profile with a professional photo, an employer-grabbing headline, and links to examples of your best work. You’ve reached out to colleagues past and present, solicited some recommendations (of course, given some as well), and you’ve joined some relevant LinkedIn groups. Yay you!
Now that you’ve put the ‘pro’ in profile, here are some tips on how to make your LinkedIn profile work even harder for you:
Write a Summary. Your headline gives a folks a quick peek into your brand — that is, an idea of who you are and what you offer. Your experience lists your job titles, history, what you did, for whom and for how long. But who has the time for all that reading? Make it easy for potential employers and collaborators to see your skills by creating a short paragraph (or two, maybe) that delivers a short overview of what you’ve accomplished, what you know how to do and the kinds of problems you can solve and value you can bring to the table. Here’s an example:
A real self-starter, I have interned at 6 different tech companies to gain an understanding of all aspects of the business and started my own charity, Socks for Sailors. I’ve developed an app that allows users to check-in and measure gym visits. I speak French, have a mean backhand, and do a killer“500 Miles” karaoke.
The idea is to give viewers a quick way of assessing why you’re special, different and awesome — and to make them want to look deeper into your profile. It should sell you professionally, of course, but don’t be afraid to add personal touches that show whatever makes you you — that you’re a well-rounded, passionate, energetic, smart, fun, candidate.
Use Logos. This won’t apply to everyone, but where possible, insert logos from the companies, brands, schools and nonprofits that appear in your work history. These not only brighten and break-up the text, they serve as professional eye candy — especially if you have well-known logos from popular brands, companies and organizations.
Convey Quality by Quantifying. Look, anyone can say (and everyone says) she’s organized, resourceful, versatile, results-oriented, etc. It all leaves employers and recruiters pretty underwhelmed. You know the old adage, “Don’t say it, show it”? Is that an old adage? Well, it should be. Anyway, “actions speak louder than words” is totally an adage, and a good one at that. Use numbers, quantities, percentages, or amounts wherever you can. By indicating how your actions have affected something in a quantifiable way, you give a concrete picture of what you accomplished (and what you can do for others). Use qualifiers, backstory and context when it will make what you did clearer and more impressive. (The first person to walk on the moon is always more impressive than the fourth one, even if it is the same ‘ole moon.)
Don’t be Shy about Soliciting Recommendations from Colleagues and Clients. LinkedIn is the fastest and easiest way for prospective employers and recruiters to get a sense of who you are — and how well you play with others. You can recommend others as a sort of passive way to get the ball rolling, but there’s also nothing wrong with asking colleagues to write up a recommendation for you. You can even suggest what you’d like them to accentuate, as in: “Would you mind writing up a short recommendation for my LinkedIn profile that mentions my planning skills, which you complimented so graciously the other day?”
After an internal review in your company garners a positive review from your boss, you might ask if they might copy and paste some of their printed praise into a LinkedIn recommendation for you. This move needn’t suggest you’re job-hunting; explain that you set yourself a goal of getting your professional profiles together, and are making sure they’re up-to-date and reflect your progress, new skills and responsibilities. (No one can fault you for that.)
Have any LinkedIn tips, anecdotes or success stories to share?