Your LinkedIn profile can be a powerful tool, particularly when it has the right information. LinkedIn profiles are central to modern networking, hiring and recruiting practices.
Ensuring that your profile is ‘complete’ will help others search for you for networking opportunities and provide access to potential job vacancies. There are over 700 million users on LinkedIn, you need to make sure that you stand out and don’t get lost in the crowd. Be sure to complete the following sections:
1A. Profile Picture
A bad profile picture can lead to sweeping professional judgements. A no-effort profile picture flags you as a low-effort professional to potential hiring managers. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional networking platform so your picture needs to be reflective of this. Dress as you would for a job interview, avoid goofy expressions and avoid a photo which has other people or animals in it.
Your headline is your first opportunity to tell others what you have to offer – utilise the 120 characters you have to work with! It should be a quick snapshot explaining what sort of role and/or industry you are working in. It can be as creative as you like, or as simple as adding your current work title.
1C. Profile Summary
LinkedIn summaries act as a mini biography. It’s an opportunity for you to share who you are in an engaging way, with no space limits. Your summary is the one place you define yourself in your own words, free of start dates and titles. Entice your reader and include keywords that will enable potential employers to find you in a search. This is the best space to explain any careers gaps. And be sure to write in the first person.
1D. Work History
This should be the main part of your profile as it explains the roles you have previously had. Let the reader know more about your role – provide detail on what the role involved rather than just a job title. For each role, pick 3 to 4 of your most impressive and relevant responsibilities or achievements to highlight. Use numbers and statistics to demonstrate your experience. Also, specify if a role was a contract role.
Tip: Keep in mind not everyone looking at your profile knows a lot about the industry. Be sure the job titles and role descriptions can be understood by people from different industries.
List all the degrees you’ve earned and the schools attended. This is important for networking as well as ensuring you stand out to people conducting searches on relevant qualifications or educational institutions.
1F. Skills & Endorsements
Utilise this part of your profile to show you have the skills that employers are looking for and be ‘endorsed’ by your connections. It works as a quick reference guide to your skills and experience. These keywords are search terms used by recruiters searching for your expertise. Without the right keywords, it is unlikely that someone will find you among the 700 million other LinkedIn profiles.
When someone performs a search on LinkedIn, 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections appear higher in the results than out-of-network users. Connecting with people on LinkedIn increases your chances of becoming a 2nd or 3rd degree connection of a recruiter who is searching for your skill set.
2A. Personalising a connection request
A personalised connection request will have a greater chance of being accepted. When sending a connection request, be sure to explain why you want to connect with them and give them a reason to want to connect. If it is someone that you know, provide some context of how you know them.
Don’t feel obliged to accept all connection requests. If you feel a connection will not add value, or they are not of interest, you can always decline the invitation.
Tip: Don’t send out too many requests, especially to people you don’t know. If they decline your request it will be marked as spam. After having a few requests marked as spam, LinkedIn will restrict you from trying to connect with more people.
Recommendations are an opportunity for others to share their experiences of you, your work and your skills. You can show employers that there are professional people willing to vouch for you in a public forum. Approach different people to write a recommendation. You can suggest particular skills or experiences you would like them to highlight.
2C. Groups, companies and influencers
It is great to follow a variety of groups, companies and influencers. This is where you can bring personality to your profile. It demonstrates that you are interested in a variety of different industries, companies, fields and charities. It will allow you to continue networking while also exposing you to different articles and discussions that you can become involved with.
Articles are a great way to prove you are up-to-date in your industry. In other words, you’re someone who is well-informed and would be great to work with.
Articles also allow you to provide value to your connections, who will then associate you with the benefits they grain from the knowledge you share. Make sure to write and publish articles on topics that are important to you and that present a well-rounded opinion.
- Write 'How-to' and 'List' posts
- Provide in-depth insights in your area of expertise
- Include images or short videos
- Reign in your passion
Your network will be notified of any profile changes you make if notifications are enabled. If you don’t want your network to see your updates, be sure to change the settings, and you can turn it back on once finished.
You can also specify if you would like people to know that you’re looking for a new role, and from there you can choose if you want this to be public knowledge or you would prefer only recruiters to have access to this information.
It is important to make sure you stand-out on LinkedIn for the right reasons. Here are some do's and don'ts to get the best our of your profile
Your LinkedIn profile allows you to connect with leaders in your industry, whilst also demonstrating to a potential employer that you have the right skills and experience for their organisation. It allows you to inject some personality and show your interests, volunteering experiences, projects you’ve been involved in while allowing you to share articles and material on topics that are of interest to you.
Always stay honest with what you include in your profile and make sure it stands out.
Kristi Paschalidis is a Talent Acquisition Specialist at Orbit Legal Resourcing. She has over 9 years’ experience within recruitment spanning the legal, banking, FMCG, retail and engineering sectors.
If you’re interested in joining Orbit, contact Kristi Paschalidis for a confidential conversation on how Orbit can work for you.
Orbit Talent Acquisition Specialist