Your LinkedIn profile is your online business card. It is an essential element of your personal brand whether you are an independent professional or employed in a traditional company. If you are job-hunting or changing industries, LinkedIn becomes even more vital to your professional success. Taking the time and effort to work on your LinkedIn profile will pay huge dividends in the form of a greater professional network and better career opportunities. The best profiles have the following characteristics in common.
A Well-Presented Profile Photo
Presentation matters! Choose the best clothes you can afford in colors that best represent your brand. If you want an elegant and refined image, choose tones of navy, beige, gray, teal or white. Accessorize with a neck-scarf or pearls. If your brand is young and daring, instead choose colors that pop like red, pink or bright blue. If you want to portray power and competence, squint your eyes slightly and try a slight smile. If instead you want to portray a friendly and warm image, try a casual setting and a real smile that crinkles the corners of your eyes. Use the same image across all your social media platforms to maintain brand consistency. Also try sites like photo-feeler to rate your photos on traits like competence, influence and friendliness.
A Clear Value Proposition
Use real language as opposed to buzzwords and explain what you do and what your value is. Show passion and excitement! Fill the headline and summary sections with keywords that are important in your field (try putting your target job descriptions into a word cloud tool like Wordle and notice the words that stand out!) In the summary, list your work passions, skills, qualifications and key industries. Also list your 5-6 biggest achievements using numbers and quantifying as much as possible. Add key media like presentations, reports, office pictures, etc. Use the first person whenever possible.
Endorsements and Recommendations
These count! They add credibility to your profile and give it star power. Ask for recommendations from bosses, colleagues, professors, etc. First decide on what qualities or skills you want to be recommended on, then be specific and strategic in your requests. For example, something like “Sara’s contribution increased website traffic by 10%” counts more than “Sara was good to work with.” Try asking for one recommendation a month.
Update your status at least once a week. Post links to quotes, infographics and articles that are relevant to your field. Add value to your network! You can also write and publish articles on LinkedIn so do so to establish credibility and build your reputation as an industry leader. Finally, join and participate in groups to be noticed by industry insiders and potential recruiters.
N. Boutamine | The Edge Blog