A LinkedIn profile today is regarded as a must-have for someone entering the workforce. Employers require a resume and usually a cover letter upon applying, and their next steps are often to look up a candidate online. Ninety-four percent of all companies that utilize social media to recruit employees actively leverage LinkedIn to do so, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
LinkedIn is a primary source for employers to learn more about your skill set, achievements and online personality. With that said, we put together some best practices for making your LinkedIn profile impress any veteran of the platform.
Treat your profile like a resume
LinkedIn has made it easy to add past jobs, skills, education, certifications, club and organization affiliations, and also community service involvement. With the constant growth and popularity of LinkedIn, it’s made the resume seem outdated and many employers are turning to online social platforms to research their candidates.
According to the “LinkedIn Official Blog”, members that list their current positions receive up to five times more connection requests. Knowing this, it important to align the content of your LinkedIn profile with the professionally relevant content of your resume; this creates consistency across your materials and reinforces your most prominent skills and abilities.
Tip: Keep your resume handy when constructing your profile and identify relevant positions, such as any industry-specific job skills, and add that to the corresponding category on your profile.
Add a quality headshot and background photo
One of the most important parts of a complete LinkedIn is a quality headshot for your profile picture. Try to dress as appropriately as possible for your desired industry in the picture.
According to “LinkedIn Talent Blog”, a profile with a professional profile picture will receive up to 14 times more views than those without one. Mistakes to avoid include overly or funnily cropped or edited pictures, random selfies, or anything concealing your face such as sunglasses.
For an extra pop to your profile, a nice cover photo that represents your industry of interest or a reflection of your skills.
Tip: Make sure to smile! A big smile goes a long way for recruiters, employers and potential networking connections. You want your potential coworkers and connections to think you’re friendly, right?
Recommendations and skill evaluations
According to “LinkedIn’s Official Blog”, a profile with five relevant skills is 31 times more likely to be discovered by a recruiter than one without skills or recommendations/endorsements noted. Adding to these sections on your profile will show you the return on your work with increased engagement.
Tip: Ask professors or professional connections who can speak to your abilities, skills and qualities to complete recommendations that will bolster your profile to set you apart from competitors in the job market.
Keep adding over time
One thing that you will learn quickly is that it takes time and commitment to keep your profile fresh. Continue to add your professional accomplishments, new roles and responsibilities, certifications or continuing education. Just like a resume, you want to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date because you never know when opportunity will come knocking, and you’ll want to have your profile ready to share.
By making tweaks and updates every now and then, you will be ready and polished for any and all recruiters and potential new connections.
Tip: Take time each month to review your profile and make changes to keep it refreshing and interesting to all viewers!
What to keep in mind as you go
Although this is a very professional account and there is a lot to keep in mind as you begin, make sure to avoid the easy rookie mistakes:
- Be mindful of your audience: what you post on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook might not have the same appeal to your professional connections.
- Proofread. Proofread. Proofread – Spelling, grammar and punctuation reflect on your professional communication skills.
- Don’t connect with fellow members for the sake of having more connections – make meaningful connections that will help your profile to grow.
- Stay up-to-date, always, by downloading the LinkedIn app
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