15 Ingredients that Make LinkedIn Profiles Great
LinkedIn’s 332 million users make it one of the greatest assets in any professional’s job search. Used right, it can broadcast your credentials beyond traditional means. Employers and recruiters will tell you: there are clear differences between average and great LinkedIn profiles. Focus on these 15 factors and your profile won’t blend in with the scenery.
1. A Clean & Professional Picture – LinkedIn profile pictures should be the epitome of professionalism. You should be the only one in the foreground (no family, friends, or pets). Also, avoid pixilated, poorly-lit pictures. You want someone to be able to recognize you in a crowd, not wonder if they’re looking at a blurry image of the Sasquatch.
2. Searchable Headlines – Headlines (along with your name, geographic location, and industry) are the first things employers see in a search. Your LinkedIn headline should succinctly prove you’re worth consideration. Include searchable job titles (nothing obscure), be specific about what you do, and speak directly to your desired employer. Examples:
a. A PMP Certified Mechanical Engineer with R&D and Lean Experience
b. Java Web Developer | Graphic Designer | OOP Master
3. An Approachable Tone – A great LinkedIn profile is professional, but approachable, making people comfortable about contacting you. It never is too stodgy or too casual.
4. A Clear Summary – This is a perfect portrait for your professional brand. LinkedIn summaries show what you can do, what you want to do, and how you make it all happen. Keep yours around 3 to 5 short paragraphs. Any longer and readers lose interest.
5. Good Keyword Usage – Every industry has its own keywords and technical terminology. Great LinkedIn profiles include them without overuse. The more keywords you use, the higher on the list your profile shows up in search results. Insert keywords in their own section below your summary and in ways that show their implementation in each job.
6. Avoid Exhausted Adjectives – Creative. Hard-working. Motivated. Passionate. These are the adjectives we attribute to ourselves during the job search. And all of them are ineffective. Truthfully, you’re better off just showing those traits in action (i.e. achievements that relied on these skills).
7. Links to Projects – Your work speaks louder than your words. A great LinkedIn profile presents employers and recruiters with examples of your achievements, so they can see your work first-hand.
8. Use Numbers – Numbers are a standard reference point. Even if a hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t have a strong command of your field, they’ll understand the quantitative results you’ve given your company and it’ll compel them to act.
9. Control Endorsements – Is your LinkedIn page a clutter of endorsements? You need to be sending a clear message to employers. Eliminate any skills from your list that don’t portray you the exact way you want to be seen.
10. Written Recommendations – Endorsements look fine, but written recommendations carry more weight. Testimonies indicate someone was impressed enough to recommend your work.
11. Certifications, Courses, & Honors – The more you include the better. In most cases, these will already go under your summary or specific job experience. However, including them under their own section really hits the message home.
12. Never Appear Unemployed – People want to err on the side of honesty, but saying you’re unemployed in your headline or job experience gives the impression that you’ve resigned yourself to that fate. Moreover, you can fill in your employment gaps with these 4 tips.
13. Regular Updates – A great LinkedIn profile doesn’t go untouched for months. Regularly update your profile as you gain achievements, learn new things, and expand your abilities as a professional.
14. Be Active – Whether that’s posting in groups, responding to fellow LinkedIn members, or taking the plunge by posting your own articles, don’t be afraid to get yourself out there.
15. Keep Yourself Available – Make sure employers can actually reach you. Include an email and other means of contact. That way, you won’t miss out on job openings that are closing fast.
by James Walsh