Written by Ashley Stahl
It’s a new year…and already whizzing by as we’re moving through the shortest month on the calendar!
Now is a great time to give your LinkedIn profile a facelift. In fact, more than 95% of recruiters search LinkedIn to find candidates to present to their clients. LinkedIn is also the largest professional network in the world with nearly 800 million members.
At a minimum, your profile should include a quality photograph, LinkedIn summary, work history, and education. But there are definitely some tricks to getting noticed on LinkedIn. Here are some LinkedIn hacks to put your best foot forward.
1. The photograph. In a survey by Passport-Photo Online, over 80% of recruiters said a LinkedIn photo was an important ranking factor and 8 out of 10 agreed a candidate’s LinkedIn profile picture was used as a way to get to know the person better. Even though respondents agreed 82% of the time that you should not judge a book by its cover, it happens. Job seekers can get rejected for their LinkedIn profile pic – as much as 70% of the time.
Your photograph is your first impression online. It needs to be professional yet show your personality. If you work from home in your pjs, that’s not going to be a good look. But if a power suit is not your bag, don’t wear one in your LinkedIn photo. Here’s some quick tips:
- You need to appear approachable.
- Make sure your face is clearly visible.
- Wear your usual attire (not the pjs or the power suit).
- And, under no circumstances should you have someone else in your photo!
Pro tip: Using your mobile device, create a 30-second video to add to your profile pic. Use this to show off your personality – in a professional way. You can shoot the video outside or in your office. Just be sure you mitigate distractions.
2. The LinkedIn headline. This is arguably one of the MOST important parts of your LinkedIn profile. It’s that 120-character description directly under your name. The summary shows up on your profile page, but it also appears every time you engage on LinkedIn. Be specific. List hard skills and job titles. Use keywords for the position you want.
Pro tip: You can now add a short audio introduction. You need to use your mobile device to add the audio intro. Select the pencil to edit your profile. Where it asks you for your name pronunciation, record your intro. You have 10 seconds. Say hi, tell people what you do, and ask them to connect.
3. The LinkedIn summary (about). Don’t skip this section. If you need help, hire a writer but include a summary. The summary section offers a lot of freedom but here’s a surefire 8 paragraph formula to standout according to LinkedIn expert Mindi Rosser.
- Ask a question based or make a bold statement that entices the reader to continue.
- Show your target you have the solution to fix their problem.
- Showcase the depth of your experience.
- Elaborate on your areas of expertise by providing tangible examples.
- Talk about your superpower.
- Publicize your accomplishments and accolades.
- Tell them why you’re passionate about your work.
- Give them a call to action.
Pro tip: Write this section for the position you want. Show career progression. Use keywords commonly found in job descriptions of the jobs you want to have.
4. Your work experience and education. This part is your LinkedIn “resume.” If the company is not well known, include a brief summary of what the company does, list your job title and bullet points highlighting your responsibilities. This is a great place to add keywords. Since LinkedIn doesn’t have a robust “keyboard,” use this hack: type one hyphen followed by the greater than sign on your keyboard to form an arrow to use as a bullet. Show career progression but keep it to 3 or 4 main points.
Unfortunately, ageism is real. When listing your education, you’re not required to put dates. So, if you graduated from college in the 1990s, skip the dates! Include position-relevant certification courses in your education section.
Pro tip: Use company and school names. When you do, a thumbnail image will appear on your profile. Not a biggie but aesthetically it looks nicer – and, unfortunately, books are judged by their covers.
5. Once you have your profile up, go through it once more to add the right keywords. Recruiters begin with a keyword search to find viable candidates. Do a quick job search for positions you want. Identify keywords by reading the job requirements. Include hard skills and soft skills – only if you have those in your repertoire. This is also a great way to see if you need to upskill to make yourself more marketable.
Be honest and authentic. If you have the skills, don’t be timid – show off but do so authentically, not in a hot-headed manner. Always include the basics including the best way to reach you. Customize your URL to your name: http://www.linkedin.com/in/YourName. Finally, engage on LinkedIn.