LinkedIn has become the online center of our professional lives.
It’s often the first thing an employer or recruiter checks out before even looking at your resume.
COVID upended our economy and changed the types of jobs available. Many are taking this time to search for a new direction.
Here are some tips to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile:
You can customize your URL:
The default LinkedIn URL looks something like this: linkedin.com/in/john-smith-asdfjkl85
In Settings, you can shorten it to your first and last name and even add a branding statement or descriptive word afterwards: in/john-smith-tech-recruiter
Your profile photo:
Use a recent professional headshot with an uncluttered background. If you can’t get a photo done due to COVID, a graphic designer can help crop and optimize an image from an existing one.
The banner background to the photo:
Not as many people know about this but you can set the picture behind your photo that appears at the top of your profile (similar to Facebook’s business page banner). You can get plenty of free backgrounds here: https://freelinkedinbackgrounds.com/
You get 120 characters to tell people who you are. One route is to use your current title but another is to turn this into a branding statement by using language unique to you and that isn’t overused in the job search (e.g. “great communicator,” “good listener,” “problem solver”).
Your Summary Section:
This is your chance to sell yourself much like a cover letter. However, you don’t have to use formal language and can allow your personality to shine.
Use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself to a recruiter or hiring manager as if you were chatting with them on the phone.
Take the opportunity to…
- Tell your career story (helpful if you’ve switched industries)
- Highlight your strengths without bragging
- Give insight into what motivates you and drives you to do your best
- Talk about your leadership philosophy
- Show off specialized skills or highlight projects of which you’re proud
- Include quotes you like, books you read, or other ways you stay up to date
Here are some great examples:
Your listed jobs:
This section should mirror your resume. You can use personal pronouns but the substance should be similar. Mirroring the resume will aid recruiters and hiring managers who may view your resume and LinkedIn profile in quick succession–they’ll want to see consistency between the two.
Your resume might read: Exceeded 2020 sales quota by 120% through cold-calling, networking, pursuing inbound leads, and consultative selling.
LinkedIn can read: I exceeded my sales quota in 2020 by 120% through a combination of cold-calling, networking, pursuing inbound leads, and consultative selling.
In addition, your resume should contain keywords that appear in the job descriptions to which you’re applying as should your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters use the same words when searching online and when setting up ATS systems to scan resumes.
You don’t have to list everything:
Age discrimination is real and hard to prove during the hiring process. Your LinkedIn profile and resume are marketing documents, not sworn affidavits. You should never lie or embellish beyond the truth, but you don’t have to list everything. The last 10 years of job history are usually fine to include.
This has less to do with what you’ve written and more with your daily activity. The more active you are on LinkedIn (responding to posts, creating your own posts), the more likely you’ll appear higher in searches. LinkedIn’s algorithm promotes active users over more passive ones.
How I can help:
I’ve written LinkedIn profiles for others in the past and am now offering it as a service. If you’d like help rewriting your LinkedIn profile, let me know and we can work together to create something that is updated and truly reflects your personality. Contact me to get started.
Photo credit: Hannah Olinger on Unsplash