Updated: May 13, 2020
With more than 600 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is the most powerful professional social network available. If you are serious about landing your dream job, it is critical you have a LinkedIn profile that stands out...for all the right reasons!
Not convinced? Well here are some more stats that you can't ignore:
92% recruiters use LinkedIn every day
63 million hiring decision makers are on LinkedIn
20+ million jobs are posted to LinkedIn every year
It isn't enough to just have a LinkedIn page, you need to ensure it is optimised, up-to-date, and active. Here are 10 simple ways to ensure your LinkedIn profile stands out:
1. Have a professional profile photo - profiles with pictures get 21 times more hits than those that don't. So it is super important for you to have a profile picture, and it needs to be a corporate photo. By that I mean a photo that represents you in a business way. You don't need to rush out and spend a heap of money to get a professional photo - you can easily create a great photo using your smartphone.
2. Include a visual banner - this is the strip that is situated behind your photo. The standard one is a blue background with white connected dots. This is the place you can put a visual statement about yourself. Select a picture that depicts your job or your favourite hobby or place to go. Be as creative as you want to be, just remember this is a professional social channel and so you want to make a professional impression.
3. Create an eye-catching brand statement - your headline is the first thing someone will read about you. These are the words directly placed under your photo. The default will be your job title and organisation. This is an opportunity for you to state your brand. Consider using terms someone would use to search for someone like you. For example, Senior Marketing Manager, Recruitment professional, and so on. You have 120 characters so use them wisely.
4. Write a personal summary that talks to the reader - this is your opportunity to tell your story. Unlike your resume, you should use lots of personal pronouns and write as though you were talking to someone in front of you. Outline what differentiates you and why you are the best candidate. Keep it professional and include your specialties.
5. Customise your personal URL - your URL is the web address used for your LinkedIn profile. The default is usually some iteration of your name with a host of letters and numbers following. This not only looks awful, but it will also impact how you rank in searches. Try to shorten it to your name and if you can't get your name think about a version of your name that is available, like include your middle initial or middle name. Make it relevant and neat.
6. Start connecting with people you know - LinkedIn is more than just an overview of your skills and experience. LinkedIn is a powerful networking site where you can stay in contact with people you know and extend your network more broadly. Then if one of your contacts hears about a job, you are already on their radar.
7. Include your skills and ask for endorsements - this is an opportunity for you to nominate your areas of expertise, skills and experience. You can highlight your top three which will be displayed at as a priority on the list, and then a host of other skills following. Once you have nominated your skills you need to ask for people to endorse to you. That is how you will really build your credibility, because having others rate your skills is a way to show how others perceive you.
8. Ask for recommendations - recommendations are another key way to gain credibility. Think of recommendations like the star rating for your favourite online product. When you read a positive review of something you are considering buying, you are more likely to click the "buy now" button. Try and get a minimum of 5 recommendations and get them from a range of people throughout your career - managers, peers, customers, subordinates, etc.
9. Keep your page active - LinkedIn is a powerful way for you to stay relevant and in people's awareness. To do this you need to spend time writing posts, sharing articles, liking other people's posts and sharing.
10. Maximise your profile strength - "All Star" is king. Linkedin will rate your profile strength and gauge it for you. This rating is private to only you and is displayed on your dashboard. Ultimately you want to try and get a complete profile so you don't overlook any important information that hiring managers might find valuable.
If your profile is done well it will prove to be a proactive career accelerator. You could literally be sitting at the beach drinking a cocktail and looking for a job. Wherever you are, having a complete and appealing LinkedIn profile will ensure you are accessible to recruiters and hiring managers anytime and anywhere.