If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, it’s time to change that.
LinkedIn is a go-to source for employers looking for prospective employees and job candidates and can be the first point of contact to help you land your dream job. Linking to your profile is becoming more popular — and more essential — during the job search and online job application process.
Regardless of your primary field of employment, you can use your LinkedIn profile as a powerful digital business card. And, just as with a paper business card, designing it the right way can get you noticed.
Fill out your profile completely
Complete profiles are 18 times more likely to be visited by other LinkedIn users.
As you build your LinkedIn profile, the platform provides you with a handy status bar to gauge your progress. Don’t stop until your profile is completed enough to qualify for “All-Star” status.
Key steps include:
- Filling out all optional prompts contained in the standard profile.
- Adding images, including both a professional-quality profile picture and a background image.
- Including 5-6 achievements in your summary field.
- Requesting a custom URL that includes your name in the link you’ll use to share your profile.
- Suggesting and managing your skills endorsements.
Build out the right profile content
While you’re filling out all optional fields in your LinkedIn profile, make sure you’re providing the highest-value information. Here are a few tips:
- Consider your ideal audience. Let’s say somebody was in a position to offer you a dream job. What would impress them most? Don’t just list your prior experience, include your accomplishments and the impacts of your efforts.
- Whenever possible, include accurate numbers that help to emphasize your trustworthiness, like “assisted in projects with a combined budget of over $30 million.”
- Stay away from buzzwords or industry-speak. You may be “goal-oriented” and “innovative,” but if those are the only words you use to describe yourself, your profile will read like everyone else’s. The key is to stand out.
- Refer to yourself in the first person. Remember, LinkedIn is a social media platform like Facebook, only specialized for career-related networking, so it’s understood that each piece of information in your profile is something you wrote to represent yourself. Go ahead and use “I” or “me” when describing your experience.
- Share your personality. While LinkedIn is used for professional purposes, everybody has their own personality, even at work. Reading your profile should give other LinkedIn users a feel for what it’s like to work with you.
And keep in mind there’s no need to overdo it! If you look through your profile and get the feeling that you’re overselling yourself, feel free to edit down your content to the most relevant information.
With 250 million monthly active users, LinkedIn gathers a lot of data on what works — and what doesn’t. The results are often surprising, but if you really want to make your profile as good as it can possibly be, here are some valuable “tricks of the trade,” including:
- If possible, use a professional-quality headshot as your profile picture. Not possible? Fake it! See if you can get a friend to help you take a few pictures in professional dress with favorable lighting. Interestingly, profile pictures with all white backgrounds tend to enhance your credibility.
- Try an attention-getting headline. You are a brand, so the headline space in your LinkedIn profile can contain your own version of “UPS: Moving at the Speed of Business,” a tagline that describes who you are and what you do.
- Use language from ideal job descriptions. Do you have a dream job in mind? Look at jobs in that field, and find one — even if you’re not yet qualified for it — that especially speaks to you. How does the language used in the job description mirror some of your work history? Find ways to speak about your accomplishments and experiences in a way that echoes your ideal position.
- Include a current position if you can. Not currently employed full time? Add any part-time positions you might be working in. In between positions? Include any volunteer experience you’re currently involved in, or any entrepreneurial projects you may be engaged with. Showing that you’re doing anything sends a better message than limiting yourself to what you deem most relevant.
Take it out for a spin
Now that you have a LinkedIn profile, it’s time to use it. LinkedIn shows that engaged users are more likely to get noticed by peers and employers alike. Here’s how:
- Connect with as many people in your professional network as you can, but avoid adding strangers. If you notice a particular shared interest among people in your network — even if it’s not strictly a professional interest — join or start up a LinkedIn Group to make it easier to share information.
- Send your profile link out to friends, family and your professional network using email, text message and other social platforms.
- Ask people you trust to leave a recommendation on your profile that includes information about their working relationship with you. Stay dedicated to this task, be strategic about what skills and characteristics you need your recommendations to demonstrate and remove any recommendations that don’t do a good job promoting you.
- Participate. Update your status often, and share information such as blogs, presentations, videos and memes that are relevant to your desired career. Even better, create your own content — being the author of blogs, presentations, videos and memes is a great way to get noticed.
- Return the favor. If you feel qualified to endorse a skill listed on somebody else’s profile, do it.
Share it with an expert
Still unsure if your new LinkedIn profile measures up? Ask an expert for their advice. Asking for help is a fantastic way to start up a conversation that could lead to a great new position. Aerotek recruiters across the company are available to evaluate your LinkedIn profile and make recommendations. Reach out today.
If you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search. And consider contacting an expert career advisor: Our recruiters are available to provide advice you can use.