Whether you’re a working professional or an upcoming graduate about to enter the working world, LinkedIn is a must! Create a profile on LinkedIn and it will help you obtain your professional goals.
LinkedIn walks you through setting up your profile, step by step. That’s the easy part. Next, polish your profile so you stand out on LinkedIn. Like a resume, it should show your work history, education, professional and civic affiliations, positions held, certifications, and so on.
For starters, look at other profiles and note what you like and want to use as a model. Some people know how to tell a story and put themselves in the best possible light. Your profile will be seen by many so take the time to refresh and review it from time to time.
Here are tips for how to stand out on LinkedIn.
1. Turn off the Activity Broadcast before you make any changes to your profile. You probably don’t want all the changes to be sent to everyone while it;s a work in progress. If left on, your updates will appear on your “wall” as “update notices” and those who you’re currently connected with will see the update feeds. Wait to broadcast changes until you’re satisfied with your profile.
To turn off broadcasting, go to Settings>Privacy Controls>Turn On/Off Your Activity Broadcast. Uncheck the box to turn it off.
Once your changes are complete, proofread your entire profile and have someone else review it. Check for spelling and grammatical errors and that it all makes sense and is clear. When you’re happy with the final revision, you can either keep the Activity Broadcast off or turn it back on.
2. Add your picture to your profile. It’s human nature that we gravitate to pictures more than a gray box. Have a professional picture taken. It should be current and in business attire. You’re building your brand so think about how you want to be seen by your potential companies or clients. A headshot adds another powerful element to your profile, not to mention the fact that you’re 14 times more likely to get viewed if you have a picture.
3. Include a summary to make a strong first impression. This is where you can show some personality. What do you want people to know about you professionally? Tell your story. Describe yourself, summarizing your professional career and highlighting your strengths or what drives you.
Bonus: Add “specialties” at the bottom of your summary to capture keywords that are not already in your profile. It’s an effective way to get found.
4. Describe each role and highlight accomplishments for each position. Use industry terms that describe and demonstrate what you do. Your job title and company name alone won’t make you stand out. Give your profile that punch. Paint a picture of who you are and your area of expertise.
5. Customize the public profile URL. Instead of leaving the default URL given to you, which will look something like http://linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname4837928-hjihuhusj, customize it.
Clean it up by removing the numbers and letters following your name. Then, add it to your email signature and business cards. Go to Settings>Edit Public>Profile>Customize Your Public Profile URL.
6. Send personalized invitation requests. LinkedIn has a default message for when you send an invitation to connect. It’s generic, impersonal, and forgettable. Instead, add a personal message to your request that mentions where you last met or the reason for wanting to connect. Maybe be so bold as to ask them for a cup of coffee.
Unlike a traditional resume, your LinkedIn profile is more likely to stand out if you spend some time on it and give it life. Your LinkedIn profile will get an infinite amount of views depending on how you set it up and how you use it. It’s much more powerful than a resume.
Stay tuned for more tips on improving your LinkedIn profile.
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Uli Stewart is the recruiting manager at Vantage Point Recruiting.