In an age where LinkedIn currently has over 610 million active members, the world’s largest professional network refuses to be just another bookmarked site. Boasting the membership of 90 million senior-level influencers and 92% of Fortune 500 companies, LinkedIn remains one of the fastest-growing social media networks. In the world of recruiting, more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool to search and find prospective candidates.
Despite these statistics, millions of users fail to take full advantage of LinkedIn as a resource for job searching, networking and recruiting. Missing profile photos, lazy job descriptions, and informal activity can be fatal to your reputation as a reliable candidate, connection, or company. A complete and active LinkedIn profile exhibits skills like detail-orientation, organization, writing ability, and willingness to adapt to modern-day networking platforms. In 2016, the average LinkedIn user fell between 25 and 34 years old. Maintaining an up-to-date LinkedIn profile allows users to connect with individuals of each and every age, industry, and background. Contrary to popular belief, perfecting your LinkedIn profile does NOT reflect a desire to leave your current job and will not communicate to your employers that you are open to a career change. It does, however, reflect your desire to be relevant and engaged in whatever position you currently hold.
LinkedIn not only proves an individual’s aptness to participate in a contemporary network, but it can also help determine one’s eagerness and hunger for professional progress. Whether you are a college student, a working professional, or a small business owner, LinkedIn allows you to expand your network with the click of a button.
Social Selling Evangelist Jill Rowley stated: “LinkedIn is no longer an online resume. It’s your digital reputation.” If your LinkedIn profile is suffering from outdated or careless information, your digital and professional reputation is likely suffering as well. Here are five ways to build a winning profile in the game of LinkedIn.
Invest the Time
Invest the necessary time into LinkedIn to determine its most useful features and build a solid profile. Crafting a tailored profile can be a tedious process that involves writing, linking, and plenty of proofreading, but is an investment into your professional presence. When visiting a user’s profile, the initial impression is made on the Individual’s headline, about section, and activity. View this section as a business card which includes your name, title, and contact information. Carefully consider your headline and title and ensure an updated current position and location. When adding contact information, refrain from adding links to unprofessional Twitter and Facebook accounts. Rather, include portfolio links, phone numbers, and preferred email addresses.
LinkedIn’s customizable features make it simple to edit and remove information at any time to ensure the profile details can remain updated and accurate. When crafting your “About” summary, use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself to your profile visitors while maintaining professionalism. This summary allows you to share your career experience along with personal details and accomplishments that may help you connect to your visitors on a deeper level.
Choose a Profile Photo
Research has shown that LinkedIn profiles with profile photos receive 21x more views and 36x more messages than profiles without. Your profile photo should be updated, high-resolution, and void of distracting colors or backgrounds. Choosing a LinkedIn profile photo should be a strategic and carefully made decision. Photos should exhibit credibility, professionalism, and likability. When choosing a profile photo, you should ensure that you are the only individual in the photo and that your photo is clear and close-up.
Stray away from filtered selfies and opt for a photo taken by someone other than yourself with the right lighting, background, and attire. Filters should be used very carefully and should not detract from the photo’s visibility or professionalism.
Banner photos can be used to aid in professionally branding your business or skill. Use company colors or logos to associate you with your current position or company in order to stand out and add visual flair to your LinkedIn profile.
Craft Your Job Descriptions
Job descriptions are a critical factor in creating a thorough and professional LinkedIn profile. Your job descriptions should highlight the skills and expertise utilized in your former position and should spotlight positive results and accomplishments using numbers and figures.
Job descriptions should be seen as an opportunity to advertise your achievements and abilities in a way that complements your previous job titles. Dedicate time to carefully writing detailed and supported responsibilities and successes in order to be attractive and qualified to potential profile visitors. Make your profile worth finding by incorporating specific industry keywords.
Along with job descriptions, don’t skimp on highlighting the volunteer experience, skills, and accomplishments sections. Instead, accurately describe each experience. You never know which of these items may resonate with your visitors!
Ask for Recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations are an easy way to show support from former employers, colleagues, or friends. LinkedIn makes it simple to request a recommendation from one of your connections. Simply visit their profile, scroll to the “recommendations” section, and click “ask for a recommendation.” Choose individuals who will be able to spotlight specific strengths that you may not have mentioned in your job descriptions. Be particular with who you may ask to participate, and be sure to return the favor either beforehand or after.
Because 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate candidates, recommendations should be used both strategically and selectively and should reinforce your professional reputation. Recommendations can validate your profile claims and can serve as brief references to help you stand out and add credibility.
Finally, a critical factor to a winning LinkedIn profile is frequent and intentional activity. LinkedIn activity can assist in creating a personal and professional presence. Through posting, commenting, and liking, you are exposing yourself to different audiences who may see and visit your profile. Use status updates for industry-relevant content and comments for engaging and networking with others.
When short of content, search for relevant postings and share, like, and comment. When commenting, remain professional and courteous. Use LinkedIn activity as a way to stay relevant in your industry while networking with those outside it. One simple comment or post can lead to a life-long connection.
How are you creating a winning profile in the game of LinkedIn?