A strong and attractive LinkedIn profile is crucial for connecting with people in your network. Even more important for jobseekers, an outstanding profile will help you engage with your target audience of hiring professionals, including recruiters, HR staff, and hiring managers, as they scan the field of LinkedIn profiles for qualified candidates. Your profile should thus be interesting and attention-grabbing so that these busy professional will take the time to read through all the information in your profile.
LinkedIn is not only a job-seeking tool—it is also a platform where users build their personal brand. Let’s discuss the reasons you should be using LinkedIn to promote yourself and go over some content and structure tips for that will make your LinkedIn profile impressive and attractive to your target viewers.
Why Should You Use LinkedIn?
Despite being one of the most globally popular social media platforms, a lot of people still have no idea what LinkedIn is and how using this tool can help when exploring career options or simply searching for jobs. According to Forbes, LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world—the site was specifically designed to strengthen connections between industry professionals. Because everyone and their grandmother seem to have a LinkendIn profile these days, it is important for both active jobseekers and those not currently seeking employment to be aware of the power and opportunities LinkedIn can offer. Here are some compelling reasons why you should have a LinkedIn profile:
The hiring process has changed dramatically
Gone are the days of want-ads full of great jobs that all candidates apply for on an equal footing. Nowadays, many recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to search for candidates with skills and experiences that match their opening. Employers also check out a candidate’s online presences as a routine part of the hiring process. Recruiters may see applicants who aren’t on LinkedIn or who don’t update and maintain their profiles as not taking their career or professional image seriously. Making your LinkedIn profile complete and current is a must to project a proactive image to employers.
LinkedIn offers a convenient platform for building a professional network
Networking with those in your industry and building strong connections is crucial to success. LinkedIn allows you to search and join groups that connect people with common professional interests. Here you can gain information, learn about job opportunities, and even participate in all kinds of discussions. LinkedIn also lets you stay in contact with people you meet at events or conferences and continue your correspondence.
For all of these reasons and more, LinkedIn is a professional networking platform you NEED to join.
What is the difference between a LinkedIn Profile and a Resume?
You may be wondering how a LinkedIn profile is different from the traditional resume you are used to. Because they both show the background and qualifications of the same candidate, information about previous employment and experiences should be consistent between the two. However, there are some differences between LinkedIn profiles and resumes that you should keep in mind:
LinkedIn profiles and formal resumes, although sharing some similarities, are not created for the same purpose. While you might create multiple resumes for different job positions and customize the information included for each specific position, you only have one LinkedIn profile. Therefore, your LinkedIn profile should be able to reach and speak to a broader audience than your resume.
A formal resume should be brief and the information included should be condensed. Meanwhile, LinkedIn allows you to include up to 2,000 characters for both the Summary and Experience sections. Thus, you can think of it as a long-form resume that gives you more space to illustrate using examples or anecdotes. However, you should keep in mind that no one will want to read a profile summary that is too long and drawn out.
The Main Sections of a LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is the “storefront” of your brand and consists of three main sections: Profile Headline, Profile Summary, and Work Experience. Each section contains different content and requires a different approach to avoid repeating the same information in the same way.
How to Write the “Profile Headline?”
The headline is the most visible section of your LinkedIn profile; it’s also the key for creative a positive first impression and explaining your background. Think of the headline as a slogan for managing your personal brand. This section allow you to use up to 120 characters to describe yourself, so be specific and include specialized skills, qualifications, and experiences. Use strategic keywords to increase your profile hits in Google and LinkedIn searches. Using only overly broad terms such as “marketing,” “accounting” and “recruiting” should be avoided because these terms cannot tell your audiences exactly what you do. Precise titles like “Online Marketing Manager” or “Fund Accounting Manager” both look more professional and will better target your headline to specific viewers.
Tips for Writing the “Profile Summary” Section
The Summary is the most essential section of your profile, and it’s also one of the first things people see when they check out your profile. The LinkedIn Summary provides recruiters an opportunity to find out who you are, what you’re good at, and what you care about. It sums up your job qualifications, professional accomplishments, employment history, and details about your personality and life.
Create a powerful opening statement and optimize your keywords.
Start your Profile Summary with a strong and powerful opening statement. LinkedIn shows only the first three lines of the Profile Summary before readers must click “See More” to check out the whole profile. Thus you have around 200-250 characters (or about 25-42 words) to engage your viewer.
The summary section must also include keywords that are relevant to your industry or profession. Make sure to use targeted and accurate keywords to increase the searchability of your profile.
Include your career trajectory.
Include not only your current job title and the company you are working for, but also show the progression of your career. Recruiters and prospective employers want to see why you moved from one company to another, and will want to view your career plan so that they can assess whether you will be a good fit for their company.
Include your most important accomplishment.
Include one of your greatest accomplishments in the Summary section. Although details about this accomplishment should appear in your Experience section, place your greatest and most relevant accomplishment in the summary section to grab your reader’s interest
Attach media and links that highlight your work (if applicable).
Because we live in an era where a lot of our lives are recorded and posted online, you can use this to your advantage by posting clickable samples of your work in the form of videos, images, or audio files, or as a URL link. If you are a content creator, marketer, or any creative field, consider attaching a brief portfolio of your work here. Or perhaps there is video footage of you giving a talk at a conference. This kind of media allows the viewer to get to know you and your skills and achievements that much faster.
Tips for Writing Your “Experience” Section
If you are currently a jobseeker, this is one of the most important sections of your LinkedIn profile.
Add descriptions for each item in your Work Experience section.
LinkedIn gives you up to 2,000 characters to describe each job position. Start this section with a summary or an overview of what your job entails using 2-3 sentences, and make sure to include a lot of details about your last 3-5 positions and focus on achievements and responsibilities. Keywords are important here because you want recruiters and hiring managers to be able to find you.
Include quantifiable information.
Recruiters want to see candidates who can achieve solid results. When writing this section of your LinkedIn profile, describe your achievements using quantifiable information, such as numbers and facts, instead of listing only general job responsibilities. For example: “Increased sales revenue by 3.4% between 2006 and 2008 fiscal years.”
Other Useful Tips to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile
Keep your page active and update it often.
A good way to stay active on LinkedIn is to frequently update your status. Sharing interesting links and articles can stimulate conversation and interaction between you and your connections. When your connections like, share, or comment on your posts, their connections can also see your posts in their feeds, which increases the chances of industry professionals getting to know more about you.
Proofread your profile.
Recruiters and hiring managers get first impressions of candidates by checking out their LinkedIn profile, and the LinkedIn profile is a reflection of a candidates’ personality. Writing mistakes can signal to a hiring manager that you are careless, and even the smallest typos or spelling errors on your profile can easily undermine your chances of getting that job that perfectly fits you.
Therefore, it is important that you proofread all your LinkedIn profile sections before making it public. Luckily, Wordvice’s Premium Editing Service is designed specifically for job applicants who want their Linkedin profiles to look more professional. Our editors not only proofread for grammar, spelling, mechanics, and natural flow of communication, but also provide substantive comments about organization, content, transitions, and other language issues. See our Premium Editing Service page for more information.
However you decide to “brand” yourself in your profile, if you apply the tips discussed in this article, you will find that Linked in is a flexible tool that can powerfully enhance your job prospects. Use your LinkedIn profile wisely and you will find yourself more connected and engaged with the right people to take you where you want to go in your career.