If you are someone who has made a LinkedIn profile just to fulfil the bare minimum obligation of any professional, then this article is for you. Every employer, consultant and even the biggest recruiter are on LinkedIn, and most of the time they consider LinkedIn as the first source for shortlisting potential candidates. It becomes vital building a powerful and impressive LinkedIn profile.
People often get confused with so many social media platforms in the digital space. No wonder, they start treating all of them same. But every social media platform is different and so is LinkedIn.
Before we move further, let’s understand what is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social media platform built specifically for employers and employees. It helps you to build a network among various professionals and companies.
LinkedIn offers tonnes of features and sections to carve out a trustworthy and creative profile. So, take your time and start building your LinkedIn profile section by section.
Enough said and done!
Let’s see how to build a LinkedIn profile right way. I will take the top to down approach as it looks on any typical LinkedIn profile dashboard.
Create a meaningful LinkedIn profile URL
Most of us miss on this point while building the LinkedIn profile. By default, LinkedIn attaches jargon number with your profile URL. Your profile URL will have your first name, last name and a random number.
Are you satisfied with above URL structure? At least, I am not.
Firstly, it ‘s hard to remember, and secondly, it looks odd if some potential recruiter contacts you referencing this kind of URL structure. Get a personalised URL structure per your need and availability.
The most obvious and desirable URL could be the combination of your first name and last name. But unfortunately, there are billions of users out there, and it is very much possible that you may struggle with the availability of perfect combination.
I would suggest you try a couple of variations like:
First Name + Middle Name + Last Name
First Name + (First Letter of your last name)
Last Name + First Name
(First letter of the last name) + First Name
There are endless possibilities. You keep trying unless you get one. This exercise won’t take you more than 5 minutes before you come up with similar kind of URL as mentioned below.
Update LinkedIn profile picture & background photo
LinkedIn gives you interminable possibilities of jazzing up your LinkedIn profile with a decent profile, background photo, media, links, etc. But wait! Do not get overexcited and show your love towards your cat via your profile picture or background photo.
“Picture speaks a thousand words.”
I am not sure about anywhere else, but for sure you will exhibit one lasting impression on other networking professionals and recruiters with a professional looking shot.
Do not skip this step. No LinkedIn profile picture will keep people at bay from following or contacting you. They may think why somebody would hide on a professional platform. Remember, LinkedIn is no Facebook!
A few years back, LinkedIn introduced a feature to update background photo to pop up your profile even better. Why not update the background picture matching with the area of work or interest?
Here also, you may like to avoid family pics or even your love to things in your personal space.
Be innovative with the headline
LinkedIn has provided you with 120 characters to be creative with your headline. Do not only mention your job position. Recruiters search people with a set of keywords which are related to the job requirements.
It would be a good idea to write a keywords rich headline covering your area of expertise. Also, mention your current employer, education and location.
You can consider your LinkedIn headline as the prologue of any story. Give people enough reason to scroll through your complete LinkedIn profile.
Write a killer summary of your LinkedIn profile
People take the shortcut and copy and paste their resume or CV in the summary section. Do not ever do that. Again, you have around 2000 character to tell more about yourself. Be precise and use the space well.
Address as a first person. Do not write something like this – “He is a software professional working in a multinational company.”. This type of writing is a big no-no. You build a lot of connection when you talk as the first person such as ‘I’.
As I told you earlier, include all the keywords which you would like to target for future job prospects. Of course, it should be in line with your job profile.
Showcase your experience in the right way
This is the place where you should be straight forward and mention your experience in a bulleted form. Personally, I do not like paragraphed version of experience summary as it is hard to grasp the technical details quickly. Most of the time, people who are reading your experience summary are not your Facebook friends, so they may not spend more than few seconds.
If you have achieved any significant milestones during that period, then do mention it.
Now you may ask me; I have good years of experience but only in one company. What do I do? My experience summary looks shorter than I have accomplished in my career.
You might have worked in only one organisation, but with the passage of time, you must have acquired various positions. Mention your experience in the chronological order of your different posts in the same company.
You can also go ahead one step further and add media with your experience summary. Media could be a link to a video, presentation, blog, etc. All these attachments will make your profile catchy and may hold a potential recruiter a little longer.
Add featured skills and endorsements
Seriously, do you need endorsements for your skills? Yes, you should, if you are on LinkedIn. People do cling to numbers which show up along with your skills. Having no endorsements will make your profile look doubtful.
Mention key skills which you may like people to endorse. If your network is big, then people usually endorse. But if you want to speed up the process then there are other ways. For instance, start endorsing people within your network. It is likely that they will endorse you back for your skills.
Another way is to write an email or message to people whom you know. They will endorse you for your skills.
Don’t be shy asking recommendations
Recommendations on LinkedIn from your workers, customers, clients, etc. bring in a lot of credibility and trust in your LinkedIn profile. But I have seen people who are hesitant and shy asking recommendations from people with whom they have worked.
What is wrong in asking recommendation if you have made any contribution? Come on! Do not feel shy or hesitate. There is no harm in reaching out to people. If not all then some of them may recommend you.
Now before you go ahead and ask for a recommendation, it’s important to personalise your message. Typically, LinkedIn throws a standardised message in front of you. But it is wise to reconsider and write a personalised message asking for a recommendation.
Mention your accomplishments
The LinkedIn profile gives you enough opportunities to exhibit your qualities in the form of accomplishments. You can add a variety of accomplishments such as publications, awards, certifications, courses, patents, etc.
Do not be lazy and take out some time filling up applicable sections. This is a one-time job, but it will benefit you forever. People like if you are audacious about yourself. So be one.
Follow right people & groups
It goes without mention that you need people in your LinkedIn profile. For a start connect minimum 300 people and later build it. I am personally very picky when it comes to networking with people.
Why add someone from restaurant business if you are a mechanical engineer? So, think about it. You do not want to crowd your LinkedIn profile.
I have seen people very particular about the number of connections in their network. But honestly, that doesn’t matter at all. Network with individuals who mean to you and your profession.
Have you explored a section called groups in LinkedIn? If not, then I suggest you explore the heaps of opportunities hiding behind groups. There are groups which are specially made for people looking for employment in some sector.
Groups also give you opportunities of connecting with clients, influencers, etc. in your niche. Isn’t it amazing?
Be active and share relevant posts
I wrote enough about how to build a powerful and impressive LinkedIn profile. Now what? Sit with it or do something with your profile? I would suggest you engage people within your network and even in the group.
Post something valuable and relevant from your niche. You can even like and share a post of someone who is an influencer on your LinkedIn profile page. It will attract the attention of many people, and they might approach you.
Also, you may want to visit your profile time to time and edit it if there any changes in your credentials or experience. Chances are higher that you will come up in the top results of searches which are done by various recruiters.
Time has changed and so has the face of job search. You cannot rely alone on job portals since they merely help you building possible connections. Even if you apply for a job in some company, then the very first thing a recruiter does is to go to your LinkedIn profile.
An incomplete LinkedIn profile will make your chances of shortlisting or selection a distant dream.
Did I miss anything in particular? If yes, then you are welcome to provide your thoughts and suggestions for improving the LinkedIn profile.
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