Don’t Let Your LinkedIn Profile be a Waste of Digital Space: 5 Tips for Improving Your Presence
When it comes to professional social media networks, LinkedIn is the place to be for expanding your contacts and discovering new opportunities. And with close to 500 million+ users, finding ways to stand out from the crowd is key.
I help our employees – from recent grads to seasoned professionals – spruce up their presences and maintain robust, high quality LinkedIn profiles. An important tool for WinterWyman recruiters, LinkedIn is equally essential for jobseekers at any career level.
My number one tip is to put in the time! Consider scheduling an hour in your calendar in the coming days to focus on your profile and remind yourself to look back at this blog. Then, set a quarterly reminder to stay on track.
Ready to get started? Here are my suggestions:
1. Keep your photo current.
Just like “real life” first impressions, your profile photo is somewhere to show your audience who you are. There’s a chance you could meet your LinkedIn connections in-person someday – especially if you’re job searching – so make sure they’ll recognize you.
The dos and don’ts of profile photos:
- No selfies.
- No sunglasses.
- No half cropped images (yes, I’m talking about that pic where you looked nice and tan from vacation but your significant other or bestie is taking up half the space).
- Yes to taking a moment to touch up your makeup & hair, throw on a favorite accessory or add a jacket to your outfit. Remember – be professional, but stay true to who you are.
Don’t have a headshot you love? I’m sure your phone takes a quality picture, so find a well-lit area and have a friend or colleague snap a few pictures. If it’s clear, clean and current, you’ll be good to go. Remember to ask your friend if they would like you to reciprocate.
2. Maximize the opportunity for personality.
Did you know you can change the photo at the top of your LinkedIn page? That “background photo” is a great way to welcome people into your profile. Yes, LinkedIn is a professional network, but adding personality is key (and so important that I’ll mention it again in tips #3 and #4). An image can take your profile from basic to inviting quickly. Use a personal photo from a trip you took or a hobby you enjoy. Don’t have one of those? Do a Google search to find something that showcases your individuality.
3. Custom Headline + Focused Summary = Profile Gold
Your headline is one of the first things someone sees when you connect with them.
Tell people who you are and what you can offer in the shortest amount of words possible while using your unique voice (I know, this is harder than it sounds).
Once you’ve checked the headline off your list, switch gears and focus on your summary. As a reminder, your summary isn’t the same as your job description. In fact, it should be quite different. Your summary is your story, so give it some personality. Ask yourself – who am I talking to? Is it your future boss? Job candidates? Recruiters? Industry influencers? Write to that audience. Write about your experiences, how you got where you are today and what you can offer to your connections. Keep it real. Write in the first person and please, please leave out the buzzwords! Detail-oriented, strong problem-solver, has worn many hats – they are overdone and distracting, and don’t tell the real story of who you are.
4. It’s okay to humble brag.
Have you been quoted in the press recently? Maybe written a blog since the last time you’ve updated your LinkedIn profile? Share it! A little self-promoting shows your audience you are an expert in your field. Catalogue your recent publications, honors, awards, or volunteer experience and publish those details on your profile. People often leave them blank, but these things really pull together the story about who you are, what you can offer and what’s important to you.
5. Welcome opportunities to connect.
I don’t just mean connect with anyone and everyone in your field or location, but actually make connections. Read, comment, like and share content. LinkedIn is a social media platform, so get social. Share content about your company, comment on a publication you read on LinkedIn Pulse or post interesting articles that relate to your field.
Don’t be shy when it comes to recommendations. Leave a past colleague a recommendation and ask them to return the favor. Dig deep into your network of people who could recommend you and don’t be afraid to ask. Your audience wants to know who you are and what better way to learn than through the words of someone else’s experience.