Let’s start with understanding the goals of creating a great LinkedIn profile to GET HIRED (and Get Customers and/or Get Recruits).
Not Just for Getting Hired. Sure, following these ideas will help you be more attractive to Recruiters and Employers. But it also can attract customers, clients, new team members, recruits, and be a great way to self-advocate your successes helping YOU to communicate your value to your employer (i.e. raises!).
Be Discoverable – SEO, SEO, SEO – Search Engine Optimization. When recruiters or employers search for new talent (as well as businesses looking to find experts and talent looking for great places to work) you want your profile at the top of that search list. Pick four to seven keywords that convey your key marketable skills and position. Make sure those words are strategically placed in your profile – use lists and full sentences. Place in your headline, summary, employment, skills section, and references.
Communicates Your Brand – see branding statement below in the Summary section.
Accomplishments – what problems you solved, how and the results. Use numbers as much as possible. You would be surprised as this may be the most overlooked opportunity for a winning profile…now you KNOW how to stand out.
Match Your Resume, and then some – remember your Profile should be an extension of your resume. Consistent with it so recruiters and employers are not wondering if your resume and profile are talking about two different people. Done right your profile can convey so much more than a resume can.
Before you Begin: You will want to turn off notifications before you make big changes to your profile. Otherwise, LinkedIn may post multiple updates to your profile to your connections. Once you have your profile done you will want to turn notifications back on so as you make smaller changes those get shared.
To manage your Notifications settings:
Tap your profile picture.
Tap the Settings icon in the top right corner of the screen.
Tap the Communications tab at the top of the screen.
1. Put in the Time to Make it Awesome
Simply put, the more complete your profile, the better the odds that employers and others will find you. So, completeness is important. Once you are found in a search the opportunity is to connect with that visitor. He or she wants to know what your skills are, where you’ve worked, what products and services you have been part of, what you have accomplished, and what other people think of you. So, don’t get lazy—fill out every single section of your profile. The good news? LinkedIn will actually measure the “completeness” of your profile as you work and offers suggestions on how to make it stronger.
Let me be clear…by “time” I don’t mean hours per week. It may take you a couple hours to start. Then commit 15-60 minutes a week during a job search to keep current and engage your connections. If you are trying to attract customers or recruits…you also may want to spend up to an hour a week keeping things fresh and engaging your audience. The rest of you, keep things updated as your career evolves. A complete and updated profile is 18 times more likely to be found.
2. Get a Custom URL
It’s much easier to publicize your profile with a customized URL (ideally linkedin.com/yourname), rather than the clunky combination of numbers that LinkedIn automatically assigns when you sign up. How to get one? On the Edit Profile screen, at the bottom of the gray window that shows your basic information, you’ll see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL, and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL.
3. Choose a Great Photo
Choose a clear, friendly, and appropriate professional image, with a big friendly smile. Think about it like this…you walk into a room of strangers and who gets your attention…the one with a big warm smile ready to shake your hand – be that person. Not sure what “appropriately professional” means? Take a look around at what the people in your target company, industry sector, or business level are wearing. Match that.
The standard headshot is appropriate for most, and when in doubt – stick with that, however, as the advice above says – look what others in your industry are doing. A photo can go a long way to convey passion, energy, charisma, empathy, and other soft skills that are hard to write about.
4. Write a Headline That Rocks
Your headline doesn’t have to be your job title and company—in fact, especially if you’re looking for jobs, it shouldn’t be. Instead, use that space to succinctly showcase your specialty, value proposition, or your “so what?” The more specific you can be about what sets you apart from the competition, the better.
You only have 120 characters but outside of your name and photo, it’s the most important words on your profile. Its what people see when you connect or engage with them.
Get creative. Speak to your audience and identify the problem you solve, how you fix it and, if you have room, the results you get. Use keywords for transferable hard skills, qualifications or soft skills. Use the “|” symbol (shift + “\”) to separate words.
**Note: NotionPath generally does not recommend you use “In Transition or “Seeking New Opportunity” in your headline. Use it to ask for what you want.
5. Use Your Target Job Descriptions to Your Advantage
Take a look at the job descriptions of the positions you’re after, and dump them into a word cloud tool like Wordle. See those words that stand out? They’re likely what recruiters are searching for when they’re looking for people like you. Make sure those words and phrases are sprinkled throughout your summary and experience.
6. Don’t Waste the Summary Space
“Ideally, your summary should be around 3–5 short paragraphs long, preferably with a bulleted section in the middle. It should walk the reader through your work passions, key skills, unique qualifications, and a list of the various industries you’ve had exposure to over the years.” Career Horizons
Here is a quick list, with more to follow, that we recommend you consider using “Branding Statements” in your Summary
The top portion of the summary should be your personal brand statement. Three sentences:
Identify the “problem” you solve
Explain how you solve that problem
Explain what you want to do next
Share something about yourself – connect emotionally
List your key skills – hard, transferable and soft skills
Share your key (two or three) accomplishments
End thanking the reader for reading your summary and a call to action – call me, email me, connect with me.
7. Use Numbers
“Much like the rest of your resume, you’ll want to highlight past results in your summary. When possible, include numbers and case studies that prove a success. Social media consultant and speaker Wayne Breitbarth, for example, quickly establishes credibility with his audience by stating in his summary’s second sentence: ‘I have helped more than 40,000 businesspeople—from entry-level to CEO—understand how to effectively use LinkedIn.’ Never underestimate the power of a few key stats to impress a reader.” American Express OPEN Forum
8. Be Warm and Welcoming
“The summary section is your prime opportunity to showcase the good stuff about you, with your target audience in mind. Give’em a little chance to get to know you. So, what do you think the first impression is going to be if you craft your summary like some long, pompous speech? Or worse, craft it in the third person? They’re going to think you’re pretentious. And it’s going to be hard for that reviewer to get a feel for your personality and style. Be you here. Keep the brand message in line with all of your other professional marketing materials, but realize that LinkedIn is a platform designed for interaction.” JobJenny
9. Avoid Buzzwords Like the Plague
What do the words responsible, creative, effective, analytical, strategic, patient, expert, organizational, driven, and innovative have in common? Overused and will leave you sounding like every other candidate. Here are some good resources for ideas:
Your resume isn’t just a list of job duties (or, at least, it shouldn’t be)—it’s a place to highlight your best accomplishments. Same goes for your LinkedIn profile: Make sure your experience section is fleshed out with bullet points that describe what you did, how well you did it, and who it impacted.
You shouldn’t use the first person on your resume, but it’s actually fine to do so on LinkedIn (think “I’m a passionate development officer who raised $400,000 for cancer charities last year,” not (“Jackie Stevens is a passionate development officer…”).
12. Get Personal
“Your profile is not a resume or CV. Write as if you are having a conversation with someone. Inject your personality. Let people know your values and passions. In your summary, discuss what you do outside of work. You want people to want to know you.” Forbes
13. Show Your Achievements
Recruiters spend countless hours scouring LinkedIn in search of the high performers. And when they find them, they contact. Knowing this, you’ll serve yourself well to market yourself as a high performer in your summary and experience section (think action words, accomplishments, talking about times you’ve been promoted or hand-picked for projects).
A Final Word
Again, while this article is focused more on “Getting Hired” your LinkedIn Profile can be a Business Development tool to attract customers, show off your products and services – tell a client why they want to work for you. If you are building a team guess what – new recruits want to know who they will work with – use that to attract the best – tell them what you are looking for in a new team member and why they would want to work for you.
Self-Advocacy is hard for most of us. Your profile is a way to help you capture it. Show your value. Advocate for what you want. Attract the people you want to you.
I can hear some of you saying “Oh sure, then I’ll get even more Recruiters calling me”. And you are right, you may, but it also could help to at least be for roles that better fit your skills and accomplishments.