Your LinkedIn Profile; Why it needs to look just as good as your CV.
According to a 2018 survey by CareerBuilder, a whopping 70% of Hiring Managers admit to checking social media (including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter &/or Instagram) prior to meeting a candidate for an interview.
Whilst in an ideal world, this would not create any preconceived notions about who we might be as an employee, whether they intend to or not, this easy access to essentially personal information often sees a judgement formed.
You can attempt to make your accounts as private as possible sure, but when it comes to your LinkedIn profile, it can be a useful tool to successfully play the game rather than try to beat it.
So what makes a good LinkedIn profile, and how can you set up your profile to enhance your career prospects?
Consider the following:
For what reason have you decided to create a LinkedIn profile? This should be the first aspect you consider when building your LinkedIn masterpiece. Is it acting as your online CV? Are you using it to sell your services? Are you using it only for professional networking?
Whatever your objective, use this to direct your content and help your viewers easily deduce what you’re about whilst painting yourself, your career and your skills in the best possible light.
Mentioned briefly above, ensuring your profile looks professional is an absolute must. One of the biggest mistakes people make using LinkedIn is mistaking the platform as a social media page similar to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and using it accordingly.
LinkedIn is a professional networking tool, not a social platform so whatever you put into your profile needs to be chosen on that basis. If you wouldn’t put it on your CV, it probably shouldn’t be on your profile.
Which leads us to content. Getting your content right will set you apart from others similar to yourself in your industry, so don’t rush through it. Consider:
Profile Picture: needs to be professional and ideally a well lit / professionally taken headshot. If you don’t have a pro headshot then choose the best picture you have, paying attention to lighting, background, your facial expression and the overall message it sends to your audience. Duck faces will not cut it.
Language: Does the language you use reflect your industry and sell yourself in the best possible light? Is your grammar correct? Is it consistent? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself when writing your profile. Your LinkedIn profile is an excellent opportunity to show off your intelligence and ability to write well to an audience that is searching you out, so use this to your advantage as much as possible.
Title / Headline: The LinkedIn default is to grab your job title, but you can edit this to make yourself stand out. Our advice is to keep it descriptive yet concise– i.e. “Associate Director: Marketing & Advertising” is better than just “Associate Director”. The human eye wanders from one thing to the next extraordinarily quickly so you want to both grab attention and ensure a reader understands what you do within a few seconds.
Your Headline can be a little more descriptive and contain a bit of flair, but again focus on using appropriate keywords.
Summary: Again you need to be descriptive, but concise. In this section you need to outline your best achievements, areas of your career you have the most experience in or the best attributes of your product. We generally recommend using bullet points to outline these or short, concise paragraphs.
Work History: Whilst you can use LinkedIn as your online CV, it does not need to list every single job you’ve ever held. Just list those that are most relevant to your profile.
Attention to Detail: Whilst you don’t have to fill in every section of the LinkedIn profile, the more you can fill in that highlights your career, sense of social responsibility and overall persona, the better. The skills & expertise section is a good one to focus on as you can add up to 50 areas which will help people find you.
Utilise Recommendations: Get colleagues, connections, clients, past employers or whoever else is relevant to your career to endorse you and write a recommendation. This always adds a little bit of extra wow factor and shows people that others believe in your skills.
Be Connected: LinkedIn has its very own blog function that you can utilise to highlight your expertise and opinions. You can also consider adding in links to your own blog or website. Either way, making meaningful status updates and comments on other’s updates, will show off your industry expertise.