In 2021 successful job hunting requires having a LinkedIn profile that’s current and optimized. It’s not enough to simply exist on LinkedIn.
Your goal is to create a profile that attracts attention, says the right things, and is a catalyst to connecting you with people who can help you. LinkedIn can literally get your name in front of thousands of professionals in your industry. If you’re looking for a job, that’s huge!
Something to keep in mind: Employers will read through your profile before deciding to schedule an interview with you.
Here are the first five ways you can make your LinkedIn profile stand out:
l Add a headshot
It’s mind-boggling how many LinkedIn profiles don’t have a headshot, which is the equivalent of wearing a paper bag on your head at an industry tradeshow. Put a face to your name and add a profile picture, a good one. Your profile picture is the first impression people will get of you.
l Create an eye-catching headline
Your headline is right below your name and therefore the first thing your profile visitors will read. It’s your profile most valuable real estate. LinkedIn’s default settings will create your headline with your current position, but you can edit it to whatever you want. You have 120 characters to work with, so write something that will resonate. Envision the text of a billboard advertisement for you and what you do. Instead of just listing your job title, mention your specialty and how you benefited your company or customers. Write for your target audience. Are you speaking to industry peers, customers, or hiring managers?
Example: Inside Sales Representative · SaaS · $68.8 M in Software Sales Generated Since 2016
This tells the reader your job, what you bring to the table, and enhances your credibility.
l Craft an interesting summary
Your LinkedIn summary is your opportunity to tell your career story with up to 2,000 characters. Spend some time crafting your story in a way that makes the reader say to themselves, I got to meet this person! Keep in mind attention spans are short; I don’t recommend you use all 2,000 characters. Keep your summary in the 1,000 – 1,250 characters range.
Your summary shouldn’t be rehashing your experience. Mention what you do well, where you’re a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in and what you’re able to bring to an employer. Keywords here is crucial! Use words strongly connected to your industry, while painting a picture of who you are as a professional.
Example: As an information security analyst at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, I manage the day-to-day flow of information into and out of the hospital. With a focus on database management, my job ensures critical computer systems, medical files, and patient history remain active and never fail. My team and I stay updated on the latest trends in information security to not only keep Rockyview General Hospital safe but also on the cutting edge.
l Highlight your experience
You can do much better than merely cutting and pasting your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. Include past jobs you deem relevant to where you want your career to go and use three to five exciting and impressive bullet points for each job.
Use action words to show your responsibilities and what you accomplished (results) for your employer. Using numbers as much as possible, communicate the impact you’ve made, the initiatives you led, and the revenue influence you had (most important).
Example: Directed launch of 12 new product lines, with total annual revenue of $1.3B.
l Use visual media
Like on Twitter and Facebook, you can add a background banner photo on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn background banner photo should reinforce who you are and visually support your profile’s written portions.
LinkedIn allows you to connect other media to your profile such as YouTube videos, infographics, PowerPoints. Don’t be shy to be creative with relevant media to make your page jump off the screen and demand attention.
Nick Kossovan, a seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape in Canada, offers advice on searching for a job. Send him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.