LinkedIn is like any other social media platform except, unlike many others, you only get one professional profile to sum up your entire career background! With this in mind, filling out your profile for the first time, or updating it after a long time, can feel like a pretty daunting task. The reality is that LinkedIn, like all social media apps, works best when you maximize your profile in order to get the most out of it. So what does a fully completed profile look like and why exactly does it matter? Keep reading to learn more!
1. Create a Summary That Accurately Introduces Who You Are
While you might have the same education, job or connections as someone else, your story is unique to you! This is what you want to tell as you create your profile summary. By way of example, I used to want to shy away from my previous education and work experience in social work now that I have gone down a different career path in fashion styling, however I’ve come to realize that this is part of my story and what’s forged me into the creative I am today. Recognizing how this plays into my personal brand, I highlight this experience within my profile summary as part of my journey. This also helps those viewing my profile to give them further context as to why my experience is so varied across two very different industries.
As you write your summary and the remainder of your profile, be mindful of who your audience is so you can use the right keywords to grasp their attention. Write them into your headline, experience, skills and more.
2. Choose a Headline That Says Something About You
Your headline can be so much more than just a job title or occupation. It can speak to your interests, expertise, who you are and where you’re going. Go from “Sales Associate at Lululemon” to “Sales at Lululemon | Retail Management Student | Branding & Marketing”. Spot the difference? One tells us the person’s position at the company they work at while the other gives a broader picture of this person’s skills, activities and goals.
3. Select a Profile and Cover Picture That Represent You
The selection of your profile and cover photo is a very personal choice, so make it count by allowing it to say something about you. While your profile picture should be a professional photo, it should also be inviting and depict you as you are.
As for the cover picture, this is the banner image at the top of your profile near your profile picture and header. You can be a little more creative with this one – some ideas for cover pictures can be images that represent an aspect of you, like hobbies, extracurriculars, a professional achievement, your original art, the city that you’re from… the list goes on! Other cover picture trends that have been floating around include business card style banner photos that have your name and contact information, as well as collage style cover pictures that combine multiple images to illustrate what you’re all about. You can easily create these unique cover pictures with the help of Canva.
4. Customize Your URL
This is a quick and simple trick to tailoring your LinkedIn profile, and it’s free! To customize your LinkedIn profile URL, check out this tutorial. It may seem minor, but it plays a huge part in reinforcing that personal brand and making it easier for your connections, recruiters and profile visitors to find you.
5. Include Featured Work
Your LinkedIn profile is more than a resume or biography – it can also serve as a portfolio. Under your work experience, you can include links to websites, projects and articles to help display your best past work.
6. Ask For Recommendations
Recommendations are essentially LinkedIn’s version of testimonials. You can invite people from your list of connections to give you a recommendation that will then be displayed on your profile. Recommendations and testimonials are like live reviews – they validate your expert status and give others the certainty that you can indeed deliver.
7. Get to Posting!
Being an active user will result in more potential connections and recruiters visiting your profile. This is good because it exposes you to more industry peers, opportunities and allows you to expand your network.
You can post about what’s going on in your field of work, share an article you found interesting or mention a recent career milestone of yours. If you’re not sure where to begin yet, commenting on or reacting to others’ posts is a simple way to ease into getting comfortable posting online. Follow leaders in your fields of interest to see and interact with what they are posting, and use this to inspire your own activity on the app.
8. Grow on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is all about making connections with real people that will hopefully last you a lifetime. While not everyone you meet will be a hiring manager or future colleague, you can still connect on shared interests and learn from those in your virtual surrounding by joining groups, having discussions, fostering mentorships and friendships! Don’t be afraid to start conversations, sending someone a thoughtful LinkedIn message is a great way to create and maintain professional relationships.
Use LinkedIn Learning to enroll in virtual classes to learn new skills or update old ones. Once completed, you can add the certificates to your profile for recruiters to see.
If you go through these steps and consistently engage on the app, networking on LinkedIn will become second nature to you. Your profile is a tool to help market yourself and connect you to others. Never portray yourself as someone you are not – be authentic and true to you, then the rest will follow!
Still not 100% sure on how to improve your LinkedIn profile? With Style Nine to Five’s LinkedIn Profile Refresh, Founder, Christie Lohr, can help you transform your page to grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
Anita Hosanna is a freelance fashion stylist and creative consultant with a love for community, fashion journalism and fashion tech.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock