LinkedIn has been touted as “the go-to professional social media platform” in the world today. It’s where every recruiter in just about every industry goes to find candidates for open positions. If you don’t have a LinkedIn that is set up, optimized, and ready for viewing, you are missing out on a huge amount of potential networking.
That’s why I want to go over the power of LinkedIn today. Best of all, this social media app is completely free to use and fill out – you have nothing to lose. All you have to do is sign up with an email address and password. It will then prompt you to fill out your profile to the best of your ability so recruiters can get to know more about you.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as a living resume. It’s more engaging, nicer to look at, and more agile than a paper resume. It’s very customary for hiring agencies to look at a LinkedIn profile before they even view your resume today. Leaving your LinkedIn half-completed with inaccurate information will hurt your chances before they even begin.
Therefore, in this chapter, I am going to provide you with strategic tools for not only optimizing your LinkedIn profile, but also using it to your fullest advantage.
Tips for Setting Up a Stellar LinkedIn Profile
- Spend a Lot of Time on Your Profile Picture: Your picture is what most people see when they are deciding if they want to connect with you (or not) on LinkedIn. This picture should be crisp, professionally shot, and high resolution. It’s important to also insert a bit of your personality into this image. If you are working in a creative industry, feel free to have a non-conventional shot. If you don’t know where to begin, look up other people in your industry and see what they have done with their profile picture.
- Turn the Headline Into a Tagline: There is no rule that says the headline at the top of your profile needs to just be a title. Instead, use this space to brand yourself with a name or a tagline. If you are a freelancer, maybe you want to be known as the Freelance Guru. Get creative and tie it all back into your personal branding.
- Make Your Summary a Story: LinkedIn allows users to create a biography of up to 300-words at the top of their profile. Have fun with this. Communicate your strengths and experiences, but do some with a human element. Tell the story of your life so the reader really feels like they know you by the end of it. No one said this part had to be boring!
- Fill Out As Much As Possible: People can get lazy with their LinkedIn profile and end up filling it out partially. If you can’t handle it all in one sitting, fill out the profile in two different windows so you devote as much time as possible to it. Recruiters will be able to tell if you actually put in the work or not.
- List Relevant Skills: What kinds of skills do your competitors list on their LinkedIn profiles? Do your homework and visit their profile so you can learn more about what kind of skills are celebrated in your industry. There is no harm in taking inspiration from your competition.
- Request Endorsements from Friends and Family: Endorsements are known as social proof on LinkedIn. They tell others that you are actually reliable, trustworthy, and proving in your industry. It’s a great way to help further your authentic brand while increasing your chances of being hired.
- Reaffirm Your Passion for Learning: Make sure there are relevant articles or tags on your profile. If you haven’t written a LinkedIn article or linked to an article you were featured in the past six months, you definitely need to show some signs of life. These people want to see you are proactive. Be sure to show them you are on LinkedIn every day actively engaging in your community.
- Follow the Experts: Follow some of the biggest names in your industry so you can see what they are posting/writing about. This will help you stay up-to-date with trends and changes you can write about yourself. Bringing up this intimate knowledge will make you more impressive during the interviewing process as well.
4 Ways to Leverage Your Personal Brand with LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Articles: LinkedIn has become a major place for individuals to contribute to research, conversation, and reporting in their respective industries. With the LinkedIn Articles component, you can publish think pieces on anything you want. All you do is add a title, the body text, keywords, and an image. It’s a great way to position yourself as a thought leader. The articles are free to post and you can post as many as you want per week. Since these articles are a reflection on you as a professional, be sure to carefully proofread them before publishing. You can always hire freelance proofreaders to look over your articles as well.
- Color-Coded Imagery: One of the best ways to hammer home a brand is to pick one-to-two colors that you use on all of your things. If you think of a brand like McDonald’s, the colors red and yellow come to mind. If they ever tried to throw some green into their logo, it would make zero sense. Be sure to include images of yourself as your article covers, profile picture, and cover photo. Try and color coordinate to the best of your ability so your brand becomes more memorable to those who are looking. Pick colors that are relevant to your industry.
- Send Out Messages: LinkedIn Inboxes are some of the most-used messaging portals in the world. Not only can recruiters reach out to you and let you know about a new job, but you can reach out to other people, too. Look up some of your favorite companies and find individuals that are currently employed there. Send them messages asking them about their experience and if they have any recommendations for the hiring process. Sometimes, these people can go tell their bosses about your initiative and make it more likely that you will be hired. If you don’t have any mutual connections with these people, for a small price, you can buy credits that enable you to message people you haven’t connected with it.
- Get Active: No one said you need to log onto LinkedIn every day, look at your profile, and sign off. Get active and show people you are alive! Comment on articles, like posts, strike up conversations, and make your presence known. This is how you can make some of your most advantageous connections on LinkedIn. The more love you show other people, the more likely they will comment and recommend your articles when you post them.
Your Honor Society Mention
Additionally, being able to list Honor Society as part of your extracurricular achievements on your LinkedIn profile is a great way to show recruiters you mean business. The person screening you could very well be a member, too, which will make them that much more likely to hire you and recommend you to their boss. It reflects nicely to be in an accomplishment driven group, since all honor societies are communities of people that go above and beyond to be the very best.
Having this kind of mention on your profile will make you that much more desirable and qualified.