Never underestimate the value of your LinkedIn profile.
When we first tackled this issue last month, we realized that there are a lot of experts and professionals out there who understand the importance of a solid LinkedIn profile. It’s the social media version of your resume and every detail – picture included – tells colleagues and prospective employers a wealth of information about you.
Therefore, you have to approach your profile with a sense of intentionality and reverence.
In our first post in this two-part series, we talked about the importance of your photos, avoiding using sophomoric status updates and providing profile visitors with an up-to-date job history section that matches what your CV says.
In this post, our advice continues with some additional insight from experts with first-hand knowledge of what works and doesn’t work for LinkedIn profiles.
No. 1 Focus on a Great Title
Most of us see the title on our LinkedIn page and think it’s the place where you put your current job.
Doing so is selling yourself short and not giving yourself credit for the extent of your expertise, says Becky Boyd, a vice president of marketing services at PR firm MediaFirst.
“One of the most important things on LinkedIn is the title you use that shows with your profile picture,” Boyd told us. “A descriptive title says a lot more about what I do and what I excel in than just saying, ‘VP.’”
Boyd practices what she preaches, too. Instead of using “VP of MediaFirst” in her title, she uses the following descriptor: “Raising Awareness & Building Thought Leadership in Supply Chain, Material Handling, Logistics, IT, Transport, & Mfg.”
No. 2 Utilize Alumni Networks While You’re in College
You can get a head start on building your professional network by connecting with your college or university’s alumni network on LinkedIn, says Michelle Ahn, a manager at Campus Philly, a Philadelphia-based career resource for college students.
She suggests using LinkedIn’s reverse search feature, through which you can see alumni from your school and then further specify your search.
“You can then narrow down alumni by location, industry, and company to find alumni who are working at their dream company or job,” she said. “This empowers them to make the cold email even more effective – alumni love helping other alumni – and really gives them a leg up in the hiring process.”
Perhaps most important of all factors in this LinkedIn trick is that you’re connecting with an actual human being and aren’t at the mercy of an algorithm that’s crawling resumes.
“The end goal is to always get your resume in the hands of a human and not a computer that’s auto searching your resume for keywords,” Ahn said.
#3 Take a Granular Approach to Overhauling Your Profile
Assuming that most of us already have a LinkedIn profile, taking a look at each part of it at a granular level will most likely result in a complete rewrite of what you have on your page.
The goal is to achieve LinkedIn’s “All-Star” level of profile rating, not only because it means you’ve filled out your profile with excellent information, but also because it can increase your job prospects, says Marcin Nieweglowski, a LinkedIn trainer and part of design firm Little Big Make.
“According to LinkedIn data, a professional profile with the All-Star rating is 40 times more likely to be found by others, so this is a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from others,” he said.
His tips for doing a proper overhaul of your profile include:
- Choose a photo that embodies your personality
- Your resume section must be a compelling story
- Create a vanity URL (linkedin.com/in/firstname_lastname)
- Be judicious about who you add to your network
- Find your target audience by following hashtags
No. 4 Don’t Be Shy About Your Accomplishments
Your LinkedIn profile gives you a section in which you can list accomplishments and certifications, as well as press coverage and other forms of PR and achievements.
Cara Weese, the social media lead at Talent Plus, says this section is your chance to showcase a humble brag of the achievements about which you are proudest.
“These are part of your unique brand and something you should be proud of. Let everyone know about them,” Weese said.
Some Closing Advice for Your LinkedIn Profile
Our two-part series presents some excellent insight from a variety of professionals who recognize the power of a robust, interesting LinkedIn profile. To close this series, we’ll give you a great quote from Alex Aird, a community engagement executive at U.K.-based Frank Recruitment Group:
“Your LinkedIn profile is a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and make yourself stand out in the job market. By using the platform regularly, you can do some serious networking, gain contacts and become a valued member of the professional community.”