Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or simply looking to improve your profile, there are some basics you can’t afford to miss. There are many reasons to create a LinkedIn profile—networking, better visibility during a job search, and having an easily accessible portfolio of your work, to name a few—but overall, every LinkedIn user has a common goal: to present themselves professionally and market their personal brand on the world’s largest professional networking platform. So the next time you log on, try surveying your current profile to make sure it has the following key facets to keep your image in top professional shape:
A Professional Photo: The days of the blind resume are over. If you want your profile to be noticed, upload a professional photo! According to LinkedIn, uploading a picture to your profile makes it 14 times more likely to be viewed. Just be sure, as we’ve said before, to choose a conservative photo. If you’re unsure of what picture is best, try a headshot in professional interview attire.
Your Summary: All too often, the summary box of a LinkedIn page gets neglected. However, this section is the least constricting and, therefore, should be used to its full advantage. Write up a compelling description of who you are as a professional, what your current and future goals are, and what you can offer (such as an elevator pitch or professional bio). Be sure to include any keywords you think can help you pop up in the correct search results, but incorporate them smoothly—you don’t want anything to seem out of place.
A Detailed Employment History: It’s not enough to simply put together a few bullet points of your past duties. LinkedIn gives you much more room to work with than a resume and, though you certainly don’t want a profile that takes forever to scroll through, you should expand on what you’ve done in your prior roles. A short paragraph accompanied by those bullet-pointed duties should do; just be sure to explain how your role evolved, if possible, to paint a full picture of your time at that organization.
Original, Creative Language: This is a less concrete addition, but an important one nonetheless. Try to avoid using clichéd language and overused techniques to describe yourself; for example, rather than describe yourself as a “detail-oriented and highly organized professional,” try telling a story of a project you completed that required you to be well-organized. Or, if you want to highlight in your summary that you have these qualities, find an original way to describe them. You can save things such as “organizational skills” for the Skills & Expertise section at the bottom of your profile.
Though these are the absolute essentials, it never hurts to go above and beyond! In fact, LinkedIn even has a “Profile Strength” graph on the side of your profile that gives you suggestions on how to improve your page. If you’d like some further tips on how to make your LinkedIn page more marketable, check out our past post on the topic.