Let’s face it: like it or not, your LinkedIn profile is your digital business card that represents your professional experience on the internet. With over 500 million total LinkedIn members and nearly 250 million active monthly users, LinkedIn has become the go-to platform for everything career-related. Despite its proliferation and value, many people just aren’t sure what constitutes a solid LinkedIn profile. As a leader in permanent recruitment services, we thought we’d take a minute and share some quick tips that can turbocharge your LinkedIn profile.
1. Have an updated LinkedIn profile.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many folks we come across whose LinkedIn profiles are a job or two behind their professional career. Having an updated LinkedIn profile allows your colleagues, acquaintances, and potential employers a way to quickly find you and understand your skills and experience. So, what constitutes a “complete” profile?
For starters, make sure your job title and the name of your company appears is accurate and appears on LinkedIn the way someone would see it in an email signature. After that, make sure you add any and all professional experience you have that’s relevant to the work you do currently. You don’t need to add every position you’ve ever held, just the ones that you’d want representing the state of your career today. Whichever positions you choose to list, you should include your job title, the company’s name, start and end dates, and a description of what you did there.
2. Choose a professional photo.
First and foremost, you should absolutely have a picture to accompany your experience on LinkedIn. What constitutes a “professional” photo?
- It should look like you. Seems pretty obvious, right? Not so fast. While it could be tempting to use a photograph that makes you look either older or younger, we’d advise against it. It’s true that some hiring managers might discriminate against applicants based on age but think about it, would you really want to interview with a company that had hiring practices like that? Just pick a picture that represents you.
- Make sure your face is in the center of the frame. Pretty self-explanatory, but make sure people who view your profile photo can tell it’s you.
- Choose a natural facial expression. You don’t want your LinkedIn photo to come off like a mugshot, but you don’t need to be grinning ear-to-ear unnaturally either. Try to pick a natural expression that shows some approachability.
- Wear what you’d wear to work. Don’t over- or under-dress, just wear what fits your industry or role.
Need some more tips? Check out this article with science-backed ways to pick your perfect LinkedIn photo.
3. Write a captivating headline and personal summary.
Your headline and personal summary sections live right under your profile picture and are usually the second and third aspects of your LinkedIn profile someone will see after your profile picture. For your headline, you have 120 characters to sum up what it is that you do. For most people, this can simply be the title of the job you currently hold.
The personal summary section is a bit more in-depth. It’s your opportunity to sum up what you do currently, what you’ve done in the past, and what you’re looking for. There’s a 2000-character limit here but try a general 3 x 3 summary where the first paragraph speaks to your current position and accomplishments, the second details your past roles and other experience, and the last one talks about your working style and extraprofessional interests.
4. Add any licenses, certifications, skills, and endorsements you may have.
Do you have industry certifications that differentiate you from your peers? Add it. Are you a certified project management professional (PMP)? Add that. Also, make sure you add any relevant skills you possess to the skills section. Adding skills gives your LinkedIn connections the opportunity to endorse you for those skills, which builds credibility. These four sections give you an opportunity to show the expertise that you’ve worked so hard to build. Realistically, if you worked to get the license/certification, make sure it’s leveraged on your LinkedIn profile.
Additionally, the endorsements section is another place to detail accolades that you receive from your peers. If you worked well with someone at a previous company, it’s totally okay to ask them for a professional recommendation and asking for recommendations from your peers is a great way to build out your profile and differentiate yourself.
5. Add some interests.
The interests section is another one that’s commonly overlooked, but important none-the-less. If you have interests, be they personal or professional, add them to your profile. Joining industry and interest groups is a great way to showcase what you’re about and connect with others who have similar interests.
6. Proofread, proofread, and proofread again.
At River Group, one of the most common LinkedIn profile mistakes we see are typos in people’s profiles. These days, your LinkedIn profile is often one of the first things prospective hiring managers look at when evaluating technical candidates. Give yourself the best shot you can and give your LinkedIn profile some spelling and grammar attention too.
Updating your LinkedIn profile for a job search?
If you read this article in anticipation (or as a part of) a newly started job search, you’ve come to the right place. While having a well-rounded LinkedIn profile is a great first start, River Group Technologies can help take your career to the next level. We’re a leading recruitment firm in the New England area of experienced engineering and IT professionals and we help place candidates with companies of all sizes. If you’ve been looking for your next opportunity in software engineering, hardware engineering, test engineering, or information technology, visit us at www.rivergrouptech.com/jobs or give us a call at 978.474.9920.