You never get a second chance to make a first impression. These days, your first contact with a potential employer usually isn’t a phone call or a handshake. To land a job, your online presence is increasingly as important as your resume.
LinkedIn is an important way potential employers are likely to get an early impression of you. Nearly 600 million users are registered with LinkedIn globally and about 100 million users visit the site daily.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your resume. It paints a story of your skills and experiences and can better position you for a successful job search.
There are many strategies to posting content, sharing articles, and creating blogs. While we certainly suggest you post occasionally, consider the following your “to-do” list for enhancing your LinkedIn profile.
- Use a current profile photo. Don’t overthink this. You want a quality head and shoulders photo that has been taken in the last 12 months. The background should be plain and not distracting, but don’t make it look like a mug shot. A small smile is appropriate.
- Let the background photo illustrate your interests. It’s important to find a photo with a wide orientation. Background photos can be an ideal place to illustrate your interests.
- Create a custom job title headline. As a default, LinkedIn just uses your job title as your “headline.” You can transform this if you wish to read something like “Experienced Research Scientist Specializing in Polymers & Non-Wovens ”
- Allow the summary section of your profile to tell your story. You can let the automatically generated summary be your place to start, but this is your chance to tell your professional story to a potential employer. Avoid jargon and buzz words. It’s good to balance professionalism with a little personal insight.
- Build your network. A simple way to expand your LinkedIn network is by syncing your profile with your address book. Doing this enables LinkedIn to suggest people for you to connect with. Don’t be shy about accepting connections that you may not know. While you will no doubt get some unsolicited sales offers, what’s the point of having a business networking profile if you only network with people you already know?
- Take care with your positions, employment history, and education. It’s important to keep these up-to-date, but also pay attention to the sequencing of the positions so that they tell a comprehensive story of your career and experience. Also include appropriate volunteer service and civic groups.
- Follow companies and business leaders who interest you. It’s easy to type in a person like Mark Cuban or a company like Nobel Biocare and click follow.
- Don’t be shy about asking for recommendations. Recommendations and endorsements make your profile stand out. It is customary to reciprocate when someone endorses you.
- Keep your contact information up-to-date. Make sure you contact information is current and also that any email addresses referenced go to a personal account rather than a business account.
You probably don’t need to upgrade your account unless you get serious about using LinkedIn. The most important thing is to have a relatively complete and comprehensive profile. Don’t stress about getting started. There’s an automated scale on the page that will guide you toward completing your profile.
Creating or improving a LinkedIn isn’t a time-consuming process. If you have the photos available on your computer, you should be able to do it all in an hour or so. You should also make sure you have a spouse or friend proof your profile. Even with spell checking software, it’s easy to let a missed word or typo slip through.
You should plan to update your profile monthly (it only takes a few minutes) and perhaps create a post at that time.
If you would like feedback on your LinkedIn profile, feel free to reach out to ETS for guidance.