The job search process is always evolving.
It’s not about going to job boards, finding the job you want, and then applying for it. This method will have you just waiting on the phone for a call that probably won’t happen. Today’s job seekers need to take a more proactive and reactive approach called career networking – and LinkedIn is a resource to help you do just that.
Creating a strong LinkedIn profile will help you reach the right contacts (recruiters, hiring managers, professionals in the field, etc.) who can direct you to your next career opportunity. However, for that to happen, you need a LinkedIn profile that communicates and displays the correct information.
Take a look at the LinkedIn Profile Checklist below to learn how to improve and use your LinkedIn profile effectively.
The essentials of an effective LinkedIn profile
1. Make sure you have the right address
The title is what appears on your LinkedIn profile when it appears in search results. It’s also what appears when others look at you through their contacts’ connections. By default, your LinkedIn headline reads your current job title and employer, but if you want to grab the attention of others, it should say more than that. Think of keywords and highlight your greatest skill sets.
2. Show your professionalism in your profile picture
A LinkedIn profile with a header image is more likely to be clicked than a profile without a photo. When choosing your profile picture, choose a header picture that makes you look professional and friendly.
3. Personalize your LinkedIn URL
Whether you choose to include your LinkedIn profile in your bio or in your email signature, customize the URL. It will pay off as more professional and memorable. For example: www.linkedin.com/yourname or www.linkedin.com/yourname-professionalkeyword.
Important details of an effective LinkedIn profile
1. Present your value statement in the About section (Summary)
The About section of your LinkedIn profile should summarize what you have to offer and how that translates into value for your potential employer. This is where you will insert your personal brand statement. It should also contain a list of your basic skill sets. Never type in the third person on your LinkedIn profile unless you want to appear to be a buzzword.
2. Make your work experience rich with keywords
In the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile, use bullet points to highlight accomplishments and define your work experience. Think of relevant keywords to include naturally in your writing. The more keyword-rich your profile is, the more likely it is to show up in search results. It’s also important to make sure that the information you include in the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile matches the information in the Work History section of your resume, so you don’t confuse recruiters and hiring managers.
3. Obtain validation of appropriate skills and experience
See the Skills and Experience section to prioritize what is important. In doing so, your contacts are more likely to support you in getting the right skills, which in turn shows recruiters and hiring managers that you have what they are looking for. What you want to avoid is to include skills and experience that are not related to the jobs you are applying for or your profession. This will simply weaken your public message, including your personal brand.
Additional Steps to Creating an Effective LinkedIn Profile
1. Don’t let your education give up your age
Your education, which can include specialized training and certifications you have obtained, adds value to your qualifications. When listing information, be careful with dates. It is not necessary to indicate when you received your undergraduate degree – this can give up your age in some cases. Also, don’t include anything that might be too old. You want to show that you have up-to-date, relevant and valuable skills for the profession, not unrelated experience.
2. Join related groups
LinkedIn offers a variety of groups that you can (and should) join – professional associations, industry groups, alumni groups, etc. If they are relevant to your profession or the skills needed for the job, share their badge on your profile. It helps hiring managers and recruiters see that you are connected and active in important networks. You can also benefit by taking it a step further with LinkedIn groups, such as participating in discussions and sharing interesting articles to get your name out there. Many hiring managers and recruiters will look into discussions in relevant groups to draw potential candidates for their available job openings.
3. Make your profile public
LinkedIn profiles that are posted publicly allow others to view your information whether or not you are connected to them. This option is best when you are looking for a job.
Every professional – not just job seekers – should learn how to improve their LinkedIn profile. Follow the steps above to create a strong LinkedIn profile today for job search and career success!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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