The increasing popularity of LinkedIn has made it an indispensable tool for recruitment. Anyone looking for a job should know that one of the first things a potential employer will do is to look the person up on LinkedIn. A poorly structured profile or a lack of one could be a deciding factor when choosing between you and another candidate.
LinkedIn is not only used for showing off your accomplishments, like a resume or CV, it is also a powerful networking tool. What users need to know is that merely slapping their resume on the site will not serve you well. It’s important to consider LinkedIn as a different way to connect to an employer or recruitment audience.
Show your stuff
Like any social media profile, your image is of the utmost importance. In this case, you want to present a professional face to the world. Be sure to add a picture that looks polished and is a clear representation of what you want in your career. Don’t put in pictures with strange backgrounds and definitely no selfies! In addition, you should fill your profile with media like images and links to your further work—there’s nothing better than visual content, after all.
Tell a story
While your CV might have a brief summary followed by bulleted points for individual listings, this is not the way you want your LinkedIn profile to read. Consider the medium of LinkedIn as a kind of marketing landing page that should show you off at your best and sell your characteristics.
Because of this, it must be more prosaic than a standard resume, with some hints of your personality and how you approach your work. Again, LinkedIn is a networking tool too, so you want to present yourself as both professional and accessible in order to make the strongest impact.
Think of how you might see a blog post. Instead of saying something like:
- Spearheaded outreach for 3000 person event space, raising social media profile by 30%
Consider something more illustrative like:
“For three years, I was tasked with tackling outreach and media for programming for large event space (with over 3000 audience members). Happy to say that my efforts had the effect of raising our social media profile by over 30%.”
You can add almost everything
In structure, a LinkedIn profile is more like a CV rather than a resume, and it needs to have all the details you can muster. Because the site functions as an all-in-one professional hub, many things that you would never put on a resume are actually fair game (think, specific interests and groups you belong to). Remember the medium again, readers will scan and scroll on your page, picking out areas of interest. That said, make sure interests are work-related and not just “sci-fi movies” or the NY Knicks (unless that’s in your career path).
Similarly, you can add things like volunteer experiences, language skills, and awards you’ve won that you might not have included on your resume for fear of making it too lengthy. In this case, you never know what will connect with an employer.
Recommendations and skill endorsements
It doesn’t hurt to add as many skills as you can think of for people to endorse you — one of the key aspects that employers look for on LinkedIn is how other people see your professional skill level. When it comes to recommendations, it is useful to have at least 2 or 3. Talk to your co-workers or people you trust who you may have worked with at a previous job, and ask them to do a recommendation swap. If they write one for you, you’ll write one for them.
While there’s no shortage of LinkedIn profile tips to learn from, the most important thing to take away is that if your profile has the effect of demonstrating a human, personable, and effective career-minded individual, then you can’t go wrong.
About the author: Meredith Wood is Editor-in-Chief at Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness, and more.