The Pro Guide to Crafting an Effective LinkedIn Profile

Do you stand out from the crowd?

Looking for a new job, or recruiting for your current company, can be a daunting and often frustrating task, right? You probably just rolled your eyes at that understatement. It feels like you’re just another face in the crowd and if you could only get the chance to get that interview, you know you’d be perfect for that position. That was always my frustration. With 100,000,000 other people (or so it felt) applying for the same position, how can you stand out?

It can feel like a giant waste of time to submit your resume, only to fill our their form anyway and re-enter all of that information. Then you get the generic “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Then you look for the next one and repeat. There are, however, ways to optimize your efforts. 

I’ve put together this complete guide to polish your LinkedIn profile and make you irresistible to employers. I’m making it really simple for you. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a great new job. Let’s do this.

1. Complete your profile

This may sound like a no-brainer, but seriously, fill in everything. According to contentmarketinginstitute.com, having a completed profile makes you 40 times more likely to receive new job offers, new mentors, or new business. 40 TIMES!!! It kinda seems worth the extra effort, right? Now here’s how:

  1. Your location (I know… but not everyone does this.)
  2. Your industry (again… don’t leave this out.)
  3. Your current position and the last two. You don’t need to list 10. 3 is the magic number.
  4. Your skill set. It’s important to list these, accurately, so others have the chance to verify your abilities. Having 50 other people say you’re great at something is waaaaay more valuable than you just saying it.
  5. Make connections. Connect with EVERYONE you know. They make it really easy to find connections when you sync your facebook profile and email account. Message your connections. Verify their skills. Be active. Karma points will start stacking up and your network will help you out. Trust me. We’re all in this together.

2. Have a professional head shot

This one is my favorite, for obvious reasons. But seriously, it’s a really big deal. It’s your first impression. You only get to make it once. Let’s make it the best it can be. According to LinkedIn.com, having a professional head shot earns you 14 times the profile views of someone who doesn’t have one. If you could apply for 2 positions instead of 28, wouldn’t that be awesome?

  1. Hire a professional photographer. You might have a friend with a really expensive camera, but just like having sharp knives doesn’t make a you a 4-star chef, a professional will make sure your head shot is going to grab their attention.
  2. Your headshot should be appropriate for your field. A doctor, an engineer, and a massage therapist will all have different head shots. Make sure it fits the career you want.
  3. Don’t just grab a picture from Facebook. Nothing says “don’t hire me” like cropping yourself out of a photo taken at a party. Keep it professional.
  4. Use a neutral color for the background. Avoid looking like a 1990s dance video. Busy patterns and bright colors are distracting, and the focus should be on your face. You can make your banner photo colorful and appropriate for your branding. You are, after all, branding yourself.
  5. Achieve balance. A professional photographer can help you look approachable and professional. Unless you want to star in the next Roadhouse movie, you need to be balanced.

3. What to actually write

This can seem tricky, as not everyone is a crafty writer. But fear not! You don’t have to be. In fact, don’t try to be.

  1. Keep it simple. Be concise. Be respectful of the viewer’s time. Make it easy for them to get through your profile.
  2. Your heading should contain keywords that describe you, differentiate you, and tell folks where you are. According to socialmediatoday.com, having your location in the heading makes your profile stand out in 23x as many searches. Employers are often searching by location. Another note about the heading, avoid catchy phrases and nicknames. ‘UX ninja’ and ‘networking rock star’ are only going to hurt your chances.
  3. Your summary is your elevator pitch. Statistically, having 40 words or more will make you stand out, but don’t ramble.  Talk about the fields in which you have expertise. List your awards. Have you been published? If you need help, ask someone. Most people don’t like talking about their accomplishments. Your friends or colleagues are happy to help you out.
  4. Personality goes a long way. This is your chance to let them know you’re not just a robot. BrandLove,LLC says that 87% of recruiters are looking for personality. Don’t play against those odds.
  5. Keep it current. Make sure to change your details in a timely manner.

4. Show off your skills

There are a few ways you can show off what you can do, and I definitely recommend doing it. You can actually demonstrate how awesome you are rather than just saying it.

  1. You can publish valuable content right there in LinkedIn. Show your knowledge and expertise by writing about the current trends, cutting edge technology in your field, your biggest or most important roles. Don’t brag. Be a confident expert.
  2. Show photo samples of your work in your summary. Use quality images. Nothing blurry or grainy. It could be websites you’ve built, homes you’ve sold, big companies you’ve worked with. Graphics are a really effective way to get someone’s attention and show your qualifications.
  3. Proof read your profile. This might sound silly, but having an immaculate page will go a long way. Ask a few trusting friends to help out. Typos and grammatical errors will not show your professionalism.
  4. Change your URL to a custom URL.  Click this link to learn how. It really helps with SEO, and it looks more professional. The devil is in the details.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and endorsements. I know I mentioned this earlier, but it’s kind of a big deal. Having others validate you hold a lot more weight than your own words. Take the time to do the same for others in your network, then shoot them a quick message asking if they could do the same for you. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a testimonial or two in your summary. You have 2000 characters to work with. Make the most of it.

Today is the perfect day to make it happen.

Get started on your lunch break, on the train while you commute, at home before you check out to Netflix land for the evening.

Do you need to hire someone to help you write it? You can easily find folks who can make your copy sparkle. Need a new headshot? Click here! I’ve got you covered. There’s no excuse. The time taken here will save you in the long run when you no longer have to send in 20 applications for your job search. You can do this. I believe in you.




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