5 Essential Tips for Making Your LinkedIn Profile Look Good To an Employer
Optimize your LinkedIn profile to stand out to potential employers.
Job seekers are often advised to make their social networks private, but in the case of LinkedIn, the opposite is true. That professional social network is one site where it’s important to be visible and active. In today’s job market, cultivating a professional online presence is almost a requirement. If a recruiter Googles you and comes up with nothing, you risk being seen as a fraud, warns strategy consultant Dorie Clark in an article published on Harvard Business Review’s HBR Blog Network in March 2012. One thing is for sure — if you want your LinkedIn profile to stand out to a recruiter, you need to make sure it shines.
Put Your Best Face Forward
In the book “Job Searching With Social Media for Dummies,” author Joshua Waldman says there are three key areas on your profile that a potential employer looks at in the first few seconds: your profile photo, your headline and your professional summary. You may not want to upload a photo, but it could make the difference between being passed over or offered an interview. In an interview with “Forbes,” LinkedIn Connection Director Nicole Williams says, “It’s a lot like when you’re selling a house. If there’s no photo, it’s like ‘there must be something wrong with this property.’” Choose a recent photo that’s flattering without being misleading. When you walk in to an interview, you should be recognizable. A professional headshot where you look approachable and friendly is ideal, but you can also have a friend snap a head-and-shoulders photo against a simple background.
Write an Attention-Getting Headline
The headline portion of your profile is critical, because it’s one of the few pieces of personal information displayed when people hover over your name in LinkedIn groups, home feeds and search results. If you leave this section blank, it defaults to your most recent job title and company. A great headline should give a quick glimpse at who you are and what you do, and entice people into clicking on your profile to find out more. Consider your target audience and what you have to offer, and distill that into a short but snappy sentence that tells readers at a glance what you do and how your skills can benefit them.
Craft a Concise Summary
The summary section is the first chance you get to really explain who you are, so make the most of it. Avoid repetition. You don’t need to reiterate the information contained in the experience section, but if you have accomplishments you want to highlight, the summary is a good place for that. In the Mashable article “HOW TO: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for the Job Hunt,” Dan Finnigan, CEO of recruiting software firm Jobvite, suggests using the summary to answer the classic questions of “who, what, when, why and how.” Explain who you are, what you’ve accomplished and when you did it, why you’re passionate about your industry, and how you get things done.
Take Advantage of Apps
To make your profile stand out, consider adding some of the applications available in the LinkedIn Application Directory. Apps like SlideShare and Box.net are a great way to share a portfolio with potential recruiters; SlideShare allows you to upload slideshows, and you can use Box.net to upload any files that you want visitors to be able to access, like a full resume or writing clips. Waldman suggests using the Amazon Reading List app to highlight industry-related books you’ve read, demonstrating to your profile’s visitors that you’re passionate about your profession.
Use a Vanity URL
The default Web address for your LinkedIn profile includes random characters and isn’t easy to remember. Take advantage of the opportunity LinkedIn gives you to create a custom URL that’s short and memorable, preferably one that uses your name. A vanity URL makes it easier for people to find your profile when they Google your name, and it also looks more polished on a business card or email signature.