I spend a lot of time on https://linkedin.com. I read dozens of LinkedIn (LI) profiles every day. Mostly for Telecoms and ICT Professionals. It’s clear that many of these LI profiles are not serving their owners well.
Your LI profile is your online advertisement. It could tell people who you are, what you can do for them and why they should contact you. It could, or it doesn’t. It’s up to you. This blog post is a short summary of how to modify your LI profile to get you noticed.
What is the Purpose of the Profile?
Before you begin to work on your LI profile, you need to understand what is its purpose. Here is the answer:
The purpose of your LinkedIn Profile is to get people to contact you.
That’s it. By “people” I mean Recruiters, Hiring Managers, Conference Organizers, Vendors, Service Providers, potential Business Partners. Anyone who might need your skill set. These people are looking for individuals like you every day. In short, your profile is supposed to get you NOTICED! If they are not finding you, if they are not routinely contacting you, then your profile is not doing its job. If these people cannot find you, opportunities will pass you by. You could get stuck in the same job for years and years.
Use your profile to give these people a reason to contact you. Follow these guidelines to create a Killer LinkedIn profile.
A LinkedIn profile photo should be a professionally taken headshot, of you and only you, clean and well-groomed, in your best business attire, smiling confidently as you look into the camera. The photo should make you appear likable and professional. That’s it. The rest of this section is intended only to clarify this.
Having a suitable photo is one of the simplest ways to improve your profile. A suitable photo ideally is a professionally taken headshot with you wearing proper formal business attire. If you cannot afford a sitting with a professional photographer, then visit a reputable shop to have a passport photo taken. Don’t use a selfie. Don’t use anything inappropriate or too casual.
What you wear for the photo, well, it’s easier to say what not to wear: no t-shirts, tank-tops, sports or beach apparel, silly hats or other accessories. Unless you aspire to be a Professional Rodeo Clown, dress as though you were meeting with the CEO.
Also, the photo should be a headshot of you alone. No kids, cats or cantaloupes. No hats, helmets or headgear. No spouses, no sunglasses, no props, no mood lighting. Dress nicely, use good posture, smooth your hair and smile.
Your objective for the photo is to look like someone that other people would want to work with.
Your profile headline is a one-sentence summary of how you can help. When a keyword search is done on LI, matching results show only the photo, name and headline. So in your headline use the same keywords which searchers will use to find you. That way even a quick glance at this subset of your profile will give a good impression.
The right keywords depend on your experience and your goals for the future. You can experiment by doing your own searches. Try different keywords until the returned profiles begin to resemble your own desired objectives. Then use those keywords in your headline. A test search using those keywords should also match your profile.
If you have a personal website to which you wish to draw attention, it can be entered directly in your headline.
The purpose of the summary is to reinforce the keywords in your headline and provide even more. Once again, load this up with keywords to increase your chance of matching a search. Choose keywords that are not only based upon your experience, but that also support your career objective.
One thing to note. Sometimes you will see a summary written in the 3rd person. Don’t do that. To me, this invariably sounds fake and pretentious. Write in the first person to sound more genuine and likable.
If you have trouble writing content for the summary, I suggest following the Rule of Three: write 3 paragraphs of 3 lines each. But this is more of a guideline than a rule. Use it to get yourself started. If you need more than 3 paragraphs or more than 3 lines, go ahead. But the key point is not to make the summary overly long. It’s a summary.
For Telecoms and ICT workers like us, you will likely want to use abbreviations and acronyms to adequately describe your experience. I prefer a profile summary having prose sentences rather than acronyms and abbreviations. But you can still put all the acronyms and abbreviations that apply to your experience into a separate paragraph listing your specialties.
This part of your profile most resembles your resume or CV. It should tell people what you have done; what you have accomplished. This section should be as complete as possible. List your 2 most recent positions, or 10 years of work, whichever is greater. More is better, to allow you to enter more descriptive information and boost your credibility.
As you complete this section, emphasize your accomplishments and contributions. Don’t spend time talking about your responsibilities or what was expected. State your job title and briefly mention the responsibilities. Once again, load up the work history with keywords.
If you expect your next job to required hands-on responsibility for vendor equipment, add specific vendors and equipment types in the work history sections. Often companies want to hire expertise with a specific kind of vendor equipment, so adding it to your work history can make you appear in search results. acronyms and abbreviations can also be grouped with the equipment.
Call to Action
Please go to LinkedIn now and make these changes. If you don’t have the time to do it now, make a promise to yourself to do it later today or this weekend. Create a calendar reminder to allocate the time on your schedule. Book at least 60 minutes to update your LI profile. This is important to your career. But you must make it a priority.
There is so much more to LinkedIn that just your profile. These guidelines are a great starting point. Once your profile is more complete you’ll be ready to take advantage of other profile capabilities. And LinkedIn offers many other ways for you to promote yourself and get your name in search results. We’ll cover those in later blog posts.
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This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.