How to own your LinkedIn profile

You probably would not be reading this if you didn’t have a LinkedIn account, so we are past the first step of making yourself seen by employers, executive search firms and other people that will be useful for you in terms of networking.  

The question then is, are you using your profile to its full potential? If you filled in the blanks when you started your account, and perhaps added a job or two since then, the answer is no you are not.  

Why should you care about your profile. 

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your own personal display window, where you are the visual merchandiser. Your profile is what we can all see when we go window shopping for the perfect candidate to the assignment we just got handed, what a head of HR or CEO will come across when searching for a new candidate for that dream position or perhaps what gets the attention of that investor you’ve dreamt of finding to get your business started. LinkedIn is a professional networking site that can present a lot of opportunities if managed well. 

Your photo matters

Firstly, you need to have a photo uploaded. Not many people will spend time reading a profile without a photo attached, a photo gives credibility to everything else written in your profile. It creates a sense of trust. 

What you should think about is to use a professional looking photo rather than a casual looking one. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so your vacation pics can be saved for other social media with a more casual focus. However, if you want to express more of your personality in the profile do not fret, you can use the background photo to show some of your personal interests and you can also use the about section which we will talk more about in a little bit. 

Do you know your USP? 

The search for people to fill exciting positions at great companies is happening twenty-four seven, and with a little bit of time and effort put in by you right now you could make your profile stand out in the crowd for a long time to come.  

What you need to do is to market yourself and your unique qualities and LinkedIn is the perfect tool for this. It allows you to take control of your personal brand and tell everyone what your USP, your unique selling point, is.  

So ask yourself this question: Do I know my own USP?  

If the answer is no, this would be a good time to sit down, reflect and do your homework. 

To make it easier make a list of the following: 

  • All of your skills
  • All of your experiences 
  • All of your achievements 
  • Everything you have learned 

When done take a moment to reflect. What stands out? What sets you apart from others?  

The exercise will most likely make you feel more secure in your own abilities, fill you with a sense of pride and accomplishment. That is great, now form a few sentences that will make up your USP and then make sure to highlight your uniqueness and strengths throughout your LinkedIn profile (and your resume for that matter). 

Don’t miss the opportunity of utilizing the “About” section. 

One of the  most important parts of your profile is the About section.  

If left alone the about section will be empty. But this can easily be edited by you and will instantly make your profile more professional and attractive to those who view it.  

The about section is the perfect place for you to write down the sentences that forms your USP, it will introduce you and your uniqueness to the reader the moment they open your profile. Leaving the this part empty is a missed opportunity. 

Tailor your heading/title

When it comes to your title it automatically becomes your current work title if left alone, you can make the title stronger and more attractive by tailoring it to showcase more of your expertise. Look at the following example from Jobscan (1):  

Instead of “Web Developer at Jobscan.”  the heading could read something like this:  

“ Web Developer at Jobscan | Full Stack Engineer | Front End Specialist | HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, JQuery, PHP” 

The latter is much more impressive, detailed and would certainly attract our recruiter eyes faster than the previous. You have 120 characters to play with, so try and make the most of them. 

Your work experience section is vital

Representing an executive search firm, I strongly argue that while your about section is important – your work experience section is at least equally as important. 

Keep your work experience section updated and in a chronological order. Something that happens surprisingly often in our line of work as executive search consultants is a LinkedIn profile that doesn’t match the resume we get handed. We find jobs that do not match, years that do not add up, titles that are different etc. Try to keep your resume updated with the same information as you keep on your LinkedIn profile. This way you can apply for jobs and when the recruiter looks you up, they will feel secure in trusting the resume you sent them since your LinkedIn profile contains the same information. 

Moreover, this is how we like to see your work experience section laid out: 

  • Write the name of your employer and the city in which you were located. 
  • Write your job description in short bullet points. 
  • When possible write what results you have achieved rather than what your tasks were responsible for. 
  • Keep your employment history (and your education) in a chronological order with a start and an end date. 
  • Add volunteer work in its own section (you can add this section under “add profile section” when you are logged in to your profile). 
  • Spell check everything 

To conclude – You are in control over your image so own it like a boss! 

In essence this means that you are in complete control over how you are viewed by executive search firms, employers, and other decisions makers. All you have to do is put a little time and effort into your profile now, and it will hold strong and make you stand out in a crowd for years to come. 

Author: Caroline Tiala 2021-01-11

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