I’m often asked about LinkedIn as part of a job hunter’s online presence, and I’ve previously written about ways to improve your online presence. LinkedIn is a good one to have right, as it gets great search engine rankings and is often the first listing people will find when they conduct a web search.
It's important that you make sure your LinkedIn profile is powerful, professional, and distinctive as possible. If yours is incomplete or simply a reiteration of your CV, use these tips to make sure your profile is helping, not hurting, your career progress or transition.
1. Make it personal
Your LinkedIn profile is not your CV, so don’t simply copy-and-paste from your CV into the summary field on LinkedIn.
Instead, write a summary section that describes who you are, your most notable achievements, your areas of expertise, and your unique intangible qualities and attributes.
Write in the first person, using the word "I" as appropriate, to make the message personal. Be inviting and friendly! Your language, tone, and content should make people want to know more about you. Whatever you do, don’t write about yourself in the third person.
2. Highlight your most notable achievements
In your summary section and in the appropriate job blocks, be sure to communicate your "success stories." The more specific you are, the more credible and memorable your profile becomes. Choose stories that have the biggest "wow" factor and illustrate what you have done in the past.
3. Load it with keywords
People like me (headhunters) use keywords to find candidates with the right mix of skills and experience.
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile contains all the right keywords to match the jobs you are pursuing. Many of these terms will appear naturally in your profile and experience sections but if you're not sure, look for some of the common words in advertisements of jobs that interest you.
In addition, the specialties section gives you additional characters that you can jam-pack with more keywords that match your expertise and interests.
4. Be strategic
What you want to achieve next in your career, should drive every word in your CV and in your LinkedIn profile.
- Who are you?
- How do you want to be perceived at this point in your career?
- What roles are you pursuing?
- What aspects of your background best fit your current goals?
Resist the temptation to include everything you’ve done. You want to paint a cohesive picture that makes it easy for people to understand you, your expertise, and your value.