In a world of ever-changing technology, being present on social media is a must for professionals in all industries and LinkedIn may just be the most important. For many, LinkedIn falls somewhere between social media and a virtual resume, which leaves them confused and, thus, unable to get the most out of the network.
Here are some tips to make the most of your LinkedIn presence:
First Impressions Are Everything
When you meet with a potential employer, you are probably more concerned than normal about how you look because you want to present yourself well. You should have the same level of concern about your LinkedIn profile. One purpose of LinkedIn is for employers to find future employees and to network via an online platform. You should align your profile with how you would present yourself in a professional setting. Now you might be thinking, “Employers can’t get to know me just from a profile,” But the truth is, yes, they can, and below are some tips to make that first impression count.
You should align your profile with how you would present yourself in a professional setting.
Nail the Profile Picture
This is the very first thing people notice when they view your profile, so make sure your picture is professional and reflects who you are. You don’t need to spend loads of money on a professional photographer, but you should use a good quality camera – even your cellphone camera can capture a good photo. The quality of your headshot will set the tone for the rest of your profile so spend the time to make it right. Crazy patterns or distracting backgrounds will ultimately take away from the professionalism of your page. Consider wearing a solid color shirt and standing in a location that offers depth to the image, but is not distracting or confusing to the eye.
When it comes to editing your headshot, keep it natural. A platform such as Adobe Lightroom will allow you to play around with different features to get the right look. There are several other options for editing photos, too, if you want to get more serious about it.
There are also things you want to avoid. Don’t have other people in your profile picture – this includes cropping them out, it’s awkward and looks unprofessional. Be sure your photo is focused on your face by framing the shot from the waist up. A full-body picture distracts from your face and makes it hard for employers to see what you look like.
The Dreaded “About Me” Section
This is one of the most important parts of your profile, second only to your headshot. Unfortunately, it’s also the section that people struggle with the most. People tend to use this as an overview of their work, but it should be the cover letter for the rest of your profile! The key to this section is to provide information about your career but to do so in a way that will compel viewers to ask questions and want to know more. Here is how you can make sure your “About Me” section always gets a second look:
- Think About Your Audience: What type of job are you looking for? If you’re trying to get hired as an accountant, what you write will be different from someone looking for a job in graphic design. The information you share and the way you share it needs to be appropriate for the job you want. Be intentional about who you are targeting with your “About Me” section and you will be more likely to pique interest from employers.
- Get Creative: This is the section that is going to make employers want to learn more about you, so write something that is going to intrigue them. You could tell a story about how you got into your profession, or you could talk about your pet if it’s relevant. If you’re in a visual field, you could put the URL to your online portfolio or your latest video. The fact is, if it doesn’t make people think “WOW! I want to hire this person,” you’ve missed the mark.
- Edit, Edit and Edit Again: It doesn’t matter if you’re a mathematician or a journalist – if your work has grammatical errors, your credibility goes down the drain. If grammar isn’t your thing, use a service like Grammarly that will automatically check for errors as you go. No one likes the grammar police, but it’s not a great first impression if you can’t use the right form of “there.”
If You’re Talented and You Know It Clap Your Hands!
Brag a little on your profile – if you’ve accomplished something big, pat yourself on the back and post about it. The more positive, work-related content you post, the better engagement you will have with your page. Subsequently, you’ll have a better chance of being noticed by employers. There is certainly a right and wrong way to do this, so follow these tips and let your experience do the talking.
- For each of your job descriptions, keep things short and sweet by using the most important details to tell the story. One of the easiest ways to do this is by following a show and tell strategy. For example, describing a fictional role using this strategy:
XYZ and Associates
Senior Associate – Sept. 2019- Present
– Implemented large scale promotional campaign for X by using a social media contest that involved partnerships with local and national businesses.
– Garnered over one million media impressions and $30,000 in earned media over two months.
LinkedIn will have the name of the company and your title pre-formatted for you. The first bullet is the “tell” section to describe your role and what you did to contribute. The second bullet is the “show” section, where you show measured results from your efforts (if you have numbers, use them). This strategy will ensure that you are keeping things concise while still sharing the most important details of your experience.
The more positive, work-related content you post, the better engagement you will have with your page.
- Skills are key, and luckily, LinkedIn has an entire section dedicated to skills – it’s not there for you to ignore it. If your skills align with the role an employer is looking to fill, you are more likely to get noticed, so don’t leave it blank! Once you have filled out this section, have people endorse you. Having endorsements will provide credibility and make you more appealing to employers.
- The key to any social media platform is being active on your account, and LinkedIn is no different. The app uses an algorithm that decides if your content is worth pushing to the top of other people’s feed. It’s complex, but the main things you need to know are this:
- Posting every day is not the answer. Two to three times a week will ensure positive engagement.
- Comments are valued higher in the algorithm than likes or reactions so if someone comments on your post, reply to say thank you or offer insight back.
- Sharing links won’t increase engagement. LinkedIn doesn’t promote posts that take users away from their app. Creative and thoughtful posts that offer room for comments are more likely to be shared by the algorithm than posts with external links.
Being social media savvy isn’t everyone’s thing, but you don’t have to be an expert to reap the benefits of the platform. Whether you’re trying to attract employers or potential new clients, nailing the basics of your profile will make your strengths shine through. Simple steps like having a quality headshot, drawing attention with a well written “About Me” section, keeping your information succinct and updated and posting about trending topics in your field are all ways to up your LinkedIn game.