In this two-part series, you will learn how to customize in-depth, the 10 DIY Steps to Customize Your LinkedIn Profile. This is for intermediate and advanced LinkedIn users.
As you know, your LinkedIn profile is one of the most important resources you have to reinforce your personal brand and candidate appeal. Now that you have the working elements in place, it’s time to make your profile even stronger so it stands out against the competition.
Part 1: Must-Do LinkedIn Updates, Steps 1-5
1. Optimize Your Tagline
Optimizing your tagline with applicable keywords, descriptors and deliverables that you want to be known for, is a “must-do” in order to be found in any LinkedIn searches. Your tagline is the first thing that potential hiring managers see when they get search results or land on your profile – and it needs to be strong.
Instead of describing your previous title or company, use this space to hard-hitting action-driven words and skills that you want to be known for – with a 120 character limit. Start with your core subject matter expertise and ensure that it’s a widely known descriptor. From there, add your level of knowledge and expertise, and end with additional skills that round out your brand as applicable.
Here are some examples:
- Digital Artist/Graphic Designer – expertise in Art Direction and Project Management
- Corporate Trainer/Instructor – skilled in Instructional Design, Curriculum Development, and L&D Management
- Business Development Director – Franchise and Restaurant Operations
2. Use a Professional Photo
Your profile is the personal connection in an otherwise “behind the curtain” networking meet up. It’s too easy to not trust that the person is not who they are representing themselves as, without a photo to show trustworthiness. Not having a photo isn’t an ideal option any more.
Having the right photo though, is important. For each industry, the exact standards of the best photo option will vary. But across the board, your photo needs to be a cropped headshot of you without any other distractions or variables to take away from the personal connection.
In all cases, you should be dressed in appropriate attire and looking your best. Smiling in the picture is preferred to a bland stare, but don’t get overboard with it that it turns into cheesy.
Remember that your picture is to create a connection – you want to be seen as likeable, approachable and someone that the hiring manager would want to work with. You don’t have to look perfect or flawless, but use a photo you wouldn’t be embarrassed about seeing on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.
3. Achievement-Driven Summary
The summary section in your LinkedIn profile provides amble opportunity for you to “wow” potential hiring managers and recruiters in 2,000 words or less. You should think of it as an executive summary for you and your personal brand. It is also the most searchable fields on LinkedIn – so make it count.
As a general rule of thumb, your summary should be written in 3rd person and should be focused more on your achievements and key accomplishments than on previous job titles or company-specific job descriptions.
Remember your audience – people who are trying to get to know your abilities better. They don’t want to be told how great you are, they want to be shown what you have done. Metrics and deliverables shine in this section as it will entice visitors to continue reading the rest of your profile; but only if you make an impact.
A little known secret: you can enhance your summary even more by adding a list of specialties or core competencies at the bottom. Reinforcing your skills and adding even more keywords (see step below).
4. Use Keywords in Summary & Experience Sections
The importance of using the right keywords cannot be repeated enough. Like other search engines such as Google, being “found” for the right skills will increase your odds of being hired or seen as a viable candidate.
In your summary section, you should optimize keywords throughout your description – not just with a closing list. Be sure that you are constantly reinforcing the correct skills and capabilities throughout each section.
When it comes to the experience section, do not list out your previous job description. Instead, reflect back on the applicable keywords and be sure to include various examples of how you’ve delivered those skills in each role. Reinforce your subject matter expertise using the right words to get your found.
5. Choose the Right Skills & Endorsements
The best way to differentiate yourself as an expert, is to have focus. It’s tempting to choose 40 skills in an endless list of options, but it dilutes your actual skill sets.
Instead, choose only applicable skills to the position you want and that match your personal brand. LinkedIn shows your top 10 skills in a list, with room for 15 others without having to hit the “more” button. Use this as a guidepost for the number of skills you choose – at least have 10 and aim to have no more than 25.
This also helps your connections choose the right skills to endorse you for. If you list that you are great with Microsoft Excel, but you are seeking a job as a designer – there will be a disconnect between the skills you need and “nice to haves.” So in the example above, replacing Excel with “Adobe Photoshop” – and having former colleagues agree, that you are a Photoshop wiz.
If you provide the skills you want others to reinforce, it provides a nice tie-in with your overall brand and profile, while also giving you the social proof to stand behind the various skill sets.
Stay tuned for part two in the LinkedIn Profile Must-Do series.
If you would like to learn even more about how to optimize your LinkedIn Profile the right way to be found by top recruiters, check out our LinkedIn Leads Recorded Webinar with LIFETIME ACCESS available HERE.
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