Here are 21 tips for a customized LinkedIn profile that will help you stand out and be noticed by hiring influencers, build your reputation as an industry leader, and will help you develop and polish your personal brand. The first four tips are how to build a basic social media profile that works for you instead of against you. The rest? Key tips to refining your message and branding so that you can use LinkedIn as a career-building tool!
- Fill it out. Surprisingly, this may be the biggest stumbling block for many LinkedIn users. Every blank in your profile should be filled out, adding all work experience, relevant information, and including a professional photo that shows you as a business leader.
- Contact! Make certain your contact information is correct, up to date, and that you want to be reached in every way you list. If you don’t want recruiting calls on your office line, don’t list it.
- Make it match. Be sure your dates, job titles, and key words match your resume. Hiring influencers DO notice.
- Spell check. Check your spelling, your math, double check your details. Making sure you have no errors is important. Ask a spouse, friend, or colleague to take a look, too, a second set of eyes can help spot those sneaky little errors that creep in, unnoticed.
Refine your message and polish your branding:
- Headliner. Your headline should be a strongly worded value proposition.
- Interests. Your Interests section may have some personal details, but it should still portray you as a professional and steer away from being over-casual. When listing interests, pay close attention to those which are career related. Do include volunteer or charity work.
- Key to success. Build a list of key words that point to your career goals. Insert some of those key words in each Experience description to show relevance and build interest.
- Order those skills! Start with at least 10 skills and order them by their relevance to your career goals. If you find that only your top few skills are being endorsed, re-order them for a week or two to generate endorsements for all of your skills. Then replace them in order of relevance.
- Summary selection. Your Summary should contain a strong statement of who you are as a professional, and of your career goals. Use those key words, keep it positive, results-oriented, and focused.
- Volunteering Experience. Do add any work you have done with non-profits. Whether a volunteer or a Board member, LinkedIn reports a significant number of hiring influencers reference a candidate’s volunteer efforts as a factor in their choice of candidate.
- Customize your URL in the website section to your first and last name to make yourself more visible online. Customize the anchor text with your first and last name, preferably matching your email, to build and promote your personal brand.
- Make it interactive. Add links to publications written by you or about you. Add links to projects you’ve worked on or charity events you’ve chaired.
- Original content. Post news about your industry, solutions to common issues in your profession, and post about your career successes. Updating content puts your contacts on notice that there is something to see, and shows hiring influencers that you are proactive, involved, and serious about your career.
- Make contact! Send invitations to all of your colleagues, network connections, friends and neighbors who might be able to help you make other great connections. Don’t forget to look through LinkedIn’s suggested contacts, too. They’re often a degree or two from a mutual friend or colleague and a great networking contact.
- Make it personal. When you send an invitation to someone you don’t already know, personalize the invitation with a short introduction to you and your value to them as a connection.
- Where to look? Your chamber of commerce, professional association, alumnae group, any site that has the names of movers and shakers in your industry will have contacts you’d like to make. Look those people up on LinkedIn and issue personalized invitations. Add anyone you think might be valuable as a connection in the future. The point isn’t to curate your contacts too closely, but to expand your network and your reach!
- Delete invites. Has your invitation been ignored for a few weeks? Every month or so, go into your LinkedIn account and delete the lingering unanswered invitations. You are allowed a limited number of invitations at a time, so deleting the old, unused invitations frees you up to make more meaningful connections with those who DO want to connect.
- Endorsement time. You then need to make the effort to visit your new connections’ pages and endorse the skills you know they have. This prompts your connections to visit your page and reciprocally endorse your skills.
- Network connections. When you are at a networking event or simply meet a new contact, as well as trading business cards, it’s also acceptable to suggest connecting on LinkedIn. Click on the app, when it loads, click the triple dots on the top right, then click on “personalize invite” and send the invitation right then and there. Don’t have the time? Send personalized invitations to those who offered you a business card and reference meeting them at the event.
- Join up! Join groups relevant to your industry, job, or expertise. Introduce yourself and make contributions or ask questions. Be active.
- Go around again. Once you have updated your profile, made connections, endorsed skills, been endorsed, posted original content, and followed all these tips, do them all again. It keeps your profile updated, your content fresh, and your connections expanding.