Your LinkedIn profile serves as an entryway into your personal brand. Unfortunately, many of us create a LinkedIn account and do very little to maintain and update our profile. Here are some important steps you can take to make your LinkedIn profile much better.
Why Your LinkedIn Profile is Important
There are various reasons to maintain a LinkedIn profile. On a general level, the profile gives you an active forum to summarize your career milestones and accomplishments for everyone to see. It’s also a great way to maintain contact with business associates for networking purposes.
Sounds great, no? I’d argue that most LinkedIn account holders don’t use the service this way, at least regularly. Instead, it’s a tool that gets used during job hunting, and only then does someone’s profile get a substantial update.
When you see how easy it is to improve your LinkedIn profile, you’ll see the benefits of using the service regularly. Let’s take a look.
How to Improve Your Linked Profile
Here are some recommendations on how to make your LinkedIn profile better.
Because it’s the first thing someone will see when visiting your LinkedIn profile, it’s important to use the right profile picture. This image should be current, in color, and mostly focus on your face, which should be smiling! Please don’t include a long-distance shot and keep your dress professional.
It would help if you also took advantage of the background photo space LinkedIn provides. This visual element sites at the top of your profile and can be used to grab someone’s attention by highlighting one of your interests. For example, if you like sailing, add a photo of the ocean. Are you a coffee snob? Add an image of coffee beans. There’s no hard rule on the type of photo to use as your background image. However, it would be best if you avoided anything that could push back a would-be visitor. For example, don’t promote politics here or your favorite sport’s team. Instead, find something with universal appeal.
Each LinkedIn profile begins with a Headline. Although many may use this headline as a job title, it’s not necessarily the only way to go. Instead, you can use this box to highlight your greatest business strengths (“great with numbers”) or work ethic (“self-starter.”). For inspiration, look at how other LinkedIn members are using the headline and adjust yours accordingly.
You should also carefully craft the About section on your LinkedIn profile. Sometimes called the LinkedIn summary, this section is where you can show off your professional talents, big and small, in your own words. Two things to avoid here are job titles and overly marketed buzzwords.
Keep Your Job Experience Active
Like your CV, always keep your job history active on LinkedIn. This means keeping education and experience up-to-date. Under your experience, keep the description current, and add media (such as documents, photos, sites, videos, and presentations) often.
Concentrate on Your Skills
No doubt, adding your job history is an important step in maintaining an active LinkedIn profile. However, don’t overlook the Skills section. From here, you should keep a running list of the skills that are relevant to you. By doing so, you’re adding context to what you’ve already added in the Headline and About section.
Don’t go overboard when adding skills. Instead, focus on your core skills only, which tend to change over time. Otherwise, the section will become bloated and less appealing to visitors. You should update this section often to keep it fresh.
The Skills section isn’t just about adding your relevant skills. It’s also where your LinkedIn contacts can make skill endorsements. By doing so, these skills stand out even more for would-be job hirers to see. The best way to jump-start this process is by going through your network and endorse others. Typically when this happens, they’ll do the same. You should also reach out directly to other members who you seek endorsements. Yes, sometimes the best course of action is to ask!
Regardless of how skills get active, be sure to choose which to show and which ones to hide. No longer relevant skills should be removed from the list, as should older endorsement.
Take Skills Tests
In addition to adding skills manually and getting endorsements, take advantage of LinkedIn’s skills quizzes. By successfully answering a series of multiple-choice questions on a subject, you can receive a verified skills badge. According to LinkedIn, those with verified skills badges are 30% more likely to get hired.
Taking a LinkedIn skills test is voluntary, and results are private unless you choose otherwise. You can also retake tests as needed until you receive a badge.
Skills offer a quick snapshot of what makes you a great employee. Recommendations take things to a new level and should be employed if you’re job hunting.
As the name suggests, these recommendations are personal testimonials that others write about you. LinkedIn makes it relatively simple to request recommendations from your contacts. Only send requests to those you would most value a recommendation from, and keep the list to a minimum. By design, these recommendations are supposed to stand out and be unique.
To date, LinkedIn offers over 16,000 free and paid courses online. These take many forms and are arranged based on your top picks and top trends. Some courses take less than 30 minutes to complete. You’ll receive online certificates as each course is completed, which you can add to your LinkedIn profile for everyone to see.
LinkedIn Learning Courses features a combination of bite-sized videos or in-depth content, with some available through audio-only and offline viewing. Each LinkedIn user can check out the courses free for 30 days. Membership begins at $20 per month.
Another way to keep your LinkedIn profile active is to share professional content you find interesting. By doing so, your contacts will see you front-and-center, making them more likely to interact. For your part, comment often on content those same contacts share with you. The give-and-take makes the community stronger and more informed.
Grow Your Contacts
Finally, it’s important to add to your list of LinkedIn contacts regularly. Check out the People Also Viewed and People You May Know section for suggested people to follow. You can also use the LinkedIn search tool.
LinkedIn remains a great resource to tie business contacts around the globe. To take advantage of the services LinkedIn provides, always make sure your profile is current. You’ll benefit greatly by doing so.