No, we haven’t employed the many talents of US rap icon Xzibit to help pimp your LinkedIn. Instead, you’ll find a series of practical tips that’ll have your profile shining bright amongst that exponential list of 1st, 2nd and 3rd-degree connections.
LinkedIn has the potential to be a powerful tool when it comes to your career, and with all that free time that’s landed in your lap, now is the ideal time to give your profile a fresh lick o’ paint.
Update Your Profile Picture
You’ve probably heard this one before, and there’s a reason you have. A decent profile picture speaks volumes to your connections and potential connections, and if you’ve already wrangled an interview, your could-be boss will have created a sense of familiarity through eyeing off your headshot when sifting through candidates.
Dress professional, but dress the part, too. ‘Professional’ means very different things depending on the industry, and chucking on your corporate cloth when you’re aiming for a gig in the creative industries probably won’t do you any favours, just as crossing your arms in a nondescript black tee won’t help you land a job at that law firm.
Your average smartphone takes a decent snap these days, and should suffice should you not have access to a photographer or camera right now.
Update Your Background Image
Here is your opportunity to show off some (professional) personality. This one’s primed for—though not limited to—the creative industries by giving photographers, designers and other content-related fields an opportunity to show off the goods at the top of their profile.
Update Your Headline
Anyone skimming over your profile is going to see your profile pic and background image first, immediately followed by your headline. You’ve got 120 characters to tell a story here, so chuck in something profound (and relative to you as a professional) rather than just your job title.
Pro tip: your headline will default to your job title whenever you update your role. Keep it fresh and update this one for any opportunities that may arise down the track.
Consider Your Skills And Endorsements
It’s time for some reductive thinking. Listing your ‘intermediate Microsoft Office skills' is as redundant as noting that you’re computer literate; tailoring your skills and endorsements to your industry is a surefire way to catch the eye of whoever’s scrolling through your profile. If you’re lacking in certain departments for a desired role, get out there (metaphorically speaking) and learn—the world wide web is full of free resources and tutorials that can help up your game as a professional.
Adding a recommendation or two will give your Linkedin profile some serious career clout, and it’ll only take you a few minutes to do so. Jot down a list of colleagues, supervisors, ex-managers and anyone else who you’d think would have a positive perception of who you are as a professional, then head to their profile and hit that ‘request a recommendation’ button.
LinkedIn recommendations are handy additions to your job-seeking artillery for two reasons. The first being is that they're viewable on your profile for anyone headhunting you, and the second is that you’re armed with ready-to-go references should anyone ask for them during the interview process.
Keep It Concise
Use dot points when listing your professional experience. Cut out unnecessary language. Get to the point with every sentence on your profile.
Put Your Thoughts Down
Along with posts in feed, you can also publish more substantial writings through the Write An Article feature. This is a great space to show your passion for your profession, and will show your network you give a damn about what you do.
It goes without saying that the Keep It Concise rule applies here, too.
Customise Your URL
This is especially handy for those with common names. For example, there are about 3,400 Rick Stephens on LinkedIn right now, and that’s a laborious number for hirers to sift through. Editing your URL makes life easier for everyone, and it’s a surprisingly easy process; just head to your profile, hit the pencil icon to the right of your headshot and scroll down to ‘edit contact details’.
Follow your professional inspirations, share relevant work and articles, leave comments and join LinkedIn groups. Doing this will fuel your feed with any career drive you may have been lacking, and it’ll also help with getting your name recognised in relevant networks.
Connect With People
Once you have your profile looking spick and span, it’s time to start shooting off those connection requests. The process here should be approached with caution; if you’re reaching out to someone you don’t know, make sure you include a message as to why you’re doing so—it’s otherwise not too dissimilar to receiving a questionable friend request from a stranger on Facebook.
On the flip-side, if you’ve met someone at work, at a conference or even at the pub who you feel would benefit your career, make haste and fire off a request where appropriate. Once again, don’t forget to include a short message; it’s not only polite but also handy if they’ve forgotten who you are—which is more than likely if you met at the pub.
Give SEO A Thought
This may feel excessive, but refer back to the age-old question, how bad do you really want the job? Giving search engine optimisation a second thought is well worth your time, and all you have to do is think about relevant keywords to your industry then pop them in your headline and summary.
Consider your specific skills and qualifications you may have that tie back to your industry. Then, when recruiters are searching for candidates, you’ll have a better chance of showing up higher in the list.
Image credit: Maxim Ilyahov | Unsplash