LinkedIn is the social media platform for professionals, and it’s one of the perfect places to be to get yourself noticed. Social media can be a powerful tool for those who want to look for their next career opportunity or for those trying to grow their business. When you’re not trying to find new opportunities, it is a great tool for growing your contacts and networking.
Utilizing the LinkedIn platform has allowed me to tell my unique story more and strengthen my personal brand. It has been a great way to keep in touch with others on a more regular basis and I’ve also had more job prospects reach out to me then ever before. Half of the battle is over when companies are reaching out to you to talk about their open positions! This platform allows others to easily get a sense for what you bring to the table and how you can help.
After reading this post, you will have ideas to fill out all the important LinkedIn program categories and can stop feeling lost or overwhelmed with the process. Let’s get your profile completed so you can start bringing in the kind of opportunities you really want.
Professional LinkedIn Profile Photo
First things first, choose a photo that is professional. This isn’t your Facebook profile so keep it work appropriate and simple.
I paid to get simple head shots done for other reasons but decided to use that for my profile photo.
If purchasing head shots isn’t an option, you can very easily take a professional photo with your phone! Choose a simple background and a professional outfit and you will be ready to go. Many of my photos include a background that is plain white. Don’t feel like you need to do anything special or crazy, solid neutral colors are perfect for this.
Remember, people want to know who you are so choose a pose that allows you to be seen very clearly from the shoulders up.
Attention Grabbing Headline
The headline is a very important piece of your profile! You have 120 characters underneath your name that can be customized to help you sum up who you are and what you do.
Many people use this area to highlight what their current position is, or they may highlight being a recent graduate or a candidate of a certain degree/program if they haven’t yet completed it.
My current position doesn’t completely define me though. If yours doesn’t fully define you either, this is your opportunity to put one together that will. Outside of my position at work, I am heavily involved in nonprofit work and have picked up many of my skills there. I am also passionate about strategic planning and its part of my personal brand. These are two areas that I chose to highlight. Having a customized headline allows me to immediately put what I want to be known for into peoples minds.
My current headline is: Finance Professional I Community Focused I Developing and Leading Strategy
As you create your amazing headline, keep in mind what your personal brand is. Creating this to highlight the kind of opportunities you want to be thought of for will be beneficial.
Another great idea I’ve noticed on other’s profiles is that they highlight the problem they solve. I’ve seen one person use this spot to highlight that they organize chaos so others can thrive. Another of my contacts highlighted that they connect people with projects they’re passionate about. If you’re a problem solver in your work or business, think about incorporating this into your headline.
Storytelling Summary and Media/Work Examples
Filling out the summary section of your profile is a must! This is your chance to give others a snapshot of what you are all about.
In my summary, I chose to share some details about what I do daily in my work and highlight notable and transferrable details of my nonprofit experience.
Here are some questions to prompt you:
- What is your current experience? Give a brief description of this.
- Are there unique or strong skills you want to highlight?
- Are you currently pursuing a degree or certificate, or recently graduated? Use this area to draw attention to that!
- What type of hobbies do you have that others can connect with?
- Include a clear call to action: Are you looking for more connections? Do you want to network over coffee? Use this area to highlight what you are looking for, if anything.
The summary area is also a great place to highlight any documents, photos, sites, videos or presentations that you’ve worked on. In the past, I had contributed to a couple of newsletters and wanted to include these to help tell my story. I also included some press information from a project I helped work on. If you have something that you can show off, now is the time to upload it!
Detailed Work Experience
This is one of my favorite areas. I spent so long not really knowing what to say and had to do some additional work in this area. One day, I took the time to detail everything that I did in my current role and all my past roles. I didn’t know how helpful this was going to be!
If you do an exercise like this, you will find that you likely did way more than you originally thought. This will also serve you well for when you want to look for jobs that are a little outside of your normal scope.
I used to feel really stuck because I always wanted to include awards or recognition that I received. But, I didn’t always have any to include. So, what do you say or include if you don’t have anything? This section is a great opportunity to highlight certain areas of your experience. In one role, I didn’t receive any recognition that I deemed worthy of mentioning. But, a big highlight for me was that I got the chance to help cross train others. I loved that part of my job and would be interested in doing it again, so I included that.
In my experience, this has worked just as well as any award. Employers like hearing I have an interest in training others and that I’ve mastered this skill set enough to be able to be successful at it.
Training, setting up a new process, or coming up with a new solution are no easy feats. Take the time to think about anything you’ve done, big or small, and package it up as one of your many skills to share!
Including your education on your LinkedIn profile is a must! You’ve completed it, so let it work for you.
In this area, I have highlighted courses I’ve taken and any activities/societies that I belonged to while pursing my education.
Once again, nothing is too big or small for this area.
I’ve included my high school, bachelors and master’s education in this area. It may be from a while ago, but I’ve included:
- My school leadership roles from high school
- Serving as dorm hall president in college
- Any sports I’ve participated in
Not that this is going to be the thing to get me the next great job, but it backs up the fact that I’ve been interested in leadership for a long time and that I’ve always lived a life full of activities. These also help to show my personality and tells my story, which is the desired effect.
This is an area on LinkedIn that I don’t always see being used. I see it as an area full of untapped potential.
I began to include my volunteer experience years ago once I started working on projects that were more than one day in length. Being on nonprofit boards and gaining more skills to talk about helped provide content to post.
I’ve found that a lot of employers enjoy hearing about this. It has been a great connecting point with others because they usually have their own projects that they work on and want to share.
The organization you are interviewing with may also have their own projects that they get involved with. It could help to support the fact that you are a good fit because they see other areas of potential.
The other important thing to remember about volunteer experience is that skills are skills. I’ve noticed that many of the skills and training I’ve picked up in the volunteer realm have translated over to other areas of my life. If it could be an asset for you, include it on your page and as part of your story.
The skills list is a great area that can help you highlight your knowledge.
You’ve already included these throughout the other areas of your profile but here is the time to call it out directly. The other great part about this area is that others can endorse the skills you mention.
You can politely ask people if they will endorse certain skills or write a review for you. Trust me potential employers will most definitely check out your profile if you have one. This could be a good opportunity for them to see what others have to say about you.
If you are at a loss for what to include in this area, don’t be afraid to pull up your detailed work and volunteer experience you listed above. Begin to pull out the descriptive words that fit with the skills. If you are still stuck, head over to Google to type in responsibilities you’ve held and read the descriptions others use. You will easily find some ideas that resonate with you.
As I mentioned earlier, I am more than my work in the finance industry. So, I have not been afraid to include other skills I have like volunteer management and fundraising strategy. Use the skills you want to be thought of for when it comes to future opportunities you want.
I chose to utilize the organizations list because I belong to a few different ones. This as a way to connect with others over similar interests and show support for organizations.
I am a member of the Risk Management Association and the Women’s Foundation of Oregon, and I wanted others to know this.
If you belong to any type of professional organizations or societies, share them! You never know which one will start a conversation with someone. You could also be surprised to find out that one of your connections has an interest in the same one!
Bonus LinkedIn Tip: Creating Posts
When I set out to start creating my own posts, my first thought was what am I going to say that will add value? Don’t get discouraged! There is plenty for you to say that will allow your expertise and personality to shine on LinkedIn.
Here are some of the things that I will write a post on:
- Networking events I attend
- Trainings that I am a part of
- Something interesting that I learned during my morning development time
- My nonprofit board involvement
- Interesting articles/blog posts that I come across with my own short summary included
- Presentations that I’ve recently listened to
When creating your own posts, it doesn’t have to be about an event you put on yourself or content that you’ve created. You can share that any information that is thought provoking, educational or informational.
I’m always taking photos wherever I go which is common in our social media world these days anyway, right? I have begun to share my own photos from places that I go which has added value to the topics that I am sharing. Be on the lookout for great photo opportunities!
Creating posts on LinkedIn is all around a great way to allow your voice to be heard on topics that are important to you and that are part of your personal brand. Showing your thought process and things you are a part of is also a great way for you to show your personality.
LinkedIn: The Untapped Resource
LinkedIn has so much to offer to those working in the professional world or those who have their own business. It has served me well with networking opportunities, job prospects and presenting myself as a qualified candidate to those already in my network.
You are now armed with great tips for setting up the important sections of your LinkedIn profile and have some tips on what types of content to post to generate the right kind of buzz for you.
Even if you aren’t looking for a new job today, there are always opportunities, so be ready!
What are your best LinkedIn tips? Share them with us in the comments.
Be sure to share with your social network too! Just hit the share button.