LinkedIn is the most powerful social network for making professional connections. It’s also one of the first places recruiters check when they hear about candidates. “Oh, you think so-and-so would be a good fit for this role? Let me check her out on LinkedIn and then perhaps we could get her in for an interview.” LinkedIn is your shop window for your services, and it (literally) pays to have a profile that pops.
Here’s how to make sure your LinkedIn profile page stands out from the crowd.
You Have a Profile
You are on LinkedIn, aren’t you? If not, go and create an account right now! It’s free. LinkedIn isn’t an upstart site that is going anywhere. Now owned by Microsoft, this social platform has been around since 2003.
OK, now we’ve got that out the way…
Create A Headline With Benefits
You want your headline (the tagline that appears under your name) to sum up what you have to offer a company. Think benefits. There’s no point in overselling yourself here because the rest of your profile will show what you can do in more detail, but if you can claim that you’ve successfully led Scrum teams on three continents, then say it.
Sell Through The Summary
You have the opportunity to add a summary of your skills which appears under your location and at the top of the main section. Use this wisely! Not everyone is going to scroll through all of your job history, so please include an overview of your skills and what you can do for a potential employer.
Pick out any facts, statistics, major accomplishments, and numbers from your previous positions and spotlight them here. You can also include how best to contact you. For example, you can add a line saying that you welcome connections through LinkedIn and that you are actively seeking a new opportunity.
There is also the option to add your contact details such as Twitter account, phone number, and email address but these will only appear to people in your network.
You can add media to your summary. Add a presentation, document or image, or link to your blog or website.
You can also add a header picture behind your profile photo (get a nice, professional looking headshot for this, no selfies or vacation pics please). A header picture can help your profile stand out and also draw attention to your key achievements. If you worked on a large project, you could put final photos in there, or share a picture of you facilitating a workshop or similar.
Highlight Your Experience
Keep your profile up to date, and you’ll never worry again about when you started a particular job! List your current and previous roles. Include details about what you did, highlighting the benefits to the organization. Focus on measurable achievements instead of stuffing your job summaries with meaningless keywords.
You can also add media to each job, so if you did a fantastic presentation or got a customer testimonial, include it here! You can link to your company’s website or a press release if your project got mentioned in the news, for example. All of this is designed to provide evidence of what you achieved in those roles.
Social proof is the name given to the fact that we are more likely to believe or buy something if someone else has done it first and told us about it, and that goes for buying your skills. It’s why you see so many websites with customer testimonials or case studies, and why sites like Amazon rely heavily on customer reviews to promote your products.
Social proof on your profile comes through recommendations and endorsements. A recommendation is a handcrafted statement from someone who has worked with you. An endorsement is someone in your network clicking a button to say you have a particular workplace skill.
If you don’t have recommendations, ask for them! Talk to your current project team or manager and ask them to write a line or two about what it is like working with you. You can do the same for them, whether they reciprocate for you or not.
You can often get endorsements if you endorse a colleague for a skill (make sure it is one you believe they actually have). They’ll then get a notification that you have done so, and they are more likely to be invited to endorse you for skills that LinkedIn feels you might have.
Build Your Network
LinkedIn’s recommendation is that you don’t invite simply anyone to be part of your network. They should be people you know or have worked with. You can decide which invitations to accept so create your policy for accepting connections and stick to it.
It’s also worth browsing LinkedIn’s recommendations of people you might know and asking relevant people to connect with you. While you might not want everyone on your current team to be part of your network, LinkedIn’s suggestions are normally pretty good! The more people who know that you are in the market for a new role, the more likely it is that you will be successful in achieving that goal.
Networking is more than just connecting with people. While you are actively building your profile and your network you should:
· Share articles on your profile – either ones you have written yourself on your website or things you think your network would find interesting.
· Message people through the LinkedIn interface. Pick someone to send a message once a week and use the platform to keep in touch with ex-colleagues and work acquaintances.
· Participate in groups. Find a group that fits your industry or job role and join. Then comment, participate and help each other in the group on a regular basis.
LinkedIn also has a publishing feature which means you can use LinkedIn as your personal blog, or you can repurpose blog articles that you have written elsewhere and reprint them on LinkedIn (as long as you have the copyright or permission to do so).
From your home page, click ‘Write an article’ and you’ll see the publishing interface. Add your story text, a picture, and a headline and click to share your words with the rest of your network. This can set you apart from others by positioning yourself as a subject matter expert.
Your network gets alerts whenever you update your profile, so it’s worth taking some time today to check that it says what you want it to say about you. Your LinkedIn page should support your job-seeking aims so make it work for you! Looking for support with your job search? We can help. Triumph Strategic Consulting can help you find the perfect project management role for you. Drop us a line today!