‘Tis the season for holiday sparkle! If you have some downtime this week, it could be the perfect moment to make sure your LinkedIn profile sparkles just as much as your New Year's outfit.
With so many social media options out there, it can be hard to know where to put your energy. Since LinkedIn is (hopefully) the first thing that pops up when someone googles you, it’s in your best interest to put your most professional, polished foot forward. If you don't curate your online presence, the depths of the Internet will do it for you (your high school Livejournal? Your live tweets of the VMA’s? Might be time to detag that sorority recruitment video…). Hiring managers will head to your profile as a background check, and what they see could make or break your chances.
While some of these tips may seem like common sense (insert eyeroll emoji here), you’d be surprised just how many people could benefit from a Linkedin 101 refresher. If you’re on the prowl for a new gig, we’re here to help make sure your LinkedIn is more clickable than every KimYe baby article combined. With these tips, you’ll be networking with the pros in no time!
1. Your Picture
I wish we could tell you your picture didn't matter (we know you've got a great personality) but let's be real - it makes a difference. Profiles with pictures get more views, making you seem more real and approachable. Make sure you select a photo that highlights your professionalism. Is your picture blurry? Is it tiny and far away, or awkwardly close up? Can we tell that you snapped it at a club or took it from your Tinder profile? LinkedIn isn’t the place for your selfie, your #squad, or your puppy, so if you answered yes to any of those questions, grab a friend with the best camera and work it! Feel free to experiment with what style gets you the best results, but a solid head shot or field-specific action shot is never a bad idea!
2. (Humble)Brag About Your Experiences
If you don’t like being told you have to cut your resume down to a page then listen up – your LinkedIn profile is a living, breathing resume with no page limits. Embrace it! This is the moment to brag (in a way that doesn’t make you sound like a d-bag), so let the world know what you can bring to the table.
Make sure to flush out your experience section with job titles and juicy, detailed descriptions -- the more information you include, the more hiring managers will know about how you can add value. You never know what project will peak someone’s interest!
Your summary section is the place to put your objective statement, a short wrap up that answers the question “So what’s this person all about?” This professional thesis statement (shout out to our 9th grade English teacher) should frame your trajectory, your passions, your skills, and your goals – keep it to a short paragraph and highlight your specialty and what you’re looking for down the road. If you have a personal website or portfolio, this is the place to add it. Someone should be able to read your summary and feel like they got your virtual, non-cheesy elevator pitch.
Finally, the skills section is super underrated so don’t forget to show it some love! We know sometimes LinkedIn generates it automatically and the actual skills people endorse you for feel totally random (like when someone you haven’t spoken to since your freshman year anthro lecture endorses you for leadership…thanks, man) but you have more power here than you think. You can add skills you want to highlight, like buzz words from a certain industry, and you can also rearrange the order in which they’re listed on your profile. This is great for career pivoters who may have been endorsed for skillz from a past gig but want to showcase others in their new job hunt.
3. Personalize your profile
Your headline is your shot to make yourself stand out. Whether you chose to highlight your current position by adding your title or if you’d rather let the world know about your industry-specific expertise, your headline is the first thing that will catch someone’s eye. Feel free to get creative here – your headline can totally be your personal clickbait!
The groups you join and the companies you follow are another great way to let people know about your experiences and interests. Alumni groups in particular can be perfect places to network.
Also, every profile comes with an automatically generated link filled with random letters and numbers - make everyone’s life easier and edit yours to be your name.
4. Keep It Current
If your profile headline says one thing but you actually switched jobs 6 months ago, you aren’t going to direct the right kind of traffic to your profile. If you had 4 jobs you never included, it makes people wonder why there’s a huge gap from graduation until now. If your picture is very clearly your fraternity composite photo (we all know the type) but you’ve been out of school for a minute, it shows that you might not care much about keeping your online presence up to date. When you’re interested in working with startups and the tech industry, neglecting your online presence won’t give off the vibe you want and may hurt your chances.
5. Catch Your Typos
We hate to have to emphasize it, but…bad grammar is a turn off, no matter how you swing it. Proofread your profile yourself, ask your roommate to proofread it, ask your mom to proofread it, ask everyone to proofread it! Is your punctuation consistent? Do you have awkward sentence fragments? Did you spell something wrong? Eek. Don’t be that guy.
In between your holiday lounging this season, take a few minutes and make sure these are all checked off the list. The little things can go a long way in making your online presence seem professional and curated, so log in to LinkedIn and get to editing! We want every hiring manager who clicks on your awesome, approachable picture to be wowed by what they find – your LinkedIn should win you points, rather than potentially sabotage your job hunt.
Have a shiny new LinkedIn profile that you want to show off to the world? Sign up on Planted to kick start your job hunt and find a career you love!