If you are looking for a new role or a new client, LinkedIn is where it’s at. The beauty of LinkedIn is that if you write a great personal profile you open yourself up to the opportunity to be found for work. Yes, that’s right, found for work. Potential employers or clients find you - you don’t have to seek, hunt or cold-call for work. A relatively small investment of time to write a profile will be rewarded with opportunities.
A great LinkedIn profile will turn you into a Job Attraction Magnet. You simply need to write a captivating headline, add in an engaging summary, include key achievements and then throw in a few key words and rich media. That’s it, then just wait for the good times and the LinkedIn Inmails to roll on in.
There is a common misconception that LinkedIn is your “online CV”. This is not the case. Firstly, the format for demonstrating your experience and the value you can bring to any potential employer is completely different. Secondly, the platform offers so much more than an opportunity to post your work history. LinkedIn is your online personal brand. It allows you to be sought out for your expertise, expand your professional network, and learn from and engage in conversation with other brilliant minds in your industry and beyond. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to raise your profile, and, if you are a senior professional or a specialist within your niche, to publish content and position yourself as a Thought Leader. You can use LinkedIn as your own mini-blog.
Many people find LinkedIn a bit of mystery. It needn’t be. Simply read on and we’ll demystify it for you.
Some Things to Think About
- First and foremost, you need to update your profile to reflect your personal brand and speak to your audience, be it potential employers, clients or colleagues. The more complete your profile, the more likely you are to be found on LinkedIn also.
- Your profile should concisely communicate who you are, why you do what you do, what unique value you bring and be targeted to your specific audience.
- It is a good daily practice to be checking LinkedIn to keep up with Industry News and people moves. It is also recommended to get involved by commenting on posts and news with thoughtful and relevant commentary.
- If you are posting short or long-form posts, depending on your particular audience, generally after 12pm until after the commute hour is over, Monday through to Friday, is the best time to post to get maximum exposure.
You need to create a standout Headline that captures the reader’s attention and ensures they click through to read your profile. You engage them with a summary that connects. Your experience and achievements Wow them. The rich media on your profile makes it visually appealing and ensures that are enticed to stay on your profile and read on. Finally, your testimonials seal the deal; you really do have what it takes to work with them or for them. Hello new job or new client!
Before You Start
A word of warning - when you change your profile, this will be published in your newsfeed and your employer may be notified of these changes. Not a great look if you’re on the hunt for a new job in secret. When editing your profile, ensure you switch the “Notify Your Network”, switch this to “No”. This way you can edit your profile without informing the world.
You can and should customize your LinkedIn URL/address (https://au.linkedin.com/in/..). You don’t need to have a URL with lots of numbers. It’s best to customize this and then when you share the URL in your email signature or on your CV it will look significantly more professional – plus, it will look like you are digitally savvy.
Create a Standout Headline
- Write a standout headline. LinkedIn automatically populates your headline with your most recent job title. It’s best to modify this and list your specialty in order to speak directly to your audience. If you want your profile to be searchable, include important keywords. Aim to keep your headline to approximately ten words.
- The headline is your opportunity to grab your reader’s attention. For that reason the importance of a great headline cannot be underestimated. You don’t want potential employers or clients to scroll past you, so you need to make your headline clickable.
There is so much you can achieve in the relatively small amount of white space. You can:
- be found for a particular type of role (nailing the key words is essential here)
- demonstrate how you add value to a potential client
- seek new business opportunities or network
- aim to reposition yourself and your professional brand
How do you to do make your headline clickable? I thought you’d never ask. Here’s how you can do it simply:
- Write your profile first, then draw inspiration from this for your strengths and ways that you add value. Do this as you may find common themes emerge as you are writing your profile.
- Look at job boards and search the job functions of LinkedIn to find the most common titles and key words employers use to describe your profession.
Here are some examples of excellent headlines:
Social Media Strategist - driving successful campaigns on a shoestring budget. 400% increase in engagement in the past 12 months.
Need digital talent? Recruiter assisting agencies to find top talent. Clients include the UK’s top marketing & comms agencies.
Management Accountant CPA | Specialist in Telecommunications & IT
Create a Standout Summary
The summary really is your Why - why you do what you do. This is your opportunity to speak directly to your audience. Think about what your target reader needs to know about you. Write about why you do what you do, what excites you and a very high level summary of your career journey. The summary really is your Why - why you do what you do? List your key achievements and what value you can bring to your reader.
- Depending on how conservative your industry and audience are, there are a number of different approaches you can take here. If you are in the creative space, you can write your summary as a short story. If you need to establish your authority, you can write a summary that is based on your career accomplishments.
Below are two good examples of summaries:
I’m a freelance, multi-disciplinary graphic designer who’s delivered creative and engaging solutions across brand identity, print, packaging, and digital media.
In 2013, my online brand campaign for the Dorsey Children’s Hospital won a GDUSA award, one of the most prestigious honours in the graphic design industry.
My work has also been featured in Creatique Bloq, Compound Magazine, and on the Creative Review blog.
Skills: logo design, web design, branding and identity, typography, UI design, packaging, CSS, HTML, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator
If you have a project I can help with, please get in touch.
I’m a talent acquisition specialist with an interest in building the most effective workforces possible. For over 20 years, I’ve been helping businesses find their perfect hires. I also do consulting on compensation and benefits, new hire processes, and company culture.
When I’m not on the job, I love hiking with my dog, working my way through every recipe in the family cookbook, and indulging my love for seeing new places.
If you’d like to learn more about how my services can help your company, please reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).”
*Examples courtesy of The Muse
How to Rock the Experience Section of LinkedIn
We’ve discussed the importance of a standout headline and engaging summary to really rock LinkedIn. But what do you include in the Experience section? This is a little easier. For each role you simply need to include a small blurb on the company, your key responsibilities and key achievements. This is not a rehash of your CV. It should be short and punchy, not look like a rewrite of War and Peace. Again, take cues on how conservative your industry is as to how conservative you should be with your writing style. Depending on your tenure and the relevance of the role, three to six key points should sum up your experience.
Key achievements are also important. Again, depending on your tenure, and the amount you achieved in that time, list two to five achievements. Ideally these will be quantifiable. Think about what your potential clients or employer would like to see here and be guided by that. Where possible, include numbers such as how you tracked to budgets such as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and ROI (Return on Investment).
When editing your experience, LinkedIn even provides examples if you click on the Examples link.
- Key Words
You need to include Key Words in your profile to ensure that you are found in search results. Key words are really just the specific words you use to describe your craft or technical skills. They are the words that employers and clients will use when searching for someone with your skill set. It’s super important to get these right so that you are found on LinkedIn and found for the things you want to be found for.
When looking at key words for your Headline, identify the two to three keywords that are most important to you. For example, if you are an Applications Developer, then you might want to have both Senior Programmer and Applications Developer as core keywords. However, you can take this a step further by indicating your areas of specialization, so you might want to add "mobile applications" or "financial applications" to the list. Be careful with management titles, as a CIO in one firm is a Director in another, depending on the size of the firm, so use those titles only if it is the only one you want. A good tip is to include generic titles like: Senior IT Executive | VP IT | CIO.
Examples of key words are “media buying”; “social media strategy”; “accounts payable”; “accounts receivable”; “leadership”; “change management” and “social media strategy. In short, they are just a very succinct way of writing your skills. Think about how your role or ideal role would be described in a position description. Ensure these key words can be found in your job titles and the experience section of your CV.
If you are in marketing or sales, you’ll be acutely aware of how important Social Proof is. Testimonials are your social proof on LinkedIn. Although some people are skeptical, for the most part great testimonials hold weight.
To secure a testimonial from an employer, employee (only use for proof of leadership qualities) or client, scroll to the bottom on your LinkedIn profile and at the very bottom of the Recommendations box you’ll see Ask For Recommendations.
When you reach out for a testimonial you should give some guidance to the referee as to what you’d like them to include in their testimonial.
- Rich Media
Rich media is a fancy word for pictures and videos. Quite simply, if you have images (still or moving) on your profile, people will view your profile for longer.
What images should you include? The images need to showcase your capability. If you are in advertising, marketing, media or comms this is easy. You can put in example of campaigns. If you are in construction you can insert images of the projects you’ve worked on. Don’t have many visual representations of your work? That’s ok. Do you have images of yourself at a conference or the front cover of a great PowerPoint deck that you can include? As long as the image is professional the options are unlimited.
Rich Media Example:
Now for moving images - video. This is fantastic for really engaging with the reader. Again, advertising and marketing people have it easy here, but there are many options outside these industries. Video Case Studies are great - examples of instructional videos and TV coverage of your work are also good. If you don’t have appropriate video though, don’t worry, good still visual content will also do the trick.
Two to three images or video is sufficient for each role. You don’t want your profile getting too busy.
- Complete as much of your profile as possible
Include education, volunteer experience and associations. The more you have in your profile, the more likely you are to come up in tailored search results.
- Start connecting to colleagues, friends, industry influencers
- Join groups in your industry, niche and in line with your interests
- Get involved in the conversations in your newsfeed – which will now be rich with content when you’re connected and in the groups
- Read interesting articles on Pulse
- Post articles demonstrating your expertise and updates on exciting things happening in your industry
- Start publishing long-form content to be viewed as a Thought Leader in your space
- If you’re not already subscribe to www.inspiredcareerscoaching.com.au to get weekly updates on LinkedIn and other career enhancing and smart job searching strategies
Can We Help Further?
- If you’d like further guidance, engaging headlines to choose from, summary templates to work with and an expert review then just click here and we’ll show you how.
- If, instead of writing a profile yourself, you’d like one written for you by an expert writer, we have a cost and time-effective solution with a Standout LinkedIn profile.
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