7 Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile in 2018
A well-designed LinkedIn profile can help you get a job!
Even as a student, having a strong LinkedIn profile acts as an important step on your ladder towards career success. As you begin to search for industry related summer jobs, or a full-time job as you complete your degree, employers will be looking at your profile.
However, many students don’t take the time to improve their LinkedIn presence. There are a few simple changes you can make to your LinkedIn profile in less than an hour that will significantly boost your profile’s professionalism and visibility.
- 1. Customizing your LinkedIn URL
As simple as it is, a lot of people actually don’t know that this can be done. By customizing the URL of your LinkedIn profile, you can make yourself easier to find and appear more professional. It also won’t hurt when including your LinkedIn URL in your email signature or on a job application. I suggest first trying to customize your LinkedIn URL to your first and last name. If that is already taken, you can try including an initial or try your last and first name. If that fails, you can try having your name as well as your industry.
Here’s how to change your URL:
- Go to your profile
- In the top right corner there is a button that says “Edit public profile & URL”
- Click the small blue pencil in the top right corner under Edit URL
- 2. Get Professional with Your Profile Photo
This is pretty much a no-brainer, but surprisingly many people still have photos that don’t do them any good in their job searches. The photo should be clear, bright and ideally, feature you from the chest up. You should be dressed professionally, and if looking for a job, dressed for the job you want. You might say you don’t have the resources or time to take a good photo. I can tell you that this is definitely untrue. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo shoot, and most phone cameras will take a picture that is of perfectly acceptable quality. Have a friend take your photo – just remember to look friendly and approachable.
- 3. Create an engaging and value driven summary
As this is typically the first part of your LinkedIn profile, it is most often the part of your profile people will read first, if not the only part. As with any first impression, it’s important to make it stand out and hard to forget. In your summary section, you will want to share information in a way that is easily digested by those visiting your profile. Here are some best practices to include in creating a compelling summary:
- The summary section should be written in first person. After all, you are trying to sell yourself, not write an autobiography.
- I would suggest using several bullet points to get information about yourself across quickly. Use a few, short, to the point sentences to convey why you are great at what you do and why you would be worth hiring.
- Describe what drives, motivates and inspires you and how you integrate these into your work.
- Include something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Do you have any interesting quirks or hobbies? Are you working on a neat project? Any fascinating facts to share? This is how you grab attention and differentiate yourself.
- 4. Share your accomplishments in the experience section
Your LinkedIn profile should not be a complete copy and paste of your resume. People are not going to take the time to study your education and work experiences in depth, so it’s important to only relay the hardest hitting points on your LinkedIn profile. What am I talking about? I’m talking about your accomplishments at school or in any jobs you’ve held. Readers of your LinkedIn profile aren’t going to want to know the day-to-day tasks of what you did, but they will want to know why or how you were successful.
- 5. Add multimedia to your profile
This feature will enhance the quality and appeal of your LinkedIn profile. This feature on LinkedIn allows you to add links, documents, photos and videos to your profile summary and experience sections. It’s a quick and easy way to demonstrate your skills in an interactive way if you already have items that you can include on your profile.
- 6. Showcase your most relevant skills
Don’t go overboard with adding skills to your profile! Just because LinkedIn allows you to add 50, doesn’t mean that you should. It is better to focus on 5-10 core skills that actually mean something to your industry, rather than just adding skills for the sake of filling the section up. If you have already added numerous skills to your skills section, go back into your profile and edit them down to something more manageable. By doing this, you are also limiting the number of options your connections can endorse you for, therefore allowing more clicks for the promotion of skills that matter to you most in your industry.
- 7. Follow key leaders and influencers and join relevant groups in your industry
Lastly, if you haven’t already done so, make sure you are following influential people and thought leaders in your industry. This is a sure-fire way to ensure that your newsfeed fills up with content that will inspire and lead you in the right direction in your career. With that being said, make sure to also join 1 to 3 groups that you will want to participate in, or at least read. This is a great way to get noticed and build relationships with those in your industry. When selecting groups to join, you may want to consider the industry, location and the types of people you want to acquaint yourself with.
Job searching isn’t easy, but having a LinkedIn profile that is robust and up to date will surely be of help to you. Even if you don’t list your LinkedIn link on your resume, expect that potential employers will look for you on LinkedIn. People like to put a face to a name. This is why it’s important for you to spend at least an hour making sure potential employers will like what they see! Good luck!