November 12, 2018, by Carla Froggatt
10 Must-Haves on Your LinkedIn Profile
By Rebecca Heasman, Employability Officer
LinkedIn is a great resource for finding jobs, researching careers and networking with employers. How do you maximise your profile to really get the most out of it?
Research shows that the most effective LinkedIn users have complete profiles. LinkedIn measures the strength of your profile based on how complete it is and you should be aiming for what it calls ‘all-star’ status. In this blog, we’ll talk you through the top 10 things your profile must have to be complete and really stand out.
1. A professional photo
Did you know your profile is 21-times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo? First impressions count and a review of your LinkedIn profile may be an employer’s first encounter with you. So, in the same way that you wouldn’t turn up to a job interview dressed down, make sure your picture displays the professional you.
Remember LinkedIn isn’t Instagram so that means no pet pictures, holiday snaps or selfies. Put your best foot first and upload an industry-appropriate professional headshot with a clear background. Oh, and don’t forget to smile!
2. A punchy headline
Your headline appears next to your name on LinkedIn. It’s the first thing an employer will read so it’s important to catch their attention to encourage them to click. If you don’t choose your own headline, LinkedIn will use the default ‘student at the University of Nottingham’, but if you stick with this you’re missing the opportunity to position yourself above your peers.
Your headline should consist of the most important thing you want a prospective employer to know about you in 120 characters. Try to succinctly display what you have to offer and what your career aspirations are – if you know. Be specific, avoid clichés and vague phrases.
You could write something like ‘Aspiring sales consultant with a passion for healthcare and a proven track record of exceeding commercial targets’. Sounds so much better than the first example, doesn’t it? Don’t worry if you have limited experience as you can also use this space to talk about your interests and show your enthusiasm.
3. A summary worth reading
This is often left out by many LinkedIn users because it can be difficult to know where to start, but it gets you seven-times the profile views and it’s a really great opportunity for you to sell yourself.
If it helps, think of it as an elevator pitch. Give the reader a succinct overview of your current situation, skills and experience, and where your interests lie. You 2,000 characters, but aim to do it in less. As with CVs, recruiters don’t have an awful lot of time to be reading through reams of text. Don’t be tempted to take the easy way out and accept LinkedIn’s offer of an automatically generated summary – the results are impersonal and it’s very obvious that it’s written by a computer.
4. Detailed experience
Don’t make the mistake of just adding job titles and company names. The more detailed your experience section, the higher your profile will be in the search results.
You want to make sure you list achievements and skills, rather than task-orientated bullets. Evidence the value you added to the role with details of awards won, targets achieved, skills developed, knowledge gained, and feedback received. If you don’t have much work experience, don’t panic as LinkedIn has a section where you can add volunteer work too. It also allows you to go beyond your CV with the option to add links to projects or examples of your work.
5. Relevant keywords
Did you know recruiters search for candidates through Boolean search strings comprised of keywords? This is another reason why it is crucial to make your LinkedIn as detailed as possible. Add industry and skills-based keywords that relate to the types of roles you want. If you’re stuck, look at a job description for a role you are interested in for inspiration.
6. Personal endorsements that show you’re great
Recommendations and endorsements give your profile credibility. Try to connect with relevant people you’ve worked with in your part-time job, or your supervisor during an internship and ask them to endorse you for some of the skills you developed during that time and give you the recommendation to validate the skills and experience you’ve mentioned already in your profile and promote your work ethic.
7. Up-to-date contact information
A simple but often overlooked part of a LinkedIn profile is contact information. Add a current email address and/or a phone number. You should also add an up-to-date location to your profile; either where you are based or where you are hoping to find work.
8. A strong network of connections
As the phrase goes “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Connecting with relevant people on LinkedIn can help you get known in an industry of interest.
9. Membership of LinkedIn Groups
Did you know LinkedIn has lots of industry groups? This is a great way to find relevant and prospective professionals to connect with, and to stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and vacancies.
There is also an alumni tool for each university to help you stay connected with your peers. You can filter by course studied to see what other students with your degree have gone on to do – a great way to find inspiration if you are unsure what to do next.
10. A search-engine-optimised profile
LinkedIn automatically generates a URL for your profile which includes a random combination of characters. We recommend that you edit it by personalising it with your name, for example, www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. This helps to ensure your profile appears when people search for you and the link on your CV looks much neater too.
Building a strong LinkedIn profile is no easy task. It takes time but has huge potential to help you on in your career. If you’d like to talk through any of the above, you can book a one-to-one appointment or come along to a skills workshops. You can also explore more resources to get you started online here.