By Heidi Carreron -
Let’s connect on LinkedIn! Whether you’re a seasoned professional or you’re just starting out, people recognize LinkedIn as a useful tool to expand their network and search for jobs. Still, it can be a drag to make your profile and network with other professionals; it’s difficult enough to update your resume and prepare for interviews.
However, the biggest mistake that people can make is to think it’s just another social media platform.
You might ask, “But can’t I apply for jobs with just my cover letter and resume?” While the answer is technically “yes,” having a strong LinkedIn profile is important:
The platform has over 26 million companies and 15 million active job listings
Over 90% of job recruiters use LinkedIn regularly to find top talent
About 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions
It can be overwhelming to figure out how to stand out on LinkedIn. Luckily, you can get on the right track with your LinkedIn game by making a few simple tweaks.
Don’t Be Afraid To Go Public
We know: it’s scary to put yourself out there, especially when you’re inviting a stranger to contact you. However, you’re limiting your visibility if you keep your profile private. Most job recruiters find talent through LinkedIn searches, and you might miss opportunities if they can’t see your profile. Luckily, Linkedin has options under the “settings and privacy” tab where you can still keep your personal information private or visible only to your 1st degree connections. You can also control which aspects of your LinkedIn profile that people can see.
Start With Your Best Foot Forward
If you don’t have a profile picture, make that your #1 priority as soon as you finish this article. Again, putting your face on the Internet is scary, but a profile picture assures recruiters you’re “real.” LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more views and 36 times more messages than those who don’t. If you’re on a budget, you don’t even need to have your photo professionally done. Just grab a friend with a good smartphone camera and have them snap a photo of you.
Change Up Your Title
When you create your LinkedIn profile, the platform automatically makes your headline, or title, the same as your current job title. Since this title appears beneath your name in search results, you can leverage this to highlight your accomplishments or show off your personality. For instance, “Project Manager” can be a common thing, but “Award-Winning Project Manager With 10+ Years Experience With Fortune 500 Companies” is a lot more eye-catching. On the fun side, a person who has a well-rounded background in content creation can display, “Digital Media Swiss Army Knife.” Experiment with a few headlines and get feedback to choose the headline that best fits you.
Brag A Bit
For many women, talking about accomplishments can seem narcissistic. But times are changing, and women are long overdue to own their worth and success. When you fill out the descriptions of your job positions, list not only what you did but also highlight interesting information. Did you increase sales for the company? Did you generate more leads after you redesigned your website? Did Forbes cover the marketing campaign you worked on? The job description area is the perfect place to not only tell people about your job but also show you’re good at what you do.
Walk Like You Talk
So you listed what you’ve done, but how can a recruiter check that? If you’re a writer, graphic designer, or other kind of creative, show off your skills by uploading links and samples of your work to your profile. Even if you’re not in a creative position, you can still provide samples of your work by showcasing press coverage of projects you worked on or (if you’re not under an NDA or violating a contract) screenshots of data showing your accomplishments.
Get (And Give) Recommendations
The cherry on top of a great LinkedIn profile is a recommendation from people who worked with you. Just like companies ask for references, LinkedIn recommendations add weight to your profile and let recruiters know you’re great to work with. Recommendations don’t always have to come from previous bosses. If you’ve managed people before, junior associates can write recommendations of your leadership and management skills. If you’re early in your career, you can seek recommendations from professors and volunteer supervisors.
Standing out on LinkedIn can be rough because it’s like a very detailed resume, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. If you make the tweaks mentioned above you’re already ahead of many people who are on LinkedIn for the sake of being on LinkedIn, so go forth and rock the game!