How to Perfect Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Walkthrough

Social media is tricky. On one hand, it can be a time sink allowing you to spend hours of your time wrapped up in the lives of others. On the other hand, it can be an extremely useful tool in utilizing your relationships with friends, colleagues, former classmates, or building more relationships for the purpose of finding your next job.

First of all, I know that quite a few people can feel "weird" or awkward about asking people for jobs, but I'm here to tell you that there is NO shame whatsoever in asking for help. In fact, did you know that the majority (up to 85%!) of positions are filled due to knowing someone that can refer you in or, what we call, "networking"? If you're still hesitant about utilizing social media, understand that LinkedIn has over 500 million users for you to connect with, and over 250 million of them are active every month. According to those statistics, if we are to assume that all 146 million of LinkedIn users in the United States are unique users, then over a third of the population in this country are on LinkedIn.

Yeah, you don't want to miss out.

If you HAVE made a LinkedIn profile but don't know how to optimize it or don't know how to start, answer one question first. What is your intention? Is it to:

  1. Find a job from unemployment
  2. Leave your current job for a better paying job in the same position
  3. Leave your current company for a more prestigious company or a company with better benefits
  4. Leave your current role or career path for a completely new career
  5. Leave your current position for a position in the same career path, but a different or more senior role

Depending on your intention, your LinkedIn profile is going to reflect different information. Regardless, you want to have a "recruiter-facing" profile meaning you want your profile to be inviting for recruiters. You want recruiters to be able to pick out your profile in the sea of potential candidates for them to come to you with an offer for a phone call. Remember, recruiters are looking for potential fits and candidates as well and the most attractive candidate, is one with a detailed and active profile. 

So how can we make our LinkedIn profile most attractive for recruiters? Well, first understand that recruiters are people just doing their job as well. Take a glance at this article to see the tips that LinkedIn themselves give to recruiters for having a good profile to have a better understanding of what recruiters are looking for in a candidate.

How to Perfect Your LinkedIn Profile:

1. Get a professional picture

Profiles with professional headshots get "14x" more views and are "36x more likely to receive a message" than profiles without.

If you don't have a LinkedIn picture, most people will assume that you're not active and will simply pass you by.

If you don't have the funds to hire a professional photographer, grab a friend, your smartphone, and head to the nearest college campus (libraries or other buildings with a "professional look" work as well) and start snapping some pictures.

2. Start connecting with as many people as possible

Once you reach 500 or more connections, LinkedIn will just display that you have 500+ connections. That 500 mark is pretty critical in showing how active of a LinkedIn user you are. The more active you are, the more likely that not only will people message you with the assumption that you'll read their message, but the more likely that your profile will appear to people just outside your network who might be looking for someone with your exact credentials.

Understand that over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a part of their hiring process, so try to connect with as many recruiters as possible and don't be scared to send the first message!

3. Have an attention grabbing headline

If you're unemployed or are not afraid to display that you're looking for a job publicly, you want your headline to display who you are as a professional. What is your expertise, your strengths, and what kind of value can you bring to a company?

Think of a sentence that summarizes your professional value.

4. Vocabulary and Grammar

Just like a resume, no one is going to continue reading a LinkedIn profile that is littered with grammatical errors and poor vocabulary.

Avoid general and lazy words.

Here's a list you might consider, though I would argue that some of those words can be used in the right context backed by data.

Remember, your first impression (whether it's a resume or LinkedIn profile) is about shining a light on yourself that makes you look as professionally attractive as possible. You want recruiters to be thinking "there's NO way I'm missing out on this candidate". One of the best ways to do that is to utilize a vocabulary that is hard-hitting, impactful, and emotionally stirring.

You want to seem enthusiastic, easy to work with, and eager to learn without explicitly saying any of those words.

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