LinkedIn has been around since 2002 and has over 562 million users around the world, and yet to most it is a tool that is never used to it’s fullest potential.
If you are a young professional, it is beneficial to have a stellar LinkedIn profile - after all, an estimated 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential candidates. (Read more awesome stats here!) With hundreds of new jobs being posted worldwide on a daily basis, not to mention the hidden job market, anyone serious about landing their next big break needs to make their profile stand out!
So, what can young professionals do to make their LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd this year?
1 - Get a Professional Head Shot (Profile Photo)
Your profile photo should be a professional head shot, NOT a Selfie or some grainy photo from your best friend’s wedding. While LinkedIn is considered a social site, this is where you build your professional brand. Take a head shot that shows your personality while still maintaining professionalism. Because the profile photos are small, a clear shot from the waist or shoulders up is great. A white or light background is also ideal.
2 - Customize your Headline
A catchy headline works for click bait - so make it work for you! Focus your headline, keeping it short and to the point. Mention what you’re looking for or working on at the time. It should be no longer than 2 or 3 brief paragraphs. Treat it like your 30 second elevator pitch - what do potential employers need to know in order to make them want to read more?
3 - Add Details to your Job Description
Avoid the basic bullet lists of basic job functions. Instead, use your profile to showcase your accomplishments, projects and career progression. use action words to make powerful statements. You can also add media to show your accomplishments. (See #6) Keep the list short and relevant to your personal brand - feel free to leave out your part time high school gigs, unless you’re just starting out. (READ: How to Write a Resume when you have No Experience)
4 - Customize your URL
A customized URL makes your profile look polished and it’s much easier to remember. If you include your profile link on your business card, resume or email signature, you most definitely want to ensure that the link is easy to read, click and copy. When possible, always try to use your name. (PSST … I’m over at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthacbell/ if you want to say hi!)
5 - Share Relevant Content
Scroll through your LinkedIn homepage and you’re sure to come across a interesting article or a new job milestone of one of your connections. Don’t be shy to engage in the social aspect of LinkedIn. Join groups and follow influences that inspire you. Post, share and comment to your heart’s content - but one word of warning: LinkedIn should not be treated like Facebook or other personal social media. Use the content you share to help build up your personal brand, open networking opportunities and educate your peers.
6 - Post New Content, Articles and Media
In a 2017 article, Paul Davies encouraged all of LinkedIn’s users to share their perspective and expertise. Once you’re comfortable being a spectator, why not try your hand at creating content? If you have a knack for writing, try posting an article or if vlogging is more your style, LinkedIn now has video. Always ensure that your content is professional and appropriate. (AKA - if you wouldn’t want your boss or grandmother to see it - don’t post it!)
7 - Brag About Yourself (Nicely)
On LinkedIn, there are areas where you can post your certifications, awards, articles, patents, you name it! If you have completed projects or obtained qualifications that might help your profile stand out from the millions of others, you can share it to give yourself a boost over the competition. Just make sure that nothing you post as sensitive, proprietary information; if it was a collaborative project, make sure you have permission for your team/boss as well.
8 - Let Recruiters Know you’re Interested
By modifying your career interests and settings in your dashboard, you will be able to let recruiters know if you are looking for work, open to opportunities or currently not interested. You can highlight specific fields or positions, ideal locations, as well as send recruiters a customized note.
9 - Keep your profile updated!
Your LinkedIn profile might be more important than your resume, depending on your industry, so it’s very important to keep it up to date. A neglected profile might indicate that you’re not taking your job hunt seriously or you’re not technically savvy enough to bother updating or engaging with your peers online. I recommend updating at least once a month or every time your job or interests change.
Did I miss anything? Comment down below with your tips and tricks to make your LinkedIn profile stand out to recruiters! If you find this content helpful, please share with your network and consider subscribing to my newsletter for the latest updates.