LinkedIn is the largest professional social media platform with over 350 million users. Not only is it important for you to be part of this community, but you need to have a strong profile to stand out amongst so many users. Luckily, LinkedIn tells you how strong your profile is, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, or All Star, so you know if you have to give it some more attention.
Generally speaking, in order to reach All Star level, you should fill out your profile thoroughly and completely. The more information you provide, the better it represents you to the LinkedIn community. Below are some specific tips to increase your profile’s strength.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? It’s cliché, but choosing the right photo is important because it tells a lot about you at first glance of your profile. And your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if you include a photo.
- Use a recent photo. Professionally done photos are ideal.
- Use a photo of yourself (not family members, objects, etc.)
- Smile! Your profile should be approachable.
- Wear your most complementary color. Bright colors can attract attention, but avoid bold patterns. Professional attire is most appropriate.
- Make sure the background in the photo isn’t distracting.
Title and Company
The most important thing to keep in mind for your title and company is what your colleagues are doing – you want to stay consistent with the company norm in terms of acronyms and abbreviations. If you see a lot of VP Sales and Director of R&D titles, then you should follow suit. If there is no consensus, it’s generally preferable to spell everything out.
*Note, C-level titles are the exception here. For common C-suite positions, it’s ok to use the abbreviation since we all know what CEO, CFO, etc stands for. If your company uses more playful titles like Chief Pizza Officer, help us out by spelling it and adding some sort of detail like “Food and Beverage Department” to give context.
This is your chance to talk about yourself! And that’s not always as easy as it sounds. If you have a bio on your company’s website, that’s a good place to start. Then tweak it for the purposes of LinkedIn.
- Personal summaries should speak directly to your connections so use the first person as you write it.
- Focus on your skills and professional intersts without speaking directly to your current employer. This summary is about you, and while your current position plays a big part in who you are professionally, it’s not the whole story.
- You’re limited to 2,000 characters so be concise in 2 to 3 short paragraphs.
- Update this information frequently, particularly if your role or responsibilities have changed.
It’s important to strike a balance here of being thorough and only including what’s most relevant. If you’ve held a variety of roles in a number of areas, then you should include that to show your range of experience. However, don’t feel the need to include every job, particularly from early in your career, as showing many entry level experiences will dilute your LinkedIn resume and distract from your more relevant positions.
Part of the entries under Experience is the Description. Best practice is to use the company description from the employer’s LinkedIn page. This provides a good overview of the company and ensures that you and the company are saying the same things about what it is they do and who they serve.
Skills & Expertise
Beyond your experience, listing skills allows you to more directly tell people what you are good at and interested in. Your connections have the opportunity to endorse you for specific skills which adds to your credibility. In fact, profiles with skills listed get up to 13 times as many views.
- Because these are searchable, add as many relevant skills as possible (up to 25).
- Look to coworkers with similar roles for examples.
- Use your coworkers and friends – endorse each other for important skills, as these items will be listed first.
- Avoid repetition among your listed skills, to maximize the power of your endorsements for each distinct skill.
- Reorder skills based on importance and endorsements.
As a professional network, LinkedIn’s value is rooted in your ability to connect with other people. To take advantage of this value, it is important to build and nurture your network of connections as much as possible. Your LinkedIn network should reflect your real life network, so look for and connect with people you know.