With more than 500 million members representing 200+ countries and a whopping 9+ million companies on its platform, LinkedIn’s ever-growing presence is proof of its necessity. For students, job seekers, experienced professionals, entrepreneurs or veterans, your LinkedIn profile is easily the first connect with your next opportunity. One of the biggest advantages of LinkedIn is its authority on Google and other search engines where a complete LinkedIn profile features in the top 3 hits, making you visible to those who can further your professional aspirations.
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A LinkedIn profile is your chance to establish your brand and reflect your potential, showcase your accomplishments, skills, interests, and aspirations. LinkedIn adds an edge to your brand by fostering an active and engaged community that, in turn, sees your personality. Furthermore, there are certain features unique to LinkedIn as compared to a resume- you can add evidence of your work by uploading research papers, videos, etc. Also, LinkedIn allows you to obtain recommendations and skill endorsements from your network that helps in building your credibility. The more you invest in your profile and the network, the more you stand to gain from LinkedIn.
But how does one actually refine a LinkedIn profile? What are the key factors to consider?
The first step is to view your profile as a cumulative representation of your overall experiences-academic and professional. To this end, you need to look towards improving each section and be aware of their distinct purpose. Consider the following as you refine each:
This is your first message to prospective connections. It is your brand statement, a distillation of your work/industry and a means to convey your mission. LinkedIn defaults this section with your current job title, however, you can be proactive by converting it into an exciting statement with relevant keywords. These keywords can depict your current work domain, your skills, and interests or goals. Headlines with powerful words marked by vertical separators not only ease a viewer’s understanding but also remarkably improve your searchability. For example, you have extensive experience in Sales, then your headline can read- Sales Management| Electronics| Business Development– clearly conveying your industry and career interest. Check the profiles of alums who are considerably experienced in the field of your interest and identify the terms they have included. Avoid cliches that don’t help you stand out and send a ‘wannabe’ signal to recruiters or partners. Terms like ‘Dynamic Team Player’, ‘Strategic Thinker’ are extremely generic and render the promise of your background-useless and so, must be avoided.
Remember to add a photograph of yourself as it is one of the first identifiers of you as a professional and one that has the potential to make a strong first impression. Research studies claim that a profile with a picture is 14 times more likely to be viewed. A clear and close headshot without a hazy background helps to stand out. Ensure that it is not a group photo in a casual setting. It should reflect your professional attitude. You can also add a banner photo reflecting your broader interests or career focus.
The Summary section is the place to promote your professional worth. It is an opportunity for you to craft a cogent and captivating narrative of your accomplishments, strengths, goals, and skills. Remember to reflect your authentic self here. Using first-person voice peppered with searchable keywords that define your functional and skills expertise such as ‘Product Management’ or ‘Data Science’ are key components to powering up your career summary. Don’t make the viewer struggle or spend too much time looking for your strengths. Remember to connect the dots of your career phases including any pivots, side projects and volunteering programs that you are currently pursuing or undertaken in the past. Spend some time understanding who you are targeting, what you would like to inform them about that sets you apart and finally how best to convey the information. Think of it as an active dialogue with people you admire and want to work with. In the end, they should know what motivates you, what you have accomplished and what you can offer.
This section is a tool to summarise and showcase your professional experiences. It is structured in a reverse chronological order with your current role forming the first depiction. Ensure that you authentically describe this role and highlight your accomplishments. Your primary objective is to include all details that shape your work history. From job title to the organization’s name, to the division/department’s and the team’s name along with corresponding dates and locations. If you have attained extensive experience with one organization or in one field, then remember to mention all job roles that signify your career progression as well as pivots. While describing your tasks for the various roles, ensure that you power the content to make it action-oriented and impactful. Focus on the ‘so what’ of your duties to communicate results.
Remember to add details about your additional work stints, especially those that tie well with your career goals and desired fields. If you happen to have been at the helm of the Investment Banking society at your b-school then you must include the same, especially if you want to pursue a career in that field. Volunteering activities, projects with professional associations, extra-curricular activities, co-op projects, help others understand you a little better and rounds out your professional identity well. Focus on internships and part-time experiences that align with the industry and requirements of your interests, however, be mindful of including irrelevant experiences that do not support your aspirations.
The Aspire platform of VMock takes you on an enriching journey with customized and actionable guidance to improve all sections within your LinkedIn profile. From specific tips and feedback to convert your profile picture into a professional headshot to checks on the language you employ to skills representation to even SEO improvement. So, accord some thought to your LinkedIn profile and convey your true value proposition!