How to Create a LinkedIn Profile that Stands Out from the Crowd
According to a Forbes survey, 97.3% of recruiters said they used LinkedIn as a recruiting tool. Given this fact, it is undeniable that you need to take your LinkedIn profile seriously. And if you don’t currently have an active LinkedIn account, this guide will teach you how to create a LinkedIn profile so you can put your best foot forward.
What you don’t want to do is simply duplicate your resume on your LinkedIn Profile. By not effectively utilizing the features on LinkedIn you are robbing yourself of being considered for lucrative opportunities, partnerships, and even interested new prospects.
Here are my top tips on how best to create a LinkedIn Profile so that you can stand out from the rest.
Upgrade Your Photo
I don’t know why this is hard for some, but snapping a professional-looking LinkedIn photo will only take you seconds yet immediately multiply the presentation value of your profile. Don’t risk alienating yourself by placing in a picture that either is too blurry, has poor lighting, has multiple people in it, or is a picture of one of your pets.
Don’t make this complicated either. We live in the age of the smartphone, so there is no need to buy an expensive camera or get professional headshots taken. Instead, grab a friend with steady hands, throw on a blazer, stand in front of a solid wall, and smile. This is all you need in order to take get that updated, professional LinkedIn photo.
A Short, Solid Summary
Too many times I see people take the Objective portion from their resume and slap it in their Summary section. Wrong! For the record, Job Objectives on resumes read completely one-sided and have no real value for the hiring manager reviewing it. Do yourself a favor and just get rid of this kind of wording all together on your LinkedIn profile and resume:
Shift your mindset toward making EVERY SINGLE WORD on the page earn its place. Instead of making it ME-focused, strive to make your summary THEM-focused so that employers can easily visualize the benefit from hiring you within the first 1–3 sentences. Use both numbers and percentages, when possible, to help the hiring manager quantify your successes with their peers. Here is a great example of how to better present the summary in the previous image:
“I help business owners spend LESS time on the day-to-day tasks to give them MORE time to innovate.
As an Administrative Professional I am able to consistently meet the diverse needs of a fast-paced company with my organizational skills. In the past year alone, I have proposed several efficient cost-cutting measures to help save the company upward of [$x,xxx] over the course of the year.”
Get Noticed: Allow Yourself to be Seen
Make sure that you switch your profile view settings from ‘Hide-and-Seek’ to ‘Broadcast’ mode. It’s important that you do this early on as you create a LinkedIn profile so that your network is notified to your activity. With each ripple that you make, you will continue to stay top-of-mind. This is especially helpful if and when you decide to reach out to previous coworkers and managers for a glowing recommendation.
Keep your Job Experience Relevant
Do you think that a Hiring Manager for your Dream Job in the IT field cares that you were an excellent babysitter or a cashier at McDonald’s? Personally, I’m sure that these positions were integral in teaching you valuable job skills that serve as your foundation. However, they do nothing for you by way of helping you to present yourself as the best SOLUTION to your employer’s problems. Trim the fat and only list the job experience that matches the job you’re applying for.
Now that you have whittled down your experience to the most relevant positions for your LinkedIn profile, you need to make sure that you set yourself apart from the competition by adding 2–4 pieces of media to your profile.
Attaching pieces such as relevant images, presentations and videos will make your profile look more attractive as well as engage the prospective hiring managers, customers, clients or vendors to stay a little bit long on your profile. Seeing your previous work projects only leads to more job offers and increased business.
Grow Your Network
As you look for your dream job it is pivotal that you focus on growing your network both online and offline. Keep your ear to the ground and use LinkedIn to follow-up. Always be connecting with friends and new acquaintances who may know of a position opening at a company you’re interested in.
In the meantime, be sure to add easy connections that you already know: former colleagues, fellow alumni, family and friends. You can have LinkedIn search through your email address book to help you find the people you know.
Use Targeted Keywords to Get Recognized
A lot of people ask “What should I put in my Skills section on LinkedIn?” You likely have a multitude of skills that you possess. However, you only want to add relevant skills that make you a prime candidate for your target dream job.
My father has a saying, that rings true to helping me solve this dilemma. He would always say, “You need to think Smarter. Not Harder.”The Secret to job searching is to think SMARTER. Not HARDER. Click To Tweet
In other words, you can shortcut this process by looking up job positions in order to find the target keywords and skills that THEY are looking for. It is up to you to determine if you, in fact, have that skill and then add it to your list of skills.
As your network grows you need to proactively endorse the skills of your friends and previous colleagues regularly. Many individuals may think that endorsements are unnecessary, however, I would argue that people do look at these little measures of social proof. Don’t believe me? Try to imagine a what a Hiring Manager might think when you don’t have anyone endorsing you on the skills that you state you possess.
Make a habit of going to a colleagues’ profile page and endorsing at least 5 different skills for every new connection that you make on LinkedIn. Given that you have gone out of your way to do something nice for them, oftentimes this new connection will immediately return the favor by endorsing several of the skills that you have on your profile. Do this about 8 or 10 different times and watch the results come rolling in.
Get 2 Recommendations for Each Job you List
If you have followed the steps up until this point, this should be a lot easier than you think. Now that you only have the positions listed that fit the overall theme that you are going for (ie: IT Professional or Social Media Marketing Expert) you need to get at least 2 recommendations for each the previous roles that you’ve listed.
Recommendations serve as your secret weapon and are, by far, one of the most important things you should focus on when you create a LinkedIn profile. Why are recommendations so important? Recommendations work similarly to having a Hiring Manager contact your references: They help verify that you are telling the truth about the skills you claim to possess. Recommendations are pure social proof that will help the Hiring Manager overcome any initial objections about contacting you, over many other potential candidates, for an interview.
How do you get recommendations?
Once you have connected with your friends and coworkers on LinkedIn, send them a message asking if they would be willing to leave you a recommendation speaking to X attribute while working at Y company. Be sure to let them know that you will whip up a recommendation for them in return.
Fill out the Extras
There are a bunch of little extras in the dashboard that you can add when you create a LinkedIn profile. Some of these include adding publications, volunteer experience, honors & awards, etc. However, you should only complete these sections if you have something relevant to add. Having non-sequitur information listed on your profile will only serve to hurt your chances. It will confuse the hiring manager when they try to determine what you are really about and if you are a good fit for the position.
Furthermore, get in the habit now of recording your big achievements (ie: How X project that you lead increased revenues by Y%) on your Linkedin profile. Having this information at the ready will serve you well if you ever find yourself either at the negotiation table either for next raise or if you are trying to increase your starting salary at another company. Find out more about how to position yourself for your next salary increase on our recent blog post: The Unfair Advantage: Negotiation Tips on How to Receive a Salary Increase.
In conclusion, if you follow these steps above to create a LinkedIn profile then you will be miles ahead of the competition who have failed to leverage this massive network of business professionals. Lastly, even if you are not looking for work right now, it is important to hop into LinkedIn and update your account every 3 – 6 months with new achievements or skills you’ve since gained. Who knows, that update may start a conversation with another professional who offers you your next great opportunity.