When did you last update your LinkedIn profile? Maybe you added your most recent job, didn’t touch the summary (not even that typo in line 3), and left that selfie of you at the Parthenon as your photo. You could be doing your job search a disservice, according to Laura M. Labovich, CEO of The Career Strategy Group. While creating a LinkedIn profile can take as little as 10 minutes, it takes a lot longer to craft one – and it’s time well invested she says.
Our friends over at Textbooks.com chatted with the career expert – who has hired for the Walt Disney Company and AOL – about more of her top LinkedIn profile tips. She breaks it down section by section.
“According to Forbes, LinkedIn profiles with a photo are seven times more likely to be viewed than those without,” says Labovich. “But it can’t be just any photo: a professional-looking (bonus points for those taken professionally!) headshot with no spouses, children, or dogs is the best way to go. Leave the lighter, more socially oriented photos featuring additional people for Facebook and Twitter.”
“Third-person summaries were once the standard, but that is no longer the case. While your resume starts with an implied silent ‘I’ – as in, (I) Managed, Boosted or Orchestrated – a LinkedIn profile starting with an ‘I’ can be very powerful and persuasive,” she says. “In addition, these can be more casual, engaging and personal, drawing the reader in and compelling them to read more. You have 2,000 characters to use on your LinkedIn summary: use them all if you can.”
“The experience section will be most closely related to your resume, although it does not need to be an exact replica,” she says. “Focus on contributions you made to each position, and how your actions bettered the organization in some way. While it does not, and probably should not, be word for word compared to your resume, it should certainly reflect the overall mood and target a similar job target.”
Skills & Endorsements
“LinkedIn enables you to showcase your strengths in a variety of ways,” says Labovich. “The Skills & Endorsements feature allows you to highlight your key skills, and teach others what you are about as a professional. This is another way to broaden your skill set, especially when you don’t want to target too narrow a niche. While it is advisable to limit yourself to one job target for your headline, it is absolutely acceptable to add skills to your profile to help others find you, without looking like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
“To build out your accomplishments, you must first create your accomplishment stories. Think: ‘Once there was a time when I excelled at doing something I loved.’ And, then make a list. If this does not come easy to you, think back over the course of your career, and make a list of the times when you ‘saved the day, solved the problem or served the client.’ Once you have your stories, you can start to put some meat on the bone. Look at the difference between a non-quantifiable accomplishment and a quantifiable one.”
Labovich says to turn a non-quantifiable example like, Led news staff and coordinated efforts to produce 4:30am morning show. Planned time slots, built graphics, researched segments, edited video and arranged audio for live music.
….into a quantifiable accomplishment like, Led an eight-person news staff and coordinated efforts that contributed to a 25% increase in viewership over a six-month period. As a deadline-driven reporter, contributed to seven headline stories in a three-month period, receiving a promotion ahead of schedule.
Remember the 3 most important words in a job search – network, network, network. To go from LinkedIn newbie to LinkedIn All-Star, start adding current coworkers, former colleagues, and professional networking acquaintances STAT. The LinkedIn algorithm is looking for at least 50 connections, we say stretch goal that to 100. There’s no limit on how many connections you can add, but your profile will display you as topping out at 500+. Focus on that plus — the more former coworkers and networking acquaintances you are connected with, the more likely you are to be connected to someone who will help you land a job.
In order for your profile to be considered “complete” on LinkedIn, you will need to receive no fewer than three LinkedIn recommendations. “According to LinkedIn, users with recommendations are three times more likely to receive relevant offers and inquiries,” says Labovich. How many should you have on your profile? The short answer is: it depends. As in life, a good guideline for LinkedIn Recommendations is to aim for quality over quantity. “Vary your recommendations: supervisors, coworkers, clients, teachers, etc. It’s important to give viewers a holistic picture of who you are as a professional, and a well-rounded suite of recommendations will help do just that.”