I spent weeks scouring LinkedIn. Having read thousands of profiles, I figure I’ll summarize what makes a profile stand out to me. If you are looking for some role and you want to generate a lot of interest from recruiters, here’s my advice:
1. Customize your profile URL:
Just like any other social network, you’re given a very long (and impersonal) URL link when you initially join. While it doesn’t hurt you to keep that one, it also doesn’t help either. After all, what’s more appealing: MahimaAgarwal90210 or MahimaAgarwal? So, change your current URL to best reflect your professional, branded self.
Here’s how to do it in three steps:
2. Change your Profile Picture:
Upload a good resolution picture of yourself. Why? Two reasons. One—when recruiters spend all day looking at profiles, it’s easy to forget that each profile is actually linked to a human being, not just a humanoid machine that may or may not meet the job requirements. Two—recruiters end up seeing the same profiles again and again as they try out hundreds of different filters. Because visual memory is one of our species’ superpowers, the picture will anchor your profile in the recruiters’ minds. When they stumble upon it again, they’ll remember you and continue building their mental model of you instead of starting over from scratch. A semi-formal picture will do.
Pro Tip: No hats, sunshades or drinks in hand please.
3. Customize your headline:
Rewrite the generic headline which LinkedIn automatically creates for you based on your current designation. Add a bit of your character and uniqueness into it. It is also essential to make use of keywords here. Folks at The Muse have made a 90 seconds video that shows you how to change your headline and finally attract recruiters (or anyone) to your profile. Check it out here
4. Add a killer summary:
Write a summary that gets at the heart of what you’re interested in doing and conveys both your expertise and your eagerness to learn and take on new challenges. Also, add a call to action in your summary. If you are willing to speak to recruiters, encourage readers to get in touch.
Pro Tip: At the end of the summary, go ahead and write “Keywords: graphics, graphics engine, digital marketing, social media marketing [insert more].” By using the term “keywords,” you don’t have to shy away from redundancies which are helpful to include if you want to turn up in lots of searches. “Skills” is a good approach too, especially when you take the time to break the skills into categories. Feel free to include both keywords and skills.
5. Update your location:
Why is this essential? If you’re looking for a job in a new city, update your location to that new city. This step is easily overlooked but actually quite important. The city you choose dictates who contacts you and what jobs LinkedIn recommends to you.
6. Include your contact information:
Update your contact information unless you are categorically closed off to anyone reaching out to you for any reason. Who knows what someone will want to get in touch about. Add the “Advice for Contacting” section and put your email address in an obscured format like name (AT) mail (DOT) com to evade unwanted attention from simple-minded bots.
7. List your job responsibilities:
Avoid being lazy and leaving this section with just your designation and tenure dates mentioned. For each section in your work experience, list your responsibilities and accomplishments. Be honest, be specific, and use numbers when possible.
8. Make optimal use of Links:
LinkedIn is much more than just a CV on the net. It allows you to do so much more than a print CV. One of its greatest advantages is the ability to link to other places on the internet. How can you make the best use of this feature? Link to other places you want people to find you online. If possible, showcase your work on Github and/or Behance or on a “projects” or “portfolio” page on your personal website.
9. Add volunteer work:
According to a LinkedIn survey, 20% hiring managers make hiring decisions based on a candidate’s volunteer experience. 41% professional surveyed stated that while evaluating candidates, they considered volunteer work equally valuable as paid work experience. Now do you see how important it is to make the most of this section?
10. Solicit recommendation and endorsements:
Recommendations and skills endorsements are vital to a solid LinkedIn profile. You can request a recommendation from a former colleague, client, professor or vendor easily through LinkedIn. You should aim to eventually have three or more recommendations, so you may want to send out a few requests. You may also leave recommendations as a gesture of appreciation.
Enable the endorsement section on your profile and begin by endorsing others in your network. You are bound to receive some in return. Align the most relevant endorsement to the top and avoid adding every (not so relevant) endorsement you receive, even though it is very tempting.
11. Proofread, proofread, proofread:
Read over your writing out loud. You’ll weed out some typos and realize when a sentence has taken a turn for the worse.
Pro Tip: Ask one or two friends who write well to read over your profile. They’ll help you make your points succinctly and fix your grammar mistakes. Hopefully they’ll wince and stop you from writing a summary like “People often call on me to solve arbitrarily complex problems” or a headline like “Perceiving the future.” I didn’t make those quotes up.
Once you have all these points covered you can confidently begin networking more vigorously. Remember the more you reach out and connect, the more chances of your dream job finding you.