Here’s how to get the limelight you deserve and make the most of this personal branding tool. By Priya Prakasan
When looking for a job or reinforcing your personal brand, business and employment-oriented social networking service LinkedIn serves as the ideal platform to make your move. But with more than 450 million registered users, it is essential that your LinkedIn profile stand out above the crowd. Use these tips to craft your LinkedIn profile and get noticed.
1. Choose the right headline
When sprucing up your profile remember to pay special attention to your tagline, which is also known as the headline, with keywords. Choose an optimised description of the position you want to target instead of just describing your current job title. Use keywords as descriptors in the first 40 characters so that they’re the ones that show up first and can be seen on the mobile device of recruiters and hiring managers.
2. Get a professional headshot
Ensure you have attached a photograph to your profile. It makes the reader feel a personal connection with you. A blank profile image shows a lack of interest. Make sure the picture is professional and appropriate for the type of job or work profile you are aiming for. Choose a picture that is free of any distractions, unnecessary background details and awkward poses.
3. Fill in the profile summary
Do not leave your profile summary empty as it provides you with the opportunity to showcase your achievements and key accomplishments. Use keywords while filling in your summary and focus on the first 170 characters to mention details of your strategic achievements, technical accomplishments and relevant details.
4. Don’t skip the cover photo
The cover photo is the wide image that appears across the top of the page behind your profile photo. To make an impact don’t keep the default LinkedIn image. Instead choose one that tells your professional story in a visual way and provides an insight into your work/personality/interests. Go for one that’s prominent, motivating and powerful.
5. Update your list of skills
Go back to your LinkedIn profile every few months and update/edit the skills section. Add/keep the ones that make the most sense for your overall profile. Focusing on key skills will help you create your personal brand Keep the most relevant ones at the top.
6. Fill in all sections
Your profile’s rank will be much higher on LinkedIn if all sections are complete. So fill up all sections including education, interests, etc to put together a complete outline of your personal brand and make your profile more comprehensive.
7. Showcase your work, awards, and achievements
Your LinkedIn profile is your personal branding tool and first impressions are important when it comes to showcasing your personal brand. So, do not be shy about emphasising your achievements, however big or small they might be; you never know what swings a recruiter in your favour. They’ve also a great way to highlight your strengths and abilities. So showcase your accomplishments and remember to quantify results with numbers.
8. By picky with your endorsements
The first step is to choose the right skills, which your LinkedIn connections can then endorse, indicating you possess those sought after abilities. Curate this endorsements list so that you’re focussing on those skills/endorsements that pertain to what you want to be hired for.
9. Reach out for recommendations
The recommendations section is another powerful tool that communicates the value you bring to the table. Request a recommendation from your connections, colleagues and clients, so as to highlight your scope of work, capabilities, strengths, etc. While the experience, education, and skills are more cut and dry, the recommendations section is the one that adds colour to your profile and provides a glimpse into your personality. There is no limit to the total number of recommendations you can request or receive. Just remember to return the favour with your connections later.
10. Customise your profile URL
LinkedIn gives you the option to have a vanity URL, ie the link will have your name in it. Otherwise you’re stuck with a long URL that has a lot of numbers. A vanity URL allows others to easily identify you in search results, is easy to include in business cards and other printed material, and helps in recall.