Tew_linkedINEveryone has probably been told many times now that job seekers should be on LinkedIn.  It’s a great networking tool and can help build your digital presence, impressing an employer when they Google you.  It can also help you get found by recruiters and introduce you to many people who will give you advice or job leads. But… how do you make this happen?

Your Profile is Not Your Resume

Your LinkedIn profile can be a great complement to your resume, but there are many profiles that simply copy and paste the same wording. Make a potential employer’s visit worthwhile and have information listed that isn’t found on your resume. Use the space in your Summary to introduce yourself as you would in real life on your LinkedIn account. I don’t want to meet “motivated team players”; I want to meet other real people. It’s okay, and even welcomed, to share who you are, what you enjoy doing, and what you are successful at doing. Lastly, save the understood first person for your resume:  use the word “I” every now and again on these profiles.

Use the Headline to Market Yourself

Headlines can also be underutilized. By default, many profiles have the headline (the sentence of space next to their profile picture) state their current job title. All too often, I have seen current job seekers write “In Transition” here, or “Unemployed”. Your profile picture and this statement are the first things people will see before clicking on your profile, and if they read one of the previous options, then it was a missed marketing opportunity. A person isn’t defined by whether or not they are currently working. And even if you are currently working, not everyone may know what a “Resource Manager II” is. Use the headline to share a branded statement. Who you are, what you can do, or your area of greatest success- or something unique to you captured in a few short words can have a lot more impact than a generic job title.

Reorder the Sections

If you didn’t know, you can rearrange the sections of your profile. If you’re a recent graduate with limited to no job experience, perhaps you’d want to put your Education section right below your Summary.  Maybe you have a competitive certification for your industry? Move that towards the top as well. With all of the new features, you can create sections for your Skills (and Endorsements), Projects you’ve worked on, Publications, Awards, Volunteer Causes, and much more beyond the standard Work History. What area do you want to show off? Make sure it is not buried at the bottom of your profile.

 Grab Attention with Visuals

In your Summary and Work History (and possibly other areas) you have the ability to upload documents and links.  When you do this, a thumbnail is created on your profile. This is very effective for work samples, portfolio submissions, marketing flyers, or any project you want to share.  This adds variety to your profile and visual interest. If a visitor quickly scans your profile, these images will draw attention and pique interest. If that visitor is a potential employer or recruiter, then using your LinkedIn real estate effectively can help you stand out from other job seekers. Beyond these visuals, your Profile Picture is a crucial element. If you’re debating paying for a professional headshot or sorting through photographs, remember that the most important step is to have photograph that conveys your professionalism. Use a quality camera that won’t leave your image grainy, wear an interview-worthy outfit, and smile. Overall, profiles with Profile Pictures gain more visitor traction than those without.

There are more LinkedIn tips so if you are new to the site, read more advice, take a class or webinar, and review LinkedIn’s suggestions to complete your profile. New features are always being added, so check your inbox and enjoy networking!

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