Social media — the glue the world didn’t know it needed. Since the emergence of social media, many things have changed. We have gotten accustomed to a world filled with acronyms and hashtags, but social media has given us more than that. It has provided us the opportunity to also increase our potential success by giving us LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a space where we can promote ourselves and continuously polish our reputation to a large professional network, a living resume, if you will. Since there are quite a bit of LinkedIn profiles, it is advised you try to stand out as much as possible. Don’t worry, though. Boosting your LinkedIn profile is more attainable than you think. The following are a few tips that will help you win at LinkedIn:
The Power of Profile Pictures
Did you know that people with profile pictures in their LinkedIn get viewed 21 more times than someone with no picture? You will also get more requests if you have a picture. People have a habit of judging approachability within seconds and this is even more true when it comes to the online world. That’s why your profile picture is so important.
LinkedIn gives you a small space to display yourself and you have to manage it carefully. This picture will be seen by a professional network that may be interested in getting to know you at some point.
As much as many don’t want to admit it, appearance makes a large part of first impressions. So, take note of what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to your profile picture.
Don’t put up a selfie, stray away from busy patterns, and wear minimal accessories — you want to avoid distractions from your actual face. You do want to make sure that your photo shows you dressed accordingly to the field you want to attract. Although, I would always err on the side of wearing a professional shirt in a solid color if you are unsure on what to wear. Another thing your photo should have is you smiling, more specifically, smiling with your eyes. I know this may be tricky, but you will definitely stand out. Don’t forget to make eye contact with the camera. A picture that has you looking away may be perceived as someone who is aloof and not committed enough. The picture should also be taken with a background that won’t be confused as the focal point. Try a solid and bright-colored wall or behind some trees, if you want to switch it up. Just try to avoid a white wall as that has already been overplayed and it may make you seem like you’re taking the “safe” route. For better results, review some photography basics before stepping in front of the camera. Pro tip: your face should cover 60% of the picture.
You don’t need a professional photographer to catch the shot for a suitable LinkedIn profile, your own camera or even your phone will work. Just make sure you have a tripod, a timer, or even a friend who is willing to help you out in this photoshoot. I’d go with the third option if I were you. You can always order pizza and chismosear afterwards!
The same effort you exert when choosing your outfit for your in-person interview is the same effort you should use in choosing a profile picture for your LinkedIn. I know it can seem like quite a lot for a profile picture, but this is no different than choosing a new picture to post for the ‘gram. The only difference is that learning to win at your LinkedIn can help you get you where you’d like to be someday and I’m confident you’ll get there.
Use Your Summary to Your Advantage
LinkedIn has a summary section that often goes untouched. However, this is something you want to ignore. It can be a little overwhelming to write about yourself, but this is the time to boast a little about yourself. Whatever you write, just make it easy on the eyes. Avoid a lot of bullet points and overcrowded writing.
Your summary shouldn’t be a generic piece that can be confused as a public job description. It should highlight your passions and what makes you so good at them. Give your readers some insight into a time where you excelled. Describe what you did to get such recognition. You can also include what you’re looking for in your summary section.
Think of this section as a window at your accomplishments, whether they are job or academic-related. Be proud of your hard work.
What are buzzwords? Well, buzzwords are single words that are used to try to describe your experiences. Some common buzzwords are: specialized, skilled, motivated, successful, strategic, and creative. The reality is that buzzwords are easy to use and that’s their problem. It’s too easy and it has been done too many times before you. Buzzwords have put many profiles in danger since they don’t truly illustrate the person. Remember, the goal is to try to stand out. Instead of using buzzwords, try developing the word itself. For instance, take the buzzword ‘strategic.’ Explain why you’re stating that you’re strategic. Did you ever use strategy to positively advance in a project? Are you known for your strategic moves?
Don’t get caught up being brief about yourself. LinkedIn is a tool that can help you make some very beneficial connections if you use it correctly.
Are You Including Media in Your Profile?
If you’re not, then you absolutely should. It is a known fact that people have a terribly short attention span, especially when it comes to resumes or professional like LinkedIn. For the most part, the visual aspect of something is very important to people. As a matter of fact, most of what we process is visual. So, you need to focus on the material that will visually appeal to anyone within LinkedIn.
The best way to do is to include media samples of your work.
You might have to brainstorm this one a little bit. Start by thinking about your accomplishments or any milestones that you crossed within your career. Let’s say, for example, that you were once part of a team that launched a significant project. You would want to post something pertaining to that, whether it was the final ad or the press release that accompanied this achievement. Or maybe you can include a PowerPoint that you used to educate others about a matter that was important to a past employer or while in school. If you are a writer or reporter, you can also upload any writing or video content that you feel may show your potential to hiring managers. How about a speech? Have you ever given a speech that received a lot of praise? Well, upload it to your LinkedIn profile. Let people see your strengths.
These are just a few examples of media you can add, but don’t limit yourself to these. If you have other content that exemplifies your skills, then go for it. Try to upload as much as you want. As long as it is relevant to the people or the employers you are trying to attract. Also, don’t worry about having multiple pages in your LinkedIn profile after adding all your media. If anything, this only makes you look even better. One page LinkedIn profiles usually mean the person still does not have enough experience yet. And even if that’s the case, upload academic content that shows your diligence. Don’t worry if you feel you don’t have enough to add in media, you’ll get there in time.
You should think of your LinkedIn profile as a place where you can display a comprehensive summary. Use it to your advantage.
Don’t Forget Those Recommendations!
Recommendations should be treated as the bread and butter of your LinkedIn profile. In other words, they’re really important! Having a few recommendations in your profile signify that others are willing to vouch for you and refer you to anyone. This means that you have the ability to establish long-lasting professional relationships and that you know how to demonstrate your value to others. Now, how do you get these? Well, simple. Once you know you have built a solid professional foundation with someone, don’t hesitate to ask them for a recommendation. Or suggest to trade recommendations — this usually works best.
A recommendation does not always have to come from someone in an executive or managing position. You can ask a colleague or a friend as well. Hiring managers just want to see that you are someone who is responsible and is likable by others, at least when you are in a work setting.
If possible, advise anyone writing your recommendation to make it a little personable. You don’t want a recommendation on your profile that says you’re just “okay.” That may reflect ill upon you and that is the last thing that should happen with a recommendation.
The truth of the matter is that LinkedIn has become as important as regular resumes to employers and recruiters. This is why we must learn how to navigate through LinkedIn. But now you can maneuver through LinkedIn with confidence using these tips. So, go log into your LinkedIn profile or create one and get to work. You got this!