LinkedIn is an amazing tool! But … It can be extremely intimidating if you’re unsure of how to use it. However, by following a few key rules, you can be well on your way to perfecting your profile into something that will stand out to recruiters.
1. Keep it up to date and complete
Sure, it’s easy and less time consuming to enter just the basics, but when a recruiter looks at your profile they want detail. The bare-bones basics aren’t going to help you get hired and move forward in your career. Recruiters want to know why you might be a good candidate for the position they have available. They don’t just want to see the name of the company you worked for and the dates you worked there.
2. Keep it consistent
Do you like to list job duties as full sentences or as bullet points? Do you end them with a period? Whatever you chose to do, keep it consistent all the way through. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but to someone who looks at LinkedIn profiles all day long, it’s pretty easy to pick out the mistakes. And for Pete’s sake, proper spelling and grammar is a must! This isn’t Facebook!
3. Don’t just connect to connect
Use LinkedIn as a way to keep in contact with important connections. Your network should be filled with connections that you would feel comfortable meeting in person. That doesn’t mean you have to have met them to add them, but don’t just add someone for the sake of growing your network. Be strategic.
When you’re ready to connect, don’t send a generic invitation. It may be easy to do that. But, c’mon! It’s like saying,” Hi. I’m Ryan. I want to connect with you, but your connection isn’t that important to me.” It’s lazy, and I can guarantee you won’t stand out to that person. Instead of being lazy, take a second to consider why you are connecting. Did you meet that person somewhere? Are you connecting because you’re interested in a similar career? Is it mentoring you’re looking for? Whatever the reason, take a minute or two to devise a well thought out invitation message.
4. Get involved in groups
If you search “Des Moines” in the “Groups” section on LinkedIn, I can guarantee you’ll find at least one group to join. Here are some that I recommend: CarpeDM (Seize Des Moines), Des Moines Opportunities, and Des Moines, Iowa Network Group.
Once you’ve found some groups you like, get active in them. Post content and respond to the posts of others. It’s a very easy way to get people to look at your profile, and you never know when the person checking out your profile might be hiring.
5. Ask for recommendations and return the favor by providing recommendations for others.
One of the newer features of LinkedIn is the endorsement. While it’s a great feature, an endorsement doesn’t mean much. It’s pretty simple for someone to click a button to endorse you for several skills. However, it doesn’t really provide an example of your ability.
Recommendations, on the other hand, provide an accurate knowledge of your work. They allow a connection, typically an employer, co-worker or teammate, to speak to your skills and abilities. A recommendation is also more highly regarded than an endorsement.
6. Use industry keywords throughout your profile.
Are you a marketing professional? Communications professional? Non-profit professional? What’s your focus? If you’re a social media guru or donor relations pro, sell that throughout your profile. Think of it this way, when a recruiter is searching for someone in your field, what are they going to type in the search box? The better you are at using keywords, the higher your search results will rank.
When you’re using keywords, don’t go crazy though. No one wants to see a list of tags after every bullet point. Instead, include relevant keywords in your job titles. Were you a marketing coordinator or service coordinator for XYZ Inc? Instead of just listing that, use something like this: Marketing Coordinator | Graphic Design | Event Management for XYZ Inc. That looks professional, and it tells the viewer a little bit more about what you did. You can also add keywords in your specialties and other areas throughout your profile. To become a LinkedIn keyword pro, search “LinkedIn SEO” on Google. I guarantee you’ll find a ton of helpful information.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to maximize the heck out of your LinkedIn profile. These tips were a great help to me when I was working to make my profile better. I hope they can help you too!
Care to connect with Ryan C. Rohlf? Follow me on Twitter: @rrohlf91 or connect with me on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ryanrohlf.