Your LinkedIn profile is more than just a copy of your CV. Your LinkedIn profile is a networking and marketing tool. It can help you get a new job or emphasise an aspect of your skills or improve your work image.
- It allows you to keep contact with past and current colleagues.
- It lets you connect and keep in touch with other people in your industry.
- It’s a way for employers to find you, or to research more about you.
- It can help to improve your profile within your industry and within your company.
There are many articles online with suggestions on creating a good LinkedIn profile. Here’s one by entrepreneur Aaron Clayton-Dunn, and here’s another with excellent tips from the marvellous Liz Ryan.
The mistakes I see:
- Not supplying contact details.
- If you’re looking for work or thinking of changing jobs then make it easy for people to contact you.
- Too many words.
- Keep things short and punchy. You want the key details to stand out.
- A bad summary.
- Write the summary in ‘CV style’ (brief, with bullet points) and be clear about your value and what you are looking for.
- An unprofessional photo (or no photo).
- You don’t need a professional photographer, but you do need to choose a photo that looks professional.
- If you’re not sure if your photo sets the right tone, ask yourself what impression it would give the CEO at your dream company.
- No recommendations, or too many.
- There doesn’t seem to be consensus on a suitable number of recommendations but I’d say around 3 recommendations in total is a good number.
- I don’t think colleague recommendations are especially useful. Try to get ones from people you reported to or from seniors at your company or on your project.
- If you don’t have any recommendations, ask people, but help them by specifying the kinds of things you’d like to emphasise when describing their experience of working with you.
- If you are going to send someone a LinkedIn request, don’t use the generic message. Tailor it. The only generic requests that I accept are from people I already know.
Aside from the content on your own profile, there are other useful ways to use LinkedIn.
- Read Pulse articles (Pulse is LinkedIn’s ‘blog’ platform) and give people feedback by commenting on their Pulse articles, but always be thoughtful and respectful, especially if you disagree.
- Post links to work-related articles and/or add your comments to the post.
- Write posts on Pulse. This is an excellent way to put your thoughts out there so people can get an idea of what you care about.
- Did you know you can follow someone on LinkedIn? You don’t need to connect if all you really want to do is read their posts or see their LinkedIn activity.
- Set aside some time to assess your LinkedIn profile. [30-minute activity]
- Look at the profiles of people with your role, or the one you’re hoping to get. Compare your profile to theirs. What do you like/dislike about their profile? And yours?
- Make changes to your profile. [30-minute activity]
- If you don’t want people (such as your current employer) to know you’re making changes then set “Notify your network” to No. You’ll find that setting on the bottom right of the profile editing page.
- Find a Pulse article you like. Comment on it. [10-minute activity]
- Write a Pulse article. Search online for tips on how to write a blog or LinkedIn post. [2-hour activity]
I hope these tips have helped you create a LinkedIn profile that you are proud of and that accurately reflects your awesomeness!
(Check out this blog for CV tips).