Making your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be a difficult or complex task. You’ll have all the information that you need about yourself and job history. Being diligent and thorough is the most important part of making your LinkedIn profile great. I recommend that you have everything ready to go so that you don’t have a partly finished profile posted for weeks at a time.
First, you need a good headshot. If you’re new to the modern job market, you’ll have to put some effort in here. Loading up a pic from your Facebook page and cropping it just won’t do here. This is a step that is best with some help from a friend. Clean yourself up and put on a nice top. You don’t even need to wear pants to get a good headshot. It’s that easy. Follow some simple guidelines about lighting and showing some personality. Remember to make it look professional rather than cool. It can be awkward to smile and pretend to be approachable, but you must make your headshot show this. The more professional it looks, the easier it is for hiring managers to take you seriously.
The tremendously important headline is the next thing people will see. This is essentially the written headshot of your profile that is often overlooked. You want this headline to focus on the type of position you’re expecting to get someday or at least to describe yourself exactly the way you want to be seen. This must be appropriate for the profession you’re looking at. Being short and direct here is best. No headline should contain a broad narrative. The trick is to set yourself apart from the rest, but still sound like you’re a serious professional. Just leaving it as your current job title is boring.
The rest of the LinkedIn profile will read a lot like a job application or resume. You should have all this information ready for entry. LinkedIn will help guide you through the process and remind you if it’s incomplete. The only thing you should watch out for is your focus. If you have work experience that’s not relevant to the profession that interests you at the time, summarize it. There’s no need to fill up the space with useless data.
This profile is different from your resume. Even if you apply to jobs through LinkedIn, you’ll also want to submit your resume. The LinkedIn profile is not nearly as important as your normal resume, but we need all the help we can get in the competitive job market. The LinkedIn profile is different from the resume in content. Here you can go past one page and really talk about yourself more than with a resume. Add everything you can that sounds good. If you’re a student, add any web articles you’ve written to the Publications section in Accomplishments. Maybe nobody will ever click on it, but having it there can make your profile stronger.
Lastly, it sounds ridiculous, but you need to have some connections. This is like your friends list in a professional manner. The more you have, the better. It shows that you put some time and effort into LinkedIn. Click on the My Network page and click Connect for people who have some association with you. If you ever get requests for connections, it’s almost always best to accept it whether you know the person or not. It never hurts to have more connections. If someone looks like a recruiter, try to connect with them too.
The connection between you and your internet presence is an increasingly important thing in modern job markets. The LinkedIn profile is a compulsory part of this. Maybe you’ll find no success through LinkedIn directly, but the web search of your name is just a click away. This means that it’s a great opportunity to make a good professional impression before your less polished social media face is seen.