Have you created a LinkedIn profile and believe it is properly optimized for your job search? Are you hoping recruiters and hiring managers will find your profile and seek you out for a job opening? Or, are your using LinkedIn as support for your resume and cover letter, allowing someone deciding if they should call you in for an interview a way to see your qualifications and skills? In either case, you should review the following four questions to determine if your LinkedIn profile needs fine-tuning.
1). Do you have a professional photo and banner on your LinkedIn profile?
Don't skip these two items -- they are the first impressions someone will have of you when they find your profile -- and a professional-looking photo is a must. Although a professional photographer is not required, you should select a photo that shows only you (not anyone else or even the shoulder of anyone else because you have attempted to crop them out). Be sure you are dressed professionally (no hat or sunglasses) and are looking at the camera with an appropriate background behind you.
The "banner" is the rectangular box located behind your photo. It is often the first thing your eye is drawn to on a LinkedIn profile. Often, people either use LinkedIn's default banner, or include something that isn't appropriate (such as a vacation scene). Some LinkedIn users do take the initiative to create their own banner, but they don't think through how the photo of themselves will cover the bottom left corner of the banner. This may result in a clumsy appearance -- or worse -- the covering of crucial information. While we recommend that you do use an original banner, think through the details when selecting or creating it so the result gives a polished appearance.
2). Is your LinkedIn headline too specific to your current role?
Contrary to popular belief, your headline on LinkedIn does not have to be your current job title! In fact, it shouldn't be, especially if your current job title is obscure and wouldn't be easily deciphered by the average person reading your resume. If your job title is usually listed as an acronym, it can be especially cryptic to the reader. Either spell out the acronym or create a "more readable" job title for LinkedIn.
LinkedIn's headline is an opportunity for you to stand out compared to others. If you simply populate it with your current work experience title, you are missing an opportunity.
Not only should your title be eye-catching, but it can also incorporate keywords that a hiring manager or recruiter may search. You can separate different aspects of your title with the pipe symbol. There is a 120-character limit and the first 50 characters are visible in the preview window (before the person clicks on your profile).
Here is an example for an engineer:
Licensed Professional Engineer | Civil Engineer | Six Sigma Black Belt | Project Manager | Environmental Remediation
3). Is your LinkedIn About section well-written and easy to read?
The About sections we review generally fall in one of two categories: they are either a giant block of text or they are only 1 sentence long. Neither is appealing to the reader. The About section is near the top of your LinkedIn profile and will be one of the first things viewed. Your goal is to entice the reader to read your entire About section to learn more about you, either by continuing to read your profile, or by calling you in for an interview.
At Revision Resume, we constantly advise people not to use "I" or "my" on their resume. However, on LinkedIn it is completely appropriate to write in first person. Do not simply copy your executive summary from your resume to the About section. Instead, use this opportunity to speak directly to your reader and tell them who you are.
You have 2000 characters and should try to write at least 1000+. Start with a statement that hooks the reader and entices them to continue on. Describe what makes you different from other candidates with a similar education or work history. Mention your strengths and key achievements. And, let the reader know how they can reach out to you directly should they want to talk further.
It is important to note that all of the above information should not be lumped into one large paragraph. Instead, break it up into multiple paragraphs and include bullets so it is easy to skim and read.
4). Have you recently reviewed your LinkedIn Skills section?
If you haven't, take some time to do so. Are the skills you list current or outdated? Do they reflect the role you are seeking, or are they just a list of everything you ever did previously? Consider updating the skills list so it is forward looking and aligns you appropriately for the job you desire.
LinkedIn allows you to include 50 skills within the skills section and 5 skills with each work experience. We suggest you incorporate skills in both places because they are searched by hiring managers and recruiters.
The first three skills you list are visible to someone glancing at your profile before they click on the section, so make sure those top three are the most important or most enticing to someone reviewing your profile.
Revision Resume offers LinkedIn services to job seekers. If you need help setting up a profile, we would be happy to assist you. Already have one but realize it is not 100% complete? We often have clients that need us to write them a headline and About section. Alternatively, some clients seek a LinkedIn critique, which we gladly provide. To learn more about our LinkedIn services, click here or contact us directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.