My friend Cheryl called, telling me she’d just been let go.
“What’s the first thing I should do! Where do I start?” she asked.
“Well, after the shock wears off, and you’re ready to barrel ahead, I suggest you pump up your LinkedIn Profile. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself.”
“Uh-oh, I’m in trouble. My profile is half-baked. Tell me again why it matters?”
“Because all roads lead back to your profile. As you introduce yourself to hiring managers, the first thing they will do is Google search you. And in most cases, the first thing to come up on a search result is your LinkedIn profile. Best to make your professional story irresistible.”
Here are 6 steps Cheryl can take to transform her profile from half-baked to irresistible, enticing hiring managers to pick up the phone.
1) Update the profile picture:
Select a photo where you appear fresh, professional, positive and confident. Many people make the mistake of thinking, “I want to be the Real Me!” and post photos that are too casual and unprofessional, including pets, children, spouses, and background distractions in their photos. That’s great . . . for Twitter or Facebook.
In addition, look straight into the camera, and engage your viewer. If you’re not sure it looks great, get a second opinion from someone who will tell it straight. Pay the bucks for a professional photo.
2) Customize the URL:
Many people aren’t aware that you can customize your LinkedIn URL, and make it look professional, rather than a string of numbers and letters. If you use the default URL on your resume, it makes you appear less tech-savvy. Compare the two below:
Delete the number-letter jumble, replacing it with your name, as seen above. If your name is already in use, add your title to your name. To customize your URL: Under the Your public profile URL section on the right of your Homepage, click the Edit icon next to your URL; type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box; click Save.
3) Optimize the headline:
This is the area beneath your name. Why is it so important? When someone searches for a Marketing Manager on LinkedIn, your headline will also appear in the search result. You’ve got a second to make an impression. Make the most of it!
To illustrate, let’s take “John.” His headline reads: Manager of Transportation. Currently there are 170,000+ people who possess this title. It offers nothing to compel the viewer to read further.
An irresistible headline defines what sets you apart, and how you provide value. Here is John’s new more powerful headline:
Pow! Now the viewer wants to know more about John. In addition, note the keywords in his headline. Using keywords increases your chances of appearing in a search result.
Job seeker tip: Many job seekers err in announcing they are “seeking employment” in their headlines. Instead, I suggest using this high-visibility area of your profile to emphasize what you offer, rather than what you need.
4) Optimize the Summary:
The most effective Summaries tell an engaging story and convince the viewer to reach out to you for a conversation.
Here are some ways you can accomplish this:
- Show compelling results you’ve achieved
- Demonstrate how you will make the client’s life better
- Provide a quote from a recommendation that demonstrates a result you achieved
- Be down-to-earth and relatable. First person is best.
- Share how you are different from everyone else.
Be sure your Summary is keyword-rich, so that your profile rises to the top of search results. Include your industry’s keywords that showcase your branding in both your Summary and Experience sections.
Job seeker tip: If adding keywords makes your Summary stiff-sounding, add a section at the bottom titled Core Competencies that includes your relevant keywords.
5) Obtain recommendations:
What others say about you, also known as “Social Proof,” has a huge impact on a viewer’s impression of you. Your credibility grows by leaps and bounds when others sing your praises.
Try to obtain at least 5 recommendations for your latest job before diving into your job search, so that when viewers see your profile, your value is obvious.
Job seeker tip: When you request a recommendation from a colleague, make it easier by suggesting the points you’d like them to emphasize. This eliminates the head-scratching associated with writing a recommendation.
6) Add multi-media:
Some of the most engaging profiles I’ve seen include a variety of examples of media, such as videos, blogs and links to guest blogs, podcasts, and Slideshares. Providing these will transform your profile from static to compelling.
Give us a sense of you in action. Show us how you’re contributing to the world. We’re nosy and want ways to relate to you. When you give us a richer sense of you, increases your trustworthiness that for engaging with you.
Job seeker tip: Convert a multi-step blog you wrote, or a problem you solved, into a Power Point. Many people prefer something short, sweet and visual.
If your profile is well done, your viewers will “get you” and your value, immediately. It will leave no question in viewers’ minds that you are the right person for the job.
image: © Depositphotos.com/JessIvanova