Get Your LinkedIn Profile Noticed With a Few Attention-Grabbing Tweaks
Whether you're searching for a new job or just looking to boost your networking power, LinkedIn has proven to be a unique and powerful tool in the professional development game. In addition to giving users a place to showcase their talents and connections, it has become a top-contender in the rankings of Google search results — often showing up higher in searches than competing social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. (See also: 25 Websites to Help You Get a Job)
With all the benefits that can come from being found on LinkedIn, it's important that your profile reaches out and grabs the attention of the person who stumbled upon it. And while there are many tips and tricks to being number one in the LinkedIn search results, they are all for nothing if your profile is disappointing, or worse yet, beneath your own level of professionalism.
So how does one create a worthy profile? And what will one get in return for the investment? Here are some of the proven strategies LinkedIn experts have used successfully on the site. (See also: LinkedIn Changes Every Job Hunter Should Make)
Use a Professional Photo
Still missing a photo on LinkedIn? You need to upload one right away! Not only will a photo help make your profile stand out, but it puts a face to a name, and a name to a face. This will prove useful when taking your job search or networking experience from offline to online. Be sure your picture is one that you would feel good about putting on a business card, though — no Facebook selfies or photos older than five years, please!
Use SEO-Friendly Keywords
While it is never advisable to "stuff" your profile with too many keywords, the value of having well-placed terms that describe what you do is high. Are you a blogger, freelance writer, and a podcaster? Include all three terms in your profile title for maximum searchability and as way for potential employers and clients to see, at a glance, that you know their business. You should use other synonyms for these industry-specific words throughout your descriptions, as well, making sure that you write your profile more like a blog post about your experience and less like a boring resume. (See also: How to Get Past the Resume Filter)
Link When Possible
LinkedIn has limited options for linking in the main portion of your profile. It's amazing, however, how few people use the maximum number of link fields provided to promote themselves and their work. Do you have a blog, a website, and a company Facebook page? Include all three in your profile, with appropriate anchor text. (Use keywords with these, too, if possible.) Specifically, if you work in an online niche, leaving out links to other sites will leave those who view your profile confused or underwhelmed.
Take Advantage of Multimedia Components
LinkedIn has recently added some exciting features to "pump up" the flash factor of the simple profile. It's now possible to add photos and videos to each section of your profile. If you have a video on YouTube that showcases your work, add it in under the appropriate work history. Screenshots make great visual examples of articles you may have written or been mentioned in, as well. (See also: Unique Ways to Score an Interview)
Ask for Recommendations
These are not to be confused with "endorsements" that can be given or received without asking. Recommendations are formal requests of an employer, colleague, or client where they can write a paragraph or two about your credibility; consider them similar to a letter of recommendation (only shorter). To solicit a recommendation, make sure you know the contact well and be sure to thank them for their contribution to your profile. (Note: Endorsements, at a glance, can make a skimpier profile of a less experienced professional seem to have more substance. Don't hesitate to display them, but strive to get at least five recommendations on your profile for your current job niche.)
By following these simple recommendations, you can have an eye-catching profile that easily tells a prospect that you are serious about online networking. Other quick considerations include:
Making your profile public.
Including a way for contacts to reach you outside of LinkedIn (included in the Contact section).
Linking to your various social media accounts (only those, however, that are appropriate for business purposes).
Upgrading to a paid account (which allows you to see who has been viewing your profile).
While LinkedIn isn't the magic bullet that will make or break a career, it certainly gives the dedicated professional a leg up in a very competitive economy. By taking a day or two to set up your profile in an attention-grabbing manner, you can make sure that your online "first impression" is a worthy one.
Has LinkedIn helped you land a job or a gig? Any profile tips we've missed? Please share in comments!