In today’s job market, job seekers need to have a social presence. With 84% of companies using social recruiting to source candidates, your online profile is another critical aspect of your application. LinkedIn is the largest online professional network recruiters use to source candidates. Therefore, having a strong LinkedIn profile is necessary for landing a job.
Today we are going to walk you through how to create a professional and meaningful LinkedIn profile.
Before diving into the “how-to” when creating your profile page, it should answer these three questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- What do you know?
Who are you?
The sections of your LinkedIn profile that should answer this question are the:
- Profile Picture
- Banner image
- “About” section
First, start at your headline. Here list the company you work at and your current role. With 220 available characters also include your professional passions. An example is “Dedicated to staffing the IT & Engineering fields.” The header can highlight background information about the company or your career aspirations. For example, HEPCO’s COO includes information about HEPCO in his headline.
The next step is taking a profile picture. The picture should be a head and shoulders shot, with one’s face taking up most of the image. Do not use a photo with cropped out individuals as recruiters find this unprofessional. The photo should have good lighting and not be cropped from a larger image. By nailing the profile picture, it shows the care you took to develop a professional profile.
Next, select a banner image that represents yourself. For example, HEPCO’s banner image includes photos representing our specializations in engineering, IT, and telecom.
The about section is gives people an opportunity to know who you are and what is important to you. The 2,000-character limit is where you have the most freedom on your profile, as you can show who you are, what matters to you, and your professional goals. Job seekers can discuss their past achievements and the role they are looking to obtain. Don’t be afraid to share your character and values to let your connections get to know you. If you are stuck on how to write a stand-out summary, read more from LinkedIn on their favorite “About” sections.
What do you do?
The experience section answers; What do you do?
While your LinkedIn should match your resume, here you can highlight all your professional experience without tailoring them to a specific role. Your LinkedIn profile will perform best by optimizing your experience for the industry through discussing your past performances and the knowledge acquired.
LinkedIn also gives you the chance to expand on your resume by listing all the professional roles you have had over the past 15 to 20 years, which is crucial in showing your level of expertise. Overall, the information you include under experience should back up the values and successes you stated in your “About” section.
Generally, the experience section should give your readers an overview of what you currently do, what you have accomplished throughout your career, and some insight into your expertise.
What do you know?
The sections that will be answering this question include:
- Licenses & Certifications
These sections highlight your knowledge of the industry and provide credibility for your expertise included in the experience section.
First, list where you have received higher education. This will include where you received your bachelor’s and any graduate degrees, study abroad experiences, certificate programs or courses from additional institutions. You should also provide your GPA, if it’s over a 3.0, and the course of study, for example computer science.
The following section is the licenses and certifications where you can highlight certificates you received from a company or organization. For example, if you completed a Google Analytics course, this is where you would highlight it.
The last section you should try to optimize is skills, an essential section to creating a stand-out LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn allows you to manually add a skill, such as “interpersonal” or “organizational” skills. But they can also add a skill automatically for those who pass a skills quiz resulting in a badge on their profile stating them as a verified expert. Some of the quizzes include WordPress, Google Analytics and Microsoft Office Suite. Your connections can also endorse you for a skill adding further credibility to your expertise. Many recruiters review a candidate’s skill section, as some jobs are strict in the skills required to be qualified for a job.
While answering who you are and what you do are incredibly important, what you know is key to recruiters considering you a highly qualified candidate.
With much of recruiting becoming more virtual over the past year, one’s online presence is not to be dismissed. Your LinkedIn profile is crucial to your online reputation, as all professionals are looking to establish their credibility online. As you work to build your online credibility, job seekers need to optimize their LinkedIn profile with the same time and attention that they would put towards their resume.