LinkedIn was created with the goal of connecting professionals through a network of social media profiles. Today, LinkedIn boasts over 500 million members worldwide and has become the go-to networking site for professionals looking to advance their careers.
Creating a professional profile on LinkedIn isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Follow these steps to create a powerful profile that will help you stand out from the crowd.
1. Start with your headline.
You need to be able to capture someone’s interest within the first couple of sentences. Think about the headlines that get shared on Facebook or Twitter. They tend to be short and sweet, but still grab attention. Make sure you use keywords that match the type of person you’re trying to attract. Use words that describe who you are and what you do.
2. Craft an interesting summary.
Your summary should tell people why they should care about you. It’s where you introduce yourself and what makes you different from others who may apply for the same job. Include keywords that match the job description.
3. Highlight your experience.
Your profile should include at least three pieces of information: your education, skills, and experience. For each section, think about what differentiates you from others.
4. Put specific accomplishments under past jobs.
The best way to show off your accomplishments is by listing them under past jobs. For example, “I worked at XYZ Company for three years as a product manager” or “I was the lead developer on project X for two years.” This makes it easy for recruiters to see what skills you have and what projects you’ve worked on.
5. Use a professional photo.
A professional photo can really set you apart from the competition, and is one of the most important things you can include in your profile. Avoid using casual non-professional photos; you don’t want that pic from last month’s toga party to be the first thing a recruiter sees.
6. Keep it simple.
People who look at profiles spend less than two seconds scanning them before moving on to the next one. So it’s important not to over-complicate your profile. Use bullet points to break down key information into bite-sized chunks. Avoid adding too many photos to your page, as they take up space and people don’t have time to click through them all. Instead, use a few high-quality images that speak for themselves.
7. Be honest and genuine.
The best way to attract new connections is by being yourself. Don’t try to fake it—you won’t fool anyone. Instead, focus on building relationships based on mutual interests and values.
8. Start making connections.
The first step is to connect with people who share similar interests. One of the easiest ways to do that is by joining groups related to your industry. Groups are very important part of LinkedIn—they can be a valuable source of industry information (everything from news to sales leads) while providing you with a great opportunity to expand your network. Lastly, don’t forget to ask your personal contacts to follow you on LinkedIn once your profile is complete.
These suggestions are just a few helpful tips on creating a great LinkedIn profile. It can help to have a friend or two review it for spelling, grammar, and helpful suggestions. After you finalize it, make sure that you revisit it frequently to update any new accomplishments, skills, or experiences.