What Should My LinkedIn Profile Look Like?

Since LinkedIn is the social network that’s geared towards professionals, it is a very useful tool for hiring managers and recruiters. They are using LinkedIn with increasing frequency to search for the right candidates for open positions, so if you’re in the market for a new job, you will help yourself out immensely by formatting your LinkedIn profile properly. Without getting into the minutia, here are a few key pointers to make your profile really stand out.

  1. State your work history clearly. Just like recruiters and hiring managers don’t like trying to decipher sloppy formatting on a resume, they also don’t enjoy doing it on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t try to be flowery here; it’ll just lead to run-on sentences that lose the point halfway through. Use shorter, concise phrases, and list some specific duties and achievements. They want to be able to scan each job summary and quickly understand what exactly your experience entails.
  2. Use proper grammar. This is particularly important if they are considering you for a position that requires a lot of written communication. You can kill your chances at an interview if your profile is full of misspellings, incorrect punctuation, and wrong words, so make sure you proofread carefully!
  3. Make sure your information is up-to-date. Most people are good at updating their resume during a job search, but they often forget about their LinkedIn profile. A recruiter probably won’t be impressed if the last thing they see on your profile is an entry level position from 15 years ago. If you need to, leave a reminder note on your resume notebook to update your LinkedIn profile so that the next time you’re putting in your new resume, you’ll make sure it matches with what’s online.
  4. Fill out your profile completely. Too many times I’ve seen profiles that look only half-finished. There are no skills and expertise mentioned, or no training and education listed. Remember, this is basically your online resume, so it needs to reflect what you have on your hard copy version. Take advantage of the different sections of your profile to flesh out who you really are and what you bring to the table.
  5. Make some good connections. After all, the whole social aspect of connections on LinkedIn is what makes it stand out from other online resume and profile sites. You never know when a connection will actually be a lead to your next job. Also, follow some groups that are in your line of work, because it shows your investment into the online community.
  6. Give out recommendations. If you endorse someone else, chances are good that they will return the favor. Recommendations are also very powerful testimonials of your skills and experience without you tooting your own horn. Potential employers are very interested in what others have to say about you, not just what you have to say about yourself.
  7. Have an appropriate profile picture. Again, because this is a professional networking site, your image needs to reflect that. This is a great way to introduce yourself before they even pick up the phone to call you. Make sure that your picture fits the career that you have or want to have. It also needs to be a picture of just you, because more than one person will confuse the recruiter or hiring manager.

Nowadays, the availability of information at the touch of a button makes it easier than ever to get your name out there to the right people at the right time. Take advantage of tools like LinkedIn and make the most of them. The minutes you spend perfecting them may pay off dividends for years to come.

Any other thoughts about LinkedIn profiles? Post your comment below; we’d love to hear from you.