Having ambition is great, but knowing how to put your best foot forward is even better! LinkedIn is an excellent tool for doing this. How? By building your profile to highlight your personal brand and letting your current and future connections learn what you want them to know about you: your qualities, strengths, experiences and achievements.
LinkedIn is also a great way to keep in touch with all the people you meet at work, during happy hour or on a business trip. Forget your business card collection! Did you become acquainted with someone interesting? Send them a LinkedIn invitation with a personalized note. It’s a good bet that each new connection you write to will take a look at your profile. This should be a perfect profile that reflects your image—thanks to helpful advice from Inès Mahjoub, certified coach and career management consultant.
1. Invest in a professional headshot
This is the first piece of advice that Mahjoub gives to clients when they meet her. She believes this makes all the difference (particularly as recruiters are known to be 14 times more likely to look at a profile that has a photo!). Here are a few tips for the perfect picture:
- Be alone in the photo.
- Choose a neutral background.
- Frame only the upper body so your face can be clearly seen.
- Look at the camera lens as if you are looking into the eyes of the person who is viewing your profile.
- Wear clothes that represent you—professionally speaking.
2. Make sure your profile is 100% complete
Make the effort to check all of the boxes that will make your profile more attractive. Distinctions, languages spoken, volunteer work, etc.
3. Personalize your title
The “professional title” box is located just below your name. According to Mahjoub, this is the part of your profile that should be the most marketing-oriented. Choose clear terms that define what you do, and, if possible, what sets you apart from others.
What makes a “human resources specialist” different from a “talent recruiter”? A more precise and significant title, in the second case, for someone who is seeking the right candidate.
4. Go to town on your profile summary
Mahjoub notes this is the third most frequently viewed section by employers. There is room for 2,000 characters. Don’t hesitate to describe yourself authentically, using a more personal tone.
5. Polish up your résumé
There’s no need to keep your college part-time job on your profile. Include only work experience that is related to your profession or is relevant to the position you are seeking.
6. Reread what you wrote, then read it again, and again.
Errors are inexcusable on LinkedIn (as well as in many other places). If you are not sure about the quality of what you wrote, have someone you know look it over for you.
7. Customize your profile URL
LinkedIn tells you how to do this here. This step is crucial to make your profile stand out in search engines (Google for example). Also, if you’d like to invite a potential employer to look at your page, the URL you attach to your email will be a lot shorter. This looks so much better!
8. Choose the right keywords
An excellent way of doing this is to take a look at the profiles of people in your field. Look at how they describe themselves, reuse the same terms and add words that make you stand out. Mahjoub also recommends using a job search engine to see which keywords are often preferred by employers to describe their ideal candidate. When you have found them, include the ones that best describe you in your profile.
9. Add points of contact
10. Ask for recommendations
Send a personalized message to your colleagues, your clients or your suppliers asking them to write a short comment about you. “This section adds a lot of weight to a profile,” says Mahjoub.
11. Share articles
“This is one of the best ways to stand out!” according to Mahjoub. The goal is to find articles you think are interesting and share them on your LinkedIn page or in groups you joined. This is a simple way to enhance your status as an expert in your field.
12. Be active… and up to date!
Above all, make sure your profile does not wither from neglect. Did you land a new assignment or win an award? Share the good news with your network! Take the opportunity to also congratulate your connections on their achievements. A word of encouragement or a “Like” will let you keep in touch with your network… and will be much appreciated.