With close to 90 percent of recruiters and HR personnel using LinkedIn for their staffing needs, anyone who’s part of the labor market should put their best foot forward on the site. The level of competition on LinkedIn, however, can be intimidating. The key is identifying ways to advertise yourself, your skills, and your experience in a unique and fresh manner, so that it helps anyone with an opportunity – whether it’s a consulting offer, a job, or a business deal – to find you.
In this guide, we go over five ways to build a killer LinkedIn profile and increase your chances of landing a job or business opportunity.
Your Profile Picture
Choose a simple and well-lit headshot where you’re looking straight into the camera; selfies are definitely out of the question. If wearing a suit and tie isn’t your style, don’t worry. You can still look friendly and professional in smart casual clothes. Just remember to exude a look of dependability and trustworthiness, not sexy or odd.
LinkedIn gives you 120 characters to write your headline, found at the topmost section of your profile. Most people just write their job titles, but there’s a more effective way to take advantage of the system: Using descriptive keywords to market your profile. Don’t forget that LinkedIn is a search engine.
Here’s an example of an effective headline: “Experienced Copywriter, Press Release Expert, Proven to Create Excellent Ad Copy for Clients.”
LinkedIn’s Summary section is where you make your pitch to potential employers. Think of it as your 1-minute commercial, where you tell people about your skills, your experience, and something unique about yourself.
In a guide for LinkedIn, business and data expert Bernard Marr recommends using the summary section to write your biggest career achievements, preferably in bullet form to make it easy to read. You should also consider adding infographics, photos, or videos—anything to captivate the reader.
This section looks like your traditional resume, where you can list down your skills, expertise, training, and experience. You can add where you’ve worked and for how long, as well as your roles and responsibilities. Be sure to include your current job title/position.
When writing your work experience, you can choose between two methods:
- List, in detail, your entire work history, skill set, and experience, the same way you would on a regular resume.
- Add your previous employers, job titles, and dates, leaving the rest blank and using the Summary to discuss your skills.