When applying for jobs, one of the first things that an employer might do is search for you online. Employers are interested in your experience and how you present yourself, communicate, discuss particular topics and engage with other people. Having a great online presence is key before pressing ‘submit’ on that job application. Having a strong LinkedIn profile is the first step as it’s often where employers look first.
LinkedIn, launched in 2003, is the most used professional networking site in the world, with over 740 million users. To stand out, set up a profile that'll complement your CV and market you well to a prospective employer. Add key details to the following sections to help you build your profile:
- Current position
- Contact information
- Licenses and certificates
- Volunteer experience
- Skills and endorsements
The LinkedIn 'Help' section has great information to help you understand what to put in each section, and how to use particular features. Here are my top 10 tips for creating a great LinkedIn profile, which will make you stand out for the job that you really want.
1. Your headline should be clickable
Articulate your employee value proposition by highlighting your experience. Rather than just stating your title, showcase some key features that you can offer to an employer. For example:
Sales consultant 5+ years I solar, insurance, health I Available immediately
2. Use only photos that present you professionally
Present in your LinkedIn photo as if you're attending an interview. Smart, corporate, and professional photos work best, tailored to dress codes in your industry.
3. Your ‘About’ section is your employee value proposition
Your EVP is what sells you well for a potential job, and the ‘About’ section on LinkedIn is where you can summarise it. You can highlight your values, thought leadership, experience, education, skills, achievements, and vision. For example, your opening line might be something like this:
With 15 years’ experience in logistics and supply-chain management, I’m passionate about developing strategies that reduce environmental impact, ensure sustainability and deliver profitability.
And then you might go on to speak about previous education, skills and achievements. You can also put a concise summary at the top of the About section with bullet points of your EVP key selling points.
4. Use keywords that are searchable
When employers and recruiters are searching for appropriate candidates, they look for particular skills, systems, industries and experience. Adding keywords to your LinkedIn profile is a great way to ensure that you appear in the right searches and are available to be contacted by potential employers.
5. Give recommendations
The best way to build your own profile is to help others build theirs. So instead of only asking for recommendations on LinkedIn, think about giving them first. Expect nothing in return, but you might just find that you do get a few coming back your way.
6. Get active
A LinkedIn profile is a living, breathing representation of you. It can give insights into your interests, values and communication style. You can post your own content, such as a blog or article you've written, repost from a news, blog or social media site, or share someone else’s content and credit them. What are you an expert in, or what do you want to become known for? What sort of thought leadership do you have or want to develop? These are great questions to address when deciding which content you're going to post.
7. Personalise your LinkedIn URL
When you sign up to LinkedIn, you're randomly assigned a set of numbers and letters, which make up part of the URL link that people click on to view your profile. You can update this to your name instead, for example: linkedin.com/in/erindevlin. It looks more professional, is searchable and is easy to read and reference.
8. Use data, statistics, and examples
If you say you increased sales or improved productivity, then give us a percentage and tell us by how much. If you say you’ve managed big projects, how big? To one person ‘big’ might mean a 5000-word university essay – to another it might mean the construction of a 17-storey office building. If you say your HR work has led to better retention, by what percentage did your employee turnover improve? Be specific and articulate your achievements with substance.
9. Choose your words carefully
Social media amplifies your personality. Are you warm, friendly and approachable? Confident, competent and hard-working? Are you displaying the characteristics of someone who others will enjoy working with? Do you give an employer confidence that you can add value to their organisation? Look at your content through a wide variety of lenses and from different viewpoints before posting.
10. Be your future self
The best candidates I have worked with have a clear idea of the job that they want to secure in the future. Even if this changes over time, they have a goal, a vision and a road map to get there. On your LinkedIn profile, try to view everything you write through the lens of your future self. Let’s say you want to be in a management position in the next five years. What would you as the manager say when you write that post? How would you word it? What would the tone be? That’s the tone you want to have.
Whether it’s getting the right headline, photo or profile summary, there are many ways to standout to potential employers on LinkedIn. Ensure that your EVP is clearly communicated and that you're engaging well with your network. Show your personality and positive attitude, and use data, statistics and examples to back up your achievements. Post engaging, topical and informative content, standout to potential employers, and get the job you really want.
Who is Erin Devlin?
Erin is the author of Get the job you really want released by Major Street Publishing in 2021. She leads a team of professional recruiters at people2people Recruitment in Australia and was the 2017 RCSA SEEK Professional Recruiter of the Year. Offering nearly 15 years’ experience in recruitment, you can read more in Erin’s book, available here.
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