Is your drab LinkedIn presence making you invisible?
No, we’re not completely serious. The title and tagline for this post could easily come from a supermarket tabloid, but there is a point to be made. Like it or not, managing your career in the 21st century has a lot to do with visibility. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be an exhibitionist to win the next position and move up. Even if you’re shy and conservative, managing your career visibility won’t be painful or embarrassing.
Let’s be clear. In the digital age, visibility can really be defined as findability, and most of that occurs online. Part of the assessment that any new employer will make will be determined by what they discover on the social networks. For some of us, that could have good and bad implications (yes, you should be careful what you Tweet), but mostly it’s manageable. The place to start managing is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn isn’t sexy. Relative to the other social networks, LinkedIn is pretty dull. But it is the business social network and the place where recruiters and employers look first for candidates. Over 85% of recruiters now use LinkedIn’s Recruiter and Recruiter Lite services as the first step for identifying promising candidates to fill job openings. You’ve just got to be there.
What should you wear to the LinkedIn event?
LinkedIn isn’t a completely formal event. Unlike your resume, the rules for your LinkedIn profile are more fluid. You could call them business casual. While there are many similarities between your LinkedIn profile and your resume, LinkedIn is really more like an online bio. Some of the information can mix and match, but LinkedIn allows you to include some additional accessories that won’t fit into a two-page formal corporate resume.
Just as there are proven techniques for writing a successful resume, there’s also a strategy for building a professional, effective LinkedIn Profile. By effective, we mean:
Findable – easily located by anyone who wants to find out more about you and your career goals.
Scannable – Your skills, experience, and value are immediately recognizable. There’s no doubt about your career intentions.
Readable – There’s more interesting information for “inquiring minds” that want to know the detail.
We’ve compiled a list of eight “secret ingredients” that will improve the visibility of your LinkedIn profile and help you to build connections that could be important to your career. Honestly, most of these LinkedIn profile tips are pretty straightforward, but can be easily missed if you’re not familiar with the LinkedIn platform. Since the network was purchased by Microsoft last year, getting around the site is less intuitive, so we’ll try to help with a few screenshots as we go along.
8 Ingredients for LinkedIn Profile Success
LinkedIn Profile Tip #1 – Check Your Public Profile Settings
One of the simple reasons that you might not show up on LinkedIn is that your settings restrict people from viewing your profile. The visibility settings are found under the Me/Account/Settings and Privacy menu option. Here’s what to look for:
Privacy Tab – Check Profile Viewing Options. This should be set to your name and headline. Then look under Blocking and Hiding/Followers. This setting determines who can follow you and see your public updates. Set it to Everyone with no restrictions. Under Job Seeking, set both options to yes. You’ll be able to share your Linked profile and recruiters will know that you’re open to opportunities, without making the information available to your current employer.
Communications Tab – Under Basics / Who can send you invitations, choose the Everyone option to enable contact invitations. Under Messages from Members, check the career opportunities category and add contact information in the custom advice field.
LinkedIn Profile Tip #2 – Contact and Personal Info
Make sure that the Contact and Personal Info section of your profile is up to date and complete. Click on your “Me” icon image, then look on the right side of the page under Contact and Personal Info. Click the pencil to edit. If you’re in job search mode, you need at least an email address for contact. Some recruiters may prefer to contact you by phone.
LinkedIn Profile Tip #3 – Create a Custom Profile URL
Click the “Me” icon again then click “Edit Public Profile” in the upper right. You’ll find an option to create or edit your public profile URL in the upper right hand corner of the Public Profile Settings Page.
LinkedIn Profile Tip #4 – Use a Professional Photo
As much as you may love your dog, that profile photo will work better on Facebook. That said, it might be slightly better than no photo at all. The grey LinkedIn photo icon will signal to viewers that your profile is incomplete. Best bet for a professional looking LinkedIn profile is a nice smile and business attire. You can edit your profile photo by clicking the “Me” icon, then “view profile” next to your photo. The pencil icon in the top box will bring you to the Edit Intro screen where you can customize your photo and the introductory info on your profile.
LinkedIn Profile Tip #5 – Customize the Headline
While you’re on the Edit Intro screen, you might consider changing your profile headline. By default it’s set with your job title and current company, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re actively seeking a new position and you aren’t concerned with exposing your search to an employer, you can announce it here (e.g. Event Planner Seeking Next Engagement).
LinkedIn Profile Tip #6 Spend Some Time on Your Summary
You can edit your summary information on the same screen. It’s worth spending some time and energy here. You know that recruiters and employers are going to look at your summary, even if they only scan the rest of your profile. Your summary should be interesting. It should give a quick overview of who you are and include some of your key accomplishments.
Mention important positions or projects that you’ve managed. A good strategy for both LinkedIn and your resume is to tell two sentence stories that are likely to provoke a question in a job interview. As an example – provided fashion coordination for Janet Jackson and other celebrities. Not responsible for 2004 Superbowl scandal.
Your summary section is limited to 2000 characters, so you’ll need to be succinct when building out your LinkedIn profile. Also remember that only the first couple of sentences will show before the “see more” link when your profile is viewed. Make the first sentence or two descriptive, then craft 2 – 3 paragraphs and bullet points that can be viewed in the expanded section.
LinkedIn Profile Tip #7 – Consider a Portfolio
LinkedIn provides you the opportunity to include media in your summary section and below your job descriptions. If you have published work or are in a creative industry, this is an opportunity to provide proof of your skills. Add a link to an article or a website or even a patent.
LinkedIn Profile Tip #8 – Add an Accomplishments Profile Section
The Accomplishments profile section is a relatively new addition to LinkedIn. Click the “Me” icon and view profile and you’ll see a blue “Add new profile section” dropdown in the right-hand sidebar. Click the arrow and select the accomplishments section. You’ll see options to add several categories of information:
Adding accomplishments is a good idea, because they are evidence of the capabilities that you present. You’ll can also add a skills profile section in this dropdown area, but recruiters and employers may find less value in your assertions of skill than from certifications, awards, and publications that can be verified.
Bonus Accessories – Recommendations and Endorsements
If the goal is to be visible, you would think that recommendations and endorsements would help. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask a few friends and colleagues to provide recommendations and sharing an endorsement or two is an accepted LinkedIn social tradition. Absolutely no one is going to accept a poor testimonial for their LinkedIn profile, so it goes without saying that all of your recommendations will be positive. In balance, recommendations and endorsements are good, but most recruiters don’t pay them a lot of attention.
LinkedIn Profile in Place. Ready for the Job Search Gala?
Devoting some time and effort to building a professional LinkedIn profile is a good idea. A well-crafted profile will increase your visibility and your findability when recruiters and employers look for candidates. LinkedIn is just part of the wardrobe, though. You’ll also need a professional resume for a more formal presentation. You’ll also need to be on your best behavior during the event – we’ll write another article on the best ways to engage on LinkedIn to increase your business connections and uncover career opportunities.
Your LinkedIn profile and your resume fit together pretty closely. Most recruiters and employers tell us that they use LinkedIn as a primary source for their candidate search, but the rest of the process is more traditional. They’ll ask for a formal resume before conducting an interview.
The thought process that you’ll use to prepare both your LinkedIn profile and your resume is very similar, so It makes complete sense to update LinkedIn at the same time you revise your resume. It also makes great sense to get professional insight and writing assistance to help you complete the process.
Your resume and your LinkedIn profile should consistently reflect your personal brand. The professional resume writers at CareerPro Global understand the intricacies of the LinkedIn platform and the differences in style and content between LinkedIn and your resume. If you invest in our LinkedIn profile writing services, we’ll work with you to create a findable LinkedIn profile that presents your story, your skills and qualifications, and your experience. It will enhance your visibility online and complement a professional corporate resume that is developed at the same time.
While there really aren’t any sexy secrets to your LinkedIn profile, we think that the combination of a professionally written profile and resume makes very good sense. So do our satisfied clients when they receive interviews and job offers. If you’re considering your next career steps and are ready to get started with a LinkedIn Profile update and a new resume, we hope you’ll call CareerPro Global for a free consultation.
Barbara Adams is the founder and CEO of CareerPro Global, Inc. and has led the company since 1990. She is recognized as one of the pioneers in the career services industry and a titan of the resume writing industry. Barbara has built CPG into one of the largest and fastest-growing premier career services organizations industry-wide. She is committed to CPG’s core factors that include quality product, exceptional customer service, a successful proven process, and taking care of her people. Barbara has Co-Authored numerous books, including:
Roadmap to the Senior Executive Service
Roadmap to Becoming an Administrative Law Judge
Job-Winning Military to Civilian Resumes
Roadmap to Federal Jobs
She also co-authored the certification requirements for the Master Military Resume Writer (MMRW) and the Master Federal Career Advisor and Trainer (MFCA-T) certifications.