By Phaedra Brotherton
Did you know that your LinkedIn profile is one of the first results likely to come up when someone searches for you online?
The first step in establishing a strong presence on LinkedIn is going beyond just getting a profile up there and just cutting and pasting in your resume.
Your LinkedIn profile should complement — not duplicate — your resume by expanding on your qualifications, positioning you for your next career move, and showing a bit more personality so you stand out from the other qualified professionals on LinkedIn.
Complete Your LinkedIn Profile to Reach All-Star Status
The first step is to fill out the key areas of your profile strategically so that your profile meets all-star status, which means you are “findable” and LinkedIn’s networking and brand-building features can go to work for you. LinkedIn states that users with all-star profile status are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
In general, you want to include the following:
Add Professional and Industry Keywords
However, to get the branding benefits from LinkedIn, your profile needs to go further than completeness and include distinguishing professional qualifications in a personal way as well the appropriate keywords — competencies, skills, areas of expertise — associated with the profession and industry you want to be known and findable for.
Some examples of keywords from the communications and publishing profession:
- Editorial oversight
- Magazine publishing
- Production management
- Content development
- Digital strategy
Optimize Four Key Profile Areas
In addition to including appropriate keywords, you want to be strategic and pay particular attention to these four areas:
Your Photo. A professional and approachable photo personalizes your profile and boosts the likelihood that someone will take a look at your profile. According to LinkedIn, profiles with photos get up to 21 times more views than profiles without photos. And you want to make sure that picture represents you well professionally.
Keep your ideal reader and audience in mind and decide what impression you want to make, including how casual or formal. Ideally, your photo shows you as both professional and approachable.
Your Headline. The headline is a prime area for branding and keyword optimization. Take advantage of this branding opportunity to use 120 characters to present yourself as you would like to be viewed professionally. You can change the default title, which is your current title, and edit or add to the title to reflect what you would like to be known for professionally.
For instance, if your official title is managing editor, but you really want to be known for your specialty with digital and online platforms, one option to consider is including your title along with the keywords associated with your specialty:
Managing Editor | Print & Online Publications | Video and Podcast Production | Web and Blog Content
The headline is also the place to include a tag line or branding statement that represents your professional philosophy or approach.
Your Summary. You have 2,000 characters of opportunity to help you communicate what differentiates you from others in your profession and field. Consider going beyond that resume summary of “15-plus years of editorial management experience,” etc., to stand out. One strategy is using the first person “I” to tell your career story, share career achievements, talk about why you do what you do, and even highlight volunteer work to give a sense of your personality.
Again, keywords are welcome and rank highly in the summary as well so be sure to include your specific specialties and skills.
Your Experience. In this section, include some description for each of the positions you include in this section —particularly your most recent position — if it’s relevant to your immediate goal. Focus on including the most important information about the position, including your scope of responsibility as well as specific achievements and accomplishments (quantified whenever possible), and unique skills. Also, remember to include relevant keywords in your job titles and your descriptions.
Although you want to keep your resume at about two pages max, the LinkedIn experience section is where you can include more of your professional history; but keep it relevant and include just enough to bolster your qualifications. Employers are usually most concerned with the last 15 years or so.
A Strong Foundation
In all sections of the profile, it’s important to be concise so your profile is easily skimmable and the most important information you want to convey gets read.
Following the above steps will help you create a strong LinkedIn profile and foundation to help you reap the branding and career-building benefits of LinkedIn platform.
In the next article in this series, we’ll focus on how to use your LinkedIn profile to spotlight and bring your qualifications to life by using specific sections and multimedia and portfolio aspects of LinkedIn.
Phaedra Brotherton, principal of Resumes and Career Strategies, specializes in working with association executives.
For a checklist to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile, click here.