By Tania Macdonald
As a researcher for an executive search firm, I am frequently reviewing profiles on LinkedIn to find suitable candidates for executive positions. Having looked at multitudes of LinkedIn profiles, there are some very simple, easy things you can do to ensure your profile gets noticed, optimising your chance of being shoulder tapped for future career opportunities.
So, what can you do to get noticed? Well, it goes without saying that a complete profile will work wonders for you. LinkedIn have built in a metric that tells you how complete your profile is, and the closer you can be to an “all-star” ranking the better. It’s presented in a checklist format on your profile and is relatively straightforward to fill out.
As an absolute minimum though you need to make sure you have an informative, concise summary, an outline of your work history, with relevant dates, and include a good photo.
By including a concise summary your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed, according to LinkedIn data. Here you can make an impactful first impression, summarising your successes and achievements and highlighting your overall strengths. This is your digital opportunity to showcase what makes you stand out.
Ensure that you include your job title, the name of the company and a link to it (if they have a company LinkedIn page), as well as a short description of the role. Include your key responsibilities, skills and achievements - bullet points are fine. It does not need to be as extensive as the information you might present on your CV, but you do need to include a concise overview for both your present and past positions. We often use key words to search these fields so make sure they are populated.
With the proliferation of smart phones there really is no excuse for not having a photograph on your LinkedIn profile. Moreover, it needs to reflect the professional you are. Perhaps a profile photo from the company website? Ensure the background is clutter free and that it’s a good clear headshot. Get a friend to take your photo in front of a light-coloured wall and avoid selfies. Portrait-mode on smart phones turn out very well. According to LinkedIn data, a profile with a photo receives 14 times more views than those without.
Remember that this is your professional profile. It’s your personal brand on display to the rest of the world, so not only is it important to get noticed, but it’s important to look good. Business guru Tom Peters summarises it best with his view on personal branding: “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Tania's original version of this blog can be found here.