I have written recently about the declining importance of the resume in the recruiting process relative to the rapidly increasing importance of a LinkedIn profile. So, as power shifts from the resume to LinkedIn in terms of its effectiveness as a job seeking tool, I thought it a good time to provide some tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn Profile for employment purposes.
1. Fully complete your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn clearly states that users with completed profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn . Its easy to see whether your LinkedIn profile needs more work as LinkedIn displays a percentage score, indicating level of completeness. So, before you do anything else like installing apps, joining groups, commenting on discussions, check your score and if it’s way below 100%, you should do some work to update your profile. LinkedIn’s idea of a completed profile means that you have included the following information:
Your industry and location, An up-to-date current position (with a description), Two past positions, Your education, Your skills (minimum of 3), A profile photo, At least 50 connections
2. Edit Profile URL to Make it More User and SEO Friendly
Your public profile is the public version of your LinkedIn profile and it is this page which appears in search engines, like Google. The standard URL which LinkedIn gives you contains your name and a lot of numbers which are not reader friendly and according to experts, not SEO friendly. So, adjust your public profile URL so it is as close to your name as possible, e.g. www.linkedin.com/in/firstnamelastname to make it more reader and SEO friendly.
3. Summary; Adopting an Inverted Pyramid Information Structure
The LinkedIn summary has more prominence than the profession profile that you might prepare in a resume. Typically, the LinkedIn summary is longer, maybe two or three times the length and is a more fully fledged personal branding statement than the resume profile. Because the LinkedIn summary is longer and contains two or three paragraphs, it needs more structure than the shorter resume profile to create a similar positive effect. Many experts recommend that you adopt the Inverted Pyramid Approach to present your information which is an approach used in journalism to convey information in the most effective way.
In short this means that the most newsworthy info should come in the first paragraph, which is the: Who?, What? When? Where? Why How?, followed by the Important details in the second paragraph, and Other General Info and Background Info in the third paragraph. The idea of this is that the reader gets a summary in the first paragraph and can leave the summary at that point and still get a good feel for what you are about.
4. Register a Company Profile
One thing that I always look for when assessing a candidate’s LinkedIn profile is a completed company profile, (which is signified by a file icon next to the employer name), as it provides enriching information about the caliber and nature of the employer and their business
Unfortunately, many companies don’t yet have a company profile and current or former employees of those businesses do not therefore have helpful company profile icons, describing the employer, which I think lessens the impact of their profile. So, if your employer hasn’t created a profile, either ask them to create one or simply create one yourself.
5. Attention Grabbing Headline
The LinkedIn profiles places a lot of emphasis on the ‘Professional Headline’ that appears at the top of the profile just below your name. This ‘headline’ is displayed prominently at the top of the page and also appears in the listings of search results, which means it will be very influential in determining whether a recruiter clicks on your profile or not. So ensure to prepare an accurate but attention grabbing headline to draw in the reader.
6. Install Apps
Used well, the LinkedIn apps enrich your profile. Current apps include a WordPress app or Bloglink app which allows you to present your blog on your LinkedIn profile. Only use this if your blog relates to your business and industry. This is not for personal musings.
The Slideshare app is great for showcasing personal presentations, that you have given, on your LinkedIn profile.
There’s also the Creative Portfolio app for showcasing creative work in unlimited multimedia formats. They also have a GitHub App so developers can show their headline activity on GitHub. So, I strongly recommend that where appropriate you install apps and enrich your profile.
I hope you have found these LinkedIn profile optimization tips useful. We’ll continue with more LinkedIn profile tips in part two.