On LinkedIn profiles, 100% isn’t complete anymore. With several new sections added, just filling out your basics is no longer good enough. LinkedIn has recently rolled out the new Improve Your Profile Tool, which takes its users beyond the well-known profile elements to have a much richer display of professional information.
Of the new sections to your profile, pay particular attention to these four: Skills, Certifications, Publications and Projects.
This tool should show up at the top of your profile when you go in to edit it. If not, there is a new yellow button on the right side called Improve Your Profile.
Skills Versus Specialties
The new Skills section allows you to add up to 50 skills to your profile. They act as tags, if you are familiar with the concept of an open taxonomy. Just as you might use an index at the back of a book to find a page, recruiters can use Skills to find candidates to contact.
The new LinkedIn Skills search function, now in beta, will eventually be rolled out into the advanced search section or the recruiter product. Where the Specialties section gives your profile a Search Optimization boost using search algorithms, Skills will link your profile directly to predefined search categories.
Certifications and Publications
As a job seeker, you should always look for ways to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Most of your competition will overlook these sections (unless they are reading this blog post too!).
If your job requires you to have a certification then clearly you should include it here. But also being able to show that you’ve published content will really accelerate you in the eyes of a recruiter or hiring manager.
A publication could be just an article in a local magazine, an ebook, or a published interview. Publications can be dragged up to the top of your profile to highlight featured items.
Projects and Work Samples
If you have ever worked on a project in your work history, then I would strongly advise you to include it here. A résumé is great for showing what you’ve done in the past. But talking about and demonstrating your actual work can show a hiring manager what you could do for them in the future.
If you can’t think of a project right away, just enter in a sample project so that later you can edit it directly without having to go through the Improve Your Profile Tool all over again.