How to Build an Effective Linkedin Profile

Your Linkedin profile can give you a professional online presence. A complete and well-built profile will make you easier to find on the Internet by recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiters are using Linkedin to search for job candidates, and you want them to find YOU! Here are some tips for making your Linkedin profile professional and effective for your job search:

  • Use your summary as your 30-second elevator pitch. Describe your accomplishments and what you bring to the table. Use keywords important in your career field that recruiters would be likely to search on. The specialties part of your summary is a place to list keywords that are your strengths. Include transferable skills (i.e. leadership, team work, strong work ethic) that transfer across disciplines, especially if you are starting on a new career path. Keep your summary short and sweet, no more than 2-3 paragraphs.
  • Include a photo to add credibility and a deeper sense of connection to your online presence. Keep your profile image consistent across all your social media networks to make you recognizable to recruiters. Your photo doesn’t have to be professionally taken, but it should be a good headshot that shows your professional side.
  • Create a descriptive headline that reflects your goals and personal brand. The headline is the first thing people see in your profile, and you can use 120 characters or less to make it count. Use keywords here for search-ability, and make sure it includes what your target audience is looking for.
  • If you are planning to relocate, you should put your desired location in your profile, not where you live now. Often times, recruiters will filter their candidate search by zip code, and you don’t want your current location to exclude you from their search if it is not where you plan to stay.
  • List all of your current and past employers and education. If a past job has nothing to do with your current career field, list it with a short description and use those transferable skills to describe your duties and responsibilities. Listing all your past employers and education will help you find connections and build your network.
  • Add words and phrases in the skills section that are relevant to your career field. The skills listed in your profile work like tags, and they will increase your search potential. Check the profiles of colleagues and those in your career field to get ideas on what skills and keywords to use.
  • Add sections to your profile by clicking the Add sections button above the summary section. Select from the list of sections ones that will help round out your profile based on your background. For example, you should add the Organizations section if you are a member of professional organizations, and add the Certifications section if you’ve earned special training, etc.
  • Ask for recommendations from people in your network. You should have at least 3 recommendations from managers, supervisors, colleagues, people you’ve done volunteer work for, etc. A good rule of thumb is to have at least one recommendation from each job listed in the employment section of your profile.
  • Promote your blog or website. If you have a professional website or blog that is appropriate and relevant to your industry, include the URL on your profile. When adding a website URL to the Websites section, select “Other” so you can add a descriptive name to the link.

Karin Durkee is Director of Social Media at Corporate Gray, a company specializing in Military to Civilian Employment Services.
Additional resource: Lisa Carroll, Director of Carroll Quality Alliance.

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