How to Craft a Compelling LinkedIn Profile

by Joshua Waldman

If you still are not convinced that hiring managers are utilizing social media in their recruitment strategies – it is time you get your head out of the clouds and face reality.

Ninety-one percent of employers are using social media to screen prospective employees. As for social recruiting, another study shows that 93 percent of organizations are actively using social media in their hiring strategies.

Even if you are wary or reluctant to turn all of your social media profiles professional, there is one you should focus on perfecting. To get ahead in your career, it makes sense to commit to leveraging the largest professional online network. LinkedIn is the most used by recruiters and what is presented to them on your profile can qualify (and even disqualify) you for an open position.

Your ability to stand out is based upon the content and appearance of your LinkedIn profile. You can make your profile worthy of an interview by spending time mastering each of the following:

Answer an employer’s questions. Determining what to include and what to disregard on your LinkedIn profile can be simplified by providing answers to the questions employers are seeking. Be sure to address the questions below in your profile content:

•Who are you? Be sure to state loud and clear who you are and what your current role is. Are you a recent college graduate seeking employment in marketing? Or are you a seasoned consulting professional in the HR space? Include important keywords related to your area of expertise.
•What motivates you? As much as you want to match an employer’s needs, never lose sight of what it is that you want to do. Share with your network your interests and what excites you in your professional world. Let your enthusiasm be known.
•What are you capable of on the job? Take the time to jot down all the job accomplishments you’ve had and make special note of those that make you stand out. Think about how you help the organization you work for (or how you can help a future organization) and share with them your unique skills.

Once you have successfully brainstormed the answers to the important questions above, you can now begin to relay your message by crafting specific pieces of your LinkedIn profile. Consider the following tips you may not have heard before in order to construct a compelling page:

Have an eye-catching headline. Consider your headline as your first impression. After all, it is attached to all of your LinkedIn communications. Many people on LinkedIn mistake the headline as a place solely for their job title. Unbeknownst to most, the headline is open to holding 120 characters. If you currently do not have a job, include the actual name of the role you are looking for in order to boost keyword optimization. If you are currently employed, include your job title and the company you work for. Feel free to make your headline catchy since this is your opportunity to express to future employers how you are different than your competition. Check out the following example of an improved headline:

Before: Consultant

After: “Non-Profit Consultant solving urgent leadership problems.”

Craft a unique profile summary. Your LinkedIn profile summary is read within the very first 30 seconds of a recruiter or hiring manager reviewing your profile. Therefore, it is in your best interest to keep your summary to a 30-second limit while accomplishing your main goal: to keep viewers interested. Now is the time to include the answers to your brainstorming questions in a compelling manner. Describe yourself, what motivates you, and the important role you play in either your current position or a desired position. Also, I suggest writing your summary in first person. This differentiates your profile page from the traditional resume on paper.

Use social proof to build credibility. Including recommendations on your profile is a great way to verify all of your self-proclaimed accomplishments. Some recruiters are taking recommendations into higher consideration than the standard application materials including resumes, cover letters, and portfolios. Utilize the recommendation request system provided on LinkedIn to place proof behind your qualifications. Keep in mind, profiles with more recommendations rank higher on search results than those with less or none. The more the merrier when it comes to recommendations on LinkedIn.

Don’t just go through the motions of having an online presence. There are plenty of ways to stand out to employers online. You have the resources and ability to create a compelling LinkedIn page for a competitive advantage in your professional world.

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