In business, it’s mostly who you know. It’s a universal truth that doesn’t have to have bad connotations. If anything, it’s the crux of the popular professional networking platform LinkedIn. Founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman and gaining massive popularity in 2006, the site has connected the business world in many ways.
Professionals wanting to solidify their connections and networks have used LinkedIn to enhance their careers. It wasn’t long after they used the site that businesses started to take advantage as well. The latter’s presence changed the game of headhunting and recruitment, so much so that an applicant’s behavior and persona on the site is a factor on whether they should be hired or not.
While maintaining a LinkedIn profile is different from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the same general rules apply: a proper primary photo, decent posts, and keeping your whole profile up-to-date. Aside from those, though, how do you cater your personal page to make it more noticeable, especially to bigger clients?
Optimizing your profile can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a good grasp of the system’s functions. But take a few lessons from the most common mistakes on LinkedIn and start connecting and communicating with the top brass of companies.
Complete the essentials
Suffice to say, a complete profile will get more views. “Users with complete [p]rofiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities ….” These profiles all include a face to look at, past titles or jobs, skills that can be endorsed, education information, and connections.
Without a photo, you won’t be easily recognized. Taking away the fact that there are more than 3 billion people in the world with an active Internet connection, there are bound to be persons with the same name as you. To avoid forcing possible connections to play that matching game (which they don’t/won’t have the time to do anyway), make yourself easily seen and recognizable. There’s a caveat though: any willy-nilly photo won’t do. If you want to be seen as a professional, you have to upload a decent photo. Show your best professional side. You don’t have to dress up; you need to look presentable.
In relation to “being professional,” being completely honest about your achievements, work history, and education is also prudent. If you have to lie about your previous jobs, past experiences, and even connections, then why should they add you to their network? Not only are you misrepresenting yourself; you’re also undermining the people you want to connect with. In the same way that respect begets respect, being transparent with your career highlights makes you more trustworthy… and worth the time that potential connections are going to invest on you. Make it count.
Further trick out the details
Completing the essentials is just making your profile presentable to a degree. A lot more can be done to polish your profile and make it fully readable and noticeable.
Start with a simple one: customize the vanity URL of your personal page. At the very least, remove the numbers and have it reflect your name. A shorter—and more specific—address makes finding your profile easier and shows that you work on the little details. Plus, it’ll be easier to include your LinkedIn profile on your business card.
Another part to focus on is the Summary section. Although it says “summary,” the field has two thousand characters you can use to your full advantage. Make it robust. Describe your experiences in colorful detail. What can you do? What made you an asset? What did you do that benefited the company? Tell it all. Impress your readers with your capabilities and successes. But still avoid walls of text. With proper formatting and strict editing, you’ll soon roll out a great summary. If you can also beef it up with the proper keywords (more on that in a bit), then go for it. They also make you more searchable.
You can also arrange your whole profile to how you want it to look. If you want your Summary right below your headline, you’re free to place it there. If you want to highlight your skills next, then you can place that section below your Summary.
It’s also worth noting that you can organize and place the skills you want to be seen on the Skills section. By placing both your most recommended and your most recognizable skills, you’re effectively strengthening your profile to showcase the things you’re really good at. And companies will take notice of that.
SEO is a practice that sees itself in almost every avenue. From blogs to advertising and marketing, it’s a good way to make sure your post is visible. You do this with the use of keywords. You can take the same discipline to LinkedIn to make your profile stand out. Incorporate keywords into your headline, your summary, and everywhere else you can put them. Just make sure you don’t overstuff your profile with them. LinkedIn’s algorithm works on your favor this way since the emphasis will be on your keywords, making you rank higher.
In that regard, having a clean headline secures a better position in terms of visibility ranking. Since it’s often the first part of your profile that people see, making it clean, concise, and complete is a must. Don’t be bland with your title and company. You may have only 120 characters to make an impression, but it’s more than enough to make a colorful, creative, and brief description of what you do and why you do it. Impress first-time visitors with your wit. Make them read more of your profile.
Above are a few of the semi-advanced-level tricks that could beef up your personal LinkedIn page and get you noticed by bigger companies. By completing your profile and incorporating a few well-chosen words on your “Summary,” you already increase your chances of being searched because of the website’s algorithm. It also helps that you could be promoted by other connections because of how well you are doing both online and offline.
Making your presence felt on LinkedIn will eat away your time, but you have to make an effort. Don’t be embarrassed to say that you’re promoting yourself, shamelessly or otherwise. If it lands you bigger opportunities, then who’s to say you were wrong in doing so?
Take the chance. Make it work. And when something big comes, nail it. You know you can do it.
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