What if I told you that you could gain a unique competitive advantage in landing the career of your dreams? Would you do everything that you were empowered and informed to do to make it a reality? LinkedIn is the premiere platform for business-oriented social networking. With over 433 billion users worldwide at 2 new LinkedIn users per second, the platform is growing into perhaps one of the most advantageous social media networks to have, by the minute.
LinkedIn has a growing list of diverse products that compliment identity, networks, and knowledge-bases with a unique approach that streamlines the process of identifying jobs, scholarships, and other opportunities that keep you connected to what you consider valuable in your professional development. The refined set of insights that LinkedIn is able to pull in make it this much easier for you to establish a personal brand, build a network that compliments your industry and improve your knowledge with information tailored specifically to you and your list of connections.
In order for one to make the best of this platform, there are a few things to keep in mind to really make sure that you make the best out of your experience with LinkedIn. Here are a few tips to create a fully optimized profile to help you discover new people and opportunities and conversely, help new people and opportunities find you.
Pick a Profile Pic That Gets You Picked
Your profile photo is perhaps one of the most pertinent elements of a stand-out LinkedIn profile. The presence of a strong, professional profile image increases the likelihood of your profile being viewed by about 14 times and presents the best opportunity for you to reflect who you are and what you do.
A strong professional profile image contains a industry-appropriate appearance, provides an accurate representation of what you look like, and exudes an inviting and expression that welcomes your connections to your profile. Be mindful of how the lighting in the image can compliment the overall outcome of your headshot.
PRO Tip: Keep In mind that LinkedIn displays profile images at 200 x 200 pixels which means images that are smaller than this may be stretched out, giving it a blurry appearance and images above this requirement will have to be re-sized.
Hit 'em With A Hot Headline
While the perfect profile image is a major area of attention to a LinkedIn profile, the headline is perhaps one of the next top areas of attention to place in your profile. The headline is an opportunity to for you to win over others with a fluid and eye catching headline that serves as the introductory statement of your background and involvement in your industry.
To create a distinctive headline, have a good idea of what your professional title is but find something that makes you stand out among others in your field who may hold the very same title. Use your headline as a means to establish your subject matter expertise, area of engagement, or area of interest, i.e. Marketing Manager at XYZ Company might not be as eye catching as: UX Designer and Brand Consultant with XYZ Company.
PRO Tip: If you do freelance work or your role is constantly changing, especially for students, update your headline as much as possible. Make sure you include your Incoming status with your upcoming internship or volunteer opportunities.
Use Your Summary and Do Some Story-Telling
If you did your profile headline well, you should have connections engaged with your profile and ready to learn more about who you are. Developing a powerful and engaging summary on LinkedIn is great way to get people on your profile and keep them there. With this space (up to 2000 characters), you are able to expand on yourself, your interests and what makes your background unique and meaningful to the opportunities you're looking to pursue.
One of the best approaches to describing your work history in this particular area, would be using the C-A-R method. The C-A-R method, also known as the conflict-action-resolution method is a way to describe your work history and experience that shows how you engage with work. Write about how you have been able to identify conflicts. Once you have been able to identify a conflict, discuss what actions you took as a means to intervene. After taking the appropriate action be able to discuss the results of your intervention and offer the resolution of this area within your summary.
PRO Tip: Take advantage of key words in your summary. Keep tabs on the type of searches your connections may be doing. Understand what type of language is used in the opportunities that you are seeking out to garner the right kind of attention to your profile.
Accumulate and Accent Your Accomplishments
LinkedIn is the place to share your accomplishments. Maybe one of the most gratifying things about this social networking platform is the fact that you take advantage of accepting credit for your hard work. Including your accomplishments, volunteer work, work history, awards/rewards and courses are great ways to really quantify what you've been able to do how involved you are in your industry.
What accomplishments should not go on LinkedIn? That truly depends on your goals and purpose in pursuing LinkedIn. As a student and someone with little to no experience, I would encourage every accomplishment that you publish be relevant to your desired interest whether that be a job, scholarship or internship. While I don't see any severe harm in the inclusion of accomplishments that are not directly complimentary to your mission, I would set the right expectation that it can come off as disorganized, leading to your page potentially being left as a result of confusion.
PRO Tip: Take advantage of the Image and Media sample features on LinkedIn. These are great ways to draw attention to your accomplishments and to add the visuals that will make these sections of your profile pop out for the opportunities you are looking to pursue.