3 Quick Fixes to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile
Published: Apr 26, 2012
By Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Resume Writer
When you first joined LinkedIn, it made sense to fill minimal facts to get your Profile up and running, allowing you to begin connecting with others.
However, if it’s been a few months and you still have a bare-bones Profile, it probably won’t generate any results for your job search.
Even if it does attract visitors, they’ll quickly leave to find someone more interesting.
The reality about LinkedIn is this: it’s an amazing job search tool that brings you new leads, impresses your network, and entices recruiters to call—but only if you use it in a way that promotes your professional image.
Look at these types of problems to see if you recognize yours – and take action to improve your LinkedIn Profile before it brings your job search to a halt:
Problem #1: The Minimal-Effort Profile.
Here it is—your name, college education, and current job. Wait – where’s the rest?
If you haven’t added specifics (such as your full work history for the last 10 years, certifications, or skills), your hit rate among competing candidates will drop substantially. This is because your Profile, just like a website, is findable based on the keywords sprinkled throughout the text.
Employers and recruiters scouring LinkedIn for talent also look for context that demonstrates your ability to perform at a particular career level. To satisfy them, you’ll need to add competencies, success stories, and metrics, with detail that resembles (but doesn’t replace) your full resume.
Even in the tight space allowed on the site, readers will then be able to identify your likely next career target and suitability for promotion – which not only improves your LinkedIn Profile, but encourages others to network with you.
Problem #2: The Default Headline.
LinkedIn has many shortcuts that allow you to quickly fill in crucial data. Most of these are helpful in presenting a polished, professional look to other site users—but the default Headline feature isn’t one of them!
When you specify the details of your current job, LinkedIn will ever-so-subtly include a checkbox that is already set to Update My Headline to (your job title). If you leave this information as is, site users will see Bob Jones, Vice President Finance at ABC Company throughout all your activity.
However, if you uncheck the box and then edit the Headline available when changing your Name field, you’ll have the chance to advertise your career level and competencies with Bob Jones | VP Finance, Controller, CFO | Growth, Capital, Funding, & Technology Strategies.
The key in altering your Headline is to use terms that will trigger your hit rate for both your job target and current position (and potentially your industry). Inject a brand message related to your success, as in these examples:
Martin Forester, IT Director. SAP, Infrastructure-Building, & User Responsiveness. Manufacturing & Medical Devices
Claire Wilson | Enterprise Account Executive Accelerating Channel Sales to $40+ Million in Managed Services Markets
Problem #3: The No-Networking-Wanted Approach.
If you’ve been paying attention to how LinkedIn works, you’ll make it easy for someone else to contact you. However, this doesn’t just happen unless you take steps to be findable and reachable.
First of all, join Groups (a lot of them!) that represent your career goals. The benefit of Group membership isn’t just the forums; it’s the fact that LinkedIn allows free contact from other users who share the Group with you.
Recruiters, who often use paid memberships to access choice candidates, appreciate this effort, and it can result in additional contact requests from employers via your Groups.
Next, ensure that you’ve left the “Select the types of messages you’re willing to receive“ option under Settings to fully open, ensuring you’ll receive both Introductions and InMail (LinkedIn’s internal email).
Look at the Contact information. Yes, it’s buried all the way down at the bottom of your Profile, but it’s important.
Did you add a phone number, email address, or both? If not, get going. You can also add this information in the Summary section as needed.
There’s no need to make others wonder if you’re open to networking with them; otherwise, why use LinkedIn at all?
The bottom-line message: making yourself a viable candidate on LinkedIn takes some time and ingenuity.
Setting out to improve your LinkedIn Profile (bringing it from nearly anonymous to welcoming) is a crucial first step in your search.
About the Author
Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is an executive resume writer and former recruiter who partners with CEO, CIO, COO, CFO, CTO, SVP, and Director candidates to win interviews at major corporations. A certified Professional Resume Writer, Online Professional Networking Strategist, Career Management Coach, Interview Coach, and Microblogging Career Strategist, she is a multiple award-winning resume writer and author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips & Resources to Access the Hidden Job Market.