How do you write a killer LinkedIn profile? As a professional career coach (and someone who has looked at a LOT of LinkedIn profiles), I can safely say most job seekers have no clue. Unless you have a guide or a career coach helping you (eh em, like myself), you will probably do what 98% of other LinkedIn members do. And that is to have a vague and incomplete profile.
So how do you write a killer LinkedIn profile? I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. It takes time. And lots of effort. Like any job search document, if you do it the right way, you will put your blood, sweat, and tears into it. If it only takes you ten minutes, you are going to have a crappy profile. And what’s the point of having a crappy profile?
The trouble with just checking it off your to do list is that it doesn’t help you as a candidate to have a poorly written or incomplete LinkedIn profile. Some employers look at candidates’ LinkedIn profiles before even reading their resumes. Therefore, it benefits you to try to get your profile the best it can be before you apply for jobs!
Read on to learn some basic tips to take your LinkedIn profile from meh to magnificent:
Clarify your goals
If you’re changing careers, but you are not sure where you want go next, writing your LinkedIn profile will be challenging. Take time to reflect on who you are and where you want to go next in your career. If your LinkedIn profile showcases your teaching skills but you are targeting accounting jobs, a recruiter will get confused pretty quickly.
I work with a lot of clients who are targeting jobs in different fields. How do you write your LinkedIn profile to reflect different fields and / or roles? One thing you can do is to use a variety of keywords in your headline. The remainder of your profile should speak to skills and achievements that reflect all of the roles you are targeting.
Don’t repeat your resume
Repeating the resume is probably the biggest mistake I see candidates make on their LinkedIn profiles. The purpose of the resume is to market your biggest strengths and achievements and show an employer how you can add value to the role and organization you are targeting. The purpose of the LinkedIn profile is very similar to that of the resume. The difference is how you market your strengths and achievements.
The resume is not written in the first person, whereas your LinkedIn profile can and should be written in the first person. You resume is a professional summary. Your LinkedIn profile is more of a story.
If you write a bullet point about solving a particular problem on your resume, you should elaborate on it in your LinkedIn profile. For example, give more background information about the situation. Provide more details about how you helped solve the problem and how your contributions have made an impact at your previous or current job.
Think about it from a hiring manager’s perspective. If they are not going to get any new or different information from your LinkedIn profile after reading your resume, what is the point of even having one?
Don’t aim for perfection
Although you want to get your LinkedIn profile as close to 100% complete as possible, you also don’t want to spend too much time either. Like the resume, your LinkedIn profile is always going to be a work in progress. Break the process down into manageable steps. The first step is to create your profile (if you haven’t already). The second step is to complete your headline and your about sections. After that you can start to tackle your experience and so on.
As you are filling out your profile, you should be simultaneously growing your network. You can start this process by inviting your email contacts, friends, and family. Next, you can reach out to current or former colleagues. Joining professional and alumni groups is also a great way to quickly grow your network.
Another important thing to do early and often is to ask for recommendations. Even if you’re not currently job searching, you might be one day and having a few strong LinkedIn recommendations will immediately increase your profile’s credibility.
A recent study showed that 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates. Yet only 50% of candidates on LinkedIn have a 100% complete profile! Having a strong LinkedIn profile can only help your chances of landing an interview. The more complete your profile is, the more you will show up in recruiters’ searches. So stop procrastinating, grab your favorite beverage, set aside some quiet time, and get to work!