You may have set up a LinkedIn account, filled out a few basic fields and given up on completing it.
That’s a bad idea. When it comes to your online presence, having an incomplete LinkedIn profile suggests that you don’t care about sharing your professional details (or even worse – that you don’t have anything worth sharing).
A major hurdle for many new LinkedIn users is completing the “Summary” field, because it asks you to get creative instead of just plugging in familiar details.
Here are 5 tips to help you get started.
1. Nail the LinkedIn basics
You should never leave the Summary section blank. Use your LinkedIn summary to:
- Introduce yourself and summarize your work history and notable accomplishments
- Highlight your core specialties and your areas of interest
- Specify the industry, field or type of role you are looking for to help recruiters find the right match for you
- Write in first-person, as it helps you look more personable and confident
2. Use up the whole word limit
Try your best to use the character limit that LinkedIn allows.
Making good use of all 2,000 characters will ensure that you are getting the full benefits of essential keyword optimization.
Fill your summary with keywords that the next recruiter or hiring manager will be searching for to make sure they notice you. For example: Sales/business development/account management/strategic partnerships are all good keywords for someone pursuing career in sales.
3. Grab a reader’s attention
Don’t write up something that is generic and boring. Focus on telling a good story that highlights your skills and experience, while also communicating your personal character – it’s a lot like writing a cover letter.
Upon graduating with a degree in Veterinary Medicine, I was ready to start putting my passion for animals to work. I was hired on as a Veterinary Nurse with a local practice and have flourished in my role ever since.
4. Break it up
Any number of your LinkedIn visitors may have no idea who you are. That’s why it’s important to have a profile layout that encourages people to read and engage with you.
Make your summary more visually appealing and easier to read by:
- Using headers and sub-headers
- Carefully organizing your line-breaks and blocks of text so they are reader-friendly
- Maximizing the value of every word – cut what you don’t need
Get creative, and don’t be afraid to look at other LinkedIn members’ profiles to see how you can do things differently.
5. Identify what you’re looking for
In addition to explaining who you are and what you do, you should make sure that your LinkedIn summary helps a reader figure out whether or not they should connect with you.
This is particularly important if you’re new to LinkedIn, or are trying to provide clear criteria for accepting some connections and declining others.
This can be as simple as adding a line like:
As a recent marketing graduate and aspiring content marketer, I’m happy to connect with professionals in the industry or other students and recent grads who want to explore projects in the marketing and communications field.
As you develop a clearer career objective or more experience, you can update this statement to clearly signal the opportunities that lie within your field of interest.
According to Jobvite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey results, 94% use LinkedIn to recruit for talent and 92% have successfully hired through LinkedIn. So make sure you do everything you can to get noticed on LinkedIn!