4 Surefire Ways to Look More Professional on LinkedIn
Setting up a LinkedIn account is a must these days, but it's not enough just to have one. Your LinkedIn page needs regular primping in order to keep it clean, concise and current. Hiring managers can spot an amateur LinkedIn profile from a mile away, which means there's just no room for poorly written bios or messy job descriptions on your page.
Take control of your profile today, then Implement these four quick editing tips into your regular schedule to consistently look more put together and professional on LinkedIn.
Look the part
Invest in a photographer to take some high-quality portraits. You may be apprehensive to fork over a couple hundred bucks for photos, but keep in mind that you'll be able to use these portraits over the course of at least two or three years and on several different media platforms.
If you truly can't invest in a professional photographer, opt for a professional selfie (yes, it's possible). Stand in an area with a clean background and natural light, wear a simple top, and get a phone-savvy friend to snap a pic.
First impressions are not the end all, be all of your relationship with a company, but there's still something to be said for them. By using a professional headshot on your LinkedIn page, you're communicating to potential employers that you understand social media etiquette, that you know how to separate your career from your personal life, and that you're aware of how your behavior affects your credibility. These three skills are an undeniable asset in any new hire.
Don't fluff up your experience or skills by saying things that aren't true. By doing this, you risk taking a job you aren't qualified for. Eventually your lies will catch up with you, so honesty is really the best policy if you want to set yourself up for success.
Limit your LinkedIn skills to those you actually have. If you're a beginner in Adobe Photoshop, for example, it wouldn't be very smart to add "Adobe Creative Suite" to your LinkedIn skills, since the Creative Suite contains several platforms, including Photoshop. My rule of thumb is that I only add things to my skills list if I feel knowledgeable enough about them to teach them to someone else.
And when it comes to experience, a similar principle applies. It's not hard for a hiring manager to confirm whether or not you actually worked at a certain company or held a certain job title. Everything they need to know about you is only a call or click away. Faking it may be tempting, but it's risky at best.
Keep it simple
It's not necessary to list every single job you've had. If you worked somewhere for less than three months, I personally wouldn't include it on my LinkedIn profile. The same goes for jobs that are obvious outliers compared to the other jobs you've had – like that one time you worked the seasonal period at GAP for some extra income while pursuing a medical career.
When you decide which jobs you want to highlight on your LinkedIn page, you then need to summarize what the job duties were for each. Think of your resume and LinkedIn page as a highlight reel; Keep job descriptions short, sweet and to the point. I try to summarize each job in three bullets, dedicating one sentence to each of the core duties of the job.
Related: The Anatomy of the Perfect Resume
Keeping job descriptions simple will prevent reader fatigue and ensure hiring managers get the info they need as soon as possible. If they want to know more details, they'll schedule an interview to ask.
Brag a little
Humble brag, that is. Of course, honesty and clarity should be your top priorities when editing your LinkedIn profile. Once you check off those boxes, you can start to add a little flair.
Start by inserting relevant keywords throughout your profile. Hiring managers will typically scour LinkedIn for new hires by searching for job-specific words and phrases. Someone looking to hire a journalist, for example, could search for "AP Style," while someone from an accounting firm may search for "Microsoft Excel."
The best place to do this is in your skills section. Review generic skills with and replace them with more specific ones. If you were interested in that journalism job, for example, you could replace "Editing" or "Writing" with "AP Style." To lure a hiring manager from an accounting firm, you could replace "Spreadsheet design" or "Data entry" with "Microsoft Excel."
What questions do you have about editing your LinkedIn profile?
Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet me about this post!