I looked through thousands of profiles and here is what I learned.
A great LinkedIn profile is authentic and clear. Authentic to make you memorable. Clear to be informative.
- Use a picture that reflects who you truly are.
An authentic picture is one that makes you feel good. A graduation or senior picture is not authentic, it feels staged. Unless you walk around in a graduation gown all the time it is an inaccurate portrayal of you. Make it professional, but professional doesn’t need to be boring or awkward. For example, mine is from a cousin’s wedding. It was the first time I had been with my family in 3 years due to illness. I chose this one instead of a stale head shot because it was taken during a time I was feeling truly strong, happy and prosperous. I’m smiling because I am happy, not because I am trying to put on a fake front.
- Craft a personal statement and or title.
Tell your story in your title. This small line of text is an opportunity to summarize your past experience, current interests and future goals. An opportunity to express your personal brand. Make it concise, imagine how it looks on a search result, you have a few words to distinguish yourself from the result above and below you. Learn the ‘10 Signs You Need a Personal Brand‘ and how to craft yours here.
- Change your profile URL and your email to include your name.
For example, www.linkedin.com/in/maurakolkmeyer. It demonstrates an attention to detail and reinforces clarity. Add your profile link to your email signatures, both work and personal. In addition, make the email you list in your profile personally identifiable. Links are the digital business card, clean clear and simple are best. It feels awkward to email someone with only adjectives and numbers in their email. Unless your name is ‘princess’, or some random string of numbers, it shouldn’t be in your digital calling card. You may consider buying your own domain for a few bucks.
- Use verbs and quantifiable examples in your work history descriptions.
Use bullet points starting with a verb. Demonstrate what you accomplished vice describing the position. Assign numbers or statistics to clarify the volume or degree of the accomplishment. For example, ‘Manage 300 transactions per day’ or ‘Manage budget of $100,000’. This makes your profile simple and readable. Save your life story for in person meetings! Learn to craft you personal brand.
- Exchange recommendations and skill endorsements with people you have worked for and or with.
Peers, coaches, professors and bosses alike. If you are just starting out, consider people you worked on school projects with, ask those who know your work ethic, skills and goals.
- Join industry and alumni groups.
Your network is broader than you think. Consider the communities you are already a member. Is there an active LinkedIn community you are able to join? if not start your own! You already have a network- your family, friends, school are the foundation.
- Make your location a large metro area.
For example, if you live in a suburb of a large city, such as Arlington, Virginia or South Orange, New Jersey make your location Washington, DC Metro or New York Metro respectively. This gives you a broader reach and recognition in search results.