Career 101: How To Create The Best LinkedIn Profile Ever (Part 1)

Career 101: How To Create The Best LinkedIn Profile Ever (Part 1)

Did you know that 89% of all recruiters have hired someone through LinkedIn? (source). And an even bigger 94% plan on using social media to recruit new talent (source). Fewer and fewer companies are spending their time looking on job boards. They’re scouring LinkedIn, searching for keywords and reading thousands of profiles in order to find the right match. The ones that get the interview are the ones that have a great profile. But how do you make your profile stand out? Is it worth taking the time to fill everything in? That’s what we’re going to explore here. 

Originally, this was going to be one piece of content. But as I was researching and writing down the points needed to make a great profile, I came up with twenty things to do. So to make it easier for you, I thought I’d split it into two parts instead. Today, we’re going to go through part one of what you can do to create the best LinkedIn profile ever.

Over the past six months, I've had around five job offers through LinkedIn. One of which was for a company in Switzerland. Now this might not seem like a lot. But this has been happening whilst I’ve not actively been looking for work. What does this tell us? That LinkedIn is a great place for job opportunities. But to be successful, you’ve got to have a great profile. It’s the first chance you’ve got to make a good first impression. Whether this is a recruiter deciding who to reach out to for a new job, or a future client looking at your skills and work before a big meeting. Understanding the importance of your LinkedIn profile is one thing. Creating a great one is something different. But today, I’ve rounded up the first half of tricks for you that you can work your way through to make your LinkedIn profile the best it can be.

Make Your Name Simple

You'd think when it comes to writing our name, we'd be able to do it no problem. But having so much room to decide what to put can, in this case, be a bad thing. The one thing you'll find with LinkedIn is that simplicity is better. So when it comes to your name, you don't need to include things like, "John Smith - Killer Social Media & Content Strategist". It  doesn't work that way. With the name section, it's more useful to stick to your first and last name. You'll have plenty of times to use keywords later.

Why Not Try This?

Just use your name - it says more than you know. 

Craft a Great Headline

Headlines aren't just important for creating content. We use them everywhere, and it's always crucial to design them for success. Creating a good LinkedIn headline is one of the most important elements of your profile. And you've only got 120 characters to do it in. It's seen in search results, connection invitations, employee listings, company pages and messages. That means that it needs to be powerful. You need to craft it to market yourself as much as possible and be found by the right people.

Your headline is the best place to use career-minded keywords that will help to sell you. Some people may think that simply putting their job title will do the trick. But do you want the same job title at your next job? Instead of simply putting "Brand Executive for X Company", you could put Brand Executive for X Company - helping businesses to create the most unique brand possible." The latter is much more detailed.

The balance of a good headline on LinkedIn is to make it professional and memorable.

Think of it as a search engine. Whatever you choose to say, making it searchable will help you to get more results. Here's a snapshot of my headline:

Notice how I use the keyword group 'digital marketing'? That's intentional, because it's the field of my career path. When recruiters are searching for potential candidates for digital marketing jobs, I want them to find me. So it's really important to get those words and phrases into your headline so people will find you.

Why Not Try This?

Try three to five different combinations of headlines. Leave them for a while and then go back to pick your favourite.

Add the Industry You Want to Work in to Your Profile

When you're filling out your profile, one of the first things you'll do is pick the industry you work in. There'll be ones like Writing & Editing, and Marketing & Advertising, like the one I'm in. It might sound obvious, but try to pick the industry that you're in now and the one you see yourself in in the future. Now unless these are two completely different things, it should be simple - right? You'll be able to see an example in the screenshot I shared above.

Why Not Try This?

Don't just pick the first industry you see. Take a good look through all the ones listed to find the one that will benefit you the most. 

Use Keywords

When recruiters use LinkedIn, they use specific keywords related to their industry. If you use these in your profile, you'll start appearing in their searches. Think of LinkedIn as a search engine. What's something search engines love? Keywords. So in your LinkedIn profile include them everywhere. It's especially important to include them in your Summary and Experience sections. To help you out a bit more, I'll just go through some keywords I use in my profile.

'Digital marketer'
'Content writer'
'Social media'
'Strategist'
'Creative'
'Blogging community'

And I've also listed my 'specialities' - a whole paragraph of keywords and skills.

The reason I've included these is simple. They're all related to what I've done, what I currently do, and what I'll be doing in the future. It ensures employers you have everything they need.

Why Not Try This?

Make a list of keywords that people in your industry might use to search for someone with your skills, experience and knowledge. Pick out common words and try to scatter these throughout your profile. Want to know what this is called? SEO. This ensures you'll be found in searches, which gives you more chance of someone getting in touch with you about a job.

Make Sure There Are No Errors

This goes without saying but I'll go ahead and say it anyway. It's like anything we do. If someone finds a spelling error or other mistake on your LinkedIn profile, they'll leave in a flash. Plus, if you spell one or two of your keywords wrong, they won't work as keywords, which could limit your chances of being found in recruiter searches.

Why Not Try This?

When you've written your profile, read it. Then read it again. Then go to sleep. The next day, read it again. Then get your other half/mum/dad/friend to read it. Then read it again. After that, you're good to go. 

Treat It Like Your CV 

Writing the experience part of your LinkedIn profile is so much easier if you think of it as your CV. So if you've got an updated copy of your CV handy, it'd be good to have it alongside you as you complete this part. Here is where you showcase your experience, talent, knowledge and skills. Include not only all the places you've worked at, but all your voluntary work too. Add the company name, how long you worked there for, in what job role and the responsibilities you had during this time. What would be better is not to simply copy everything from your CV - remember that the information on there is limited and concise because you've got a two page limit. But on LinkedIn, you've got more room. You can go into much more detail and list your specific responsibilities for each role. Or you can keep it simple and just list your company and job role.

For me? The more detailed the better. The experience part of your LinkedIn profile can include presentations you've created, videos, images and content you've created. It's only recently that we've been able to take advantage of adding visuals to LinkedIn, so we should definitely be taking advantage of it. It'll make your profile look that little bit better and it'll help people stay on your profile longer. Two big results.

Why Not Try This?

Start off by adding each company you've worked for and your job title. Then note down around three skills and try to make them different for each entry. Keep building it until you've noted down all your responsibilities.

Try and add an example for each. Whether it's an article you've written, an infographic you've created - anything. 

Fill out the Whole Thing 

I'll be honest - I never sat down and completed my LinkedIn profile in full. I did it bit by bit. But now? I really wish I'd done it all in one go. The more detailed and thorough your profile is, the more chances you have at your profile standing out. Which means the more likely you are to be recruited for a job. Those little prompts at the top when you log in? Complete them.

When you visit your LinkedIn profile on a computer, you’ll see a bar on the right hand side that rates your profile. The higher your rating means the better your profile is. And that means more job opportunities are likely to come your way.

Why Not Try This?

We all know the importance of LinkedIn. Don’t do it my way – dedicate a chunk of time to completing your profile in full.

Take Care When Choosing Your Picture

We all know the saying – a picture says a thousand words. This is especially true on a professional network like LinkedIn. It may sound silly but your LinkedIn picture needs to be of you.

Not of your cat, not of you and your family, not of scenery – just you. And no obvious selfies (as much as we all love them). Having a professional picture makes all the difference. It’s easy to just pick one from an event you were at where you’re looking straight into the camera. But an intentional, professional picture makes all the difference. Get your best photo face on, look straight into the camera and smile. How do you want to come across to potential future employers? Quirky and fun? Or dependable and trustworthy? The right picture can convey exactly who you are. Your picture is the first aspect of your profile that is noticed. If it’s a good picture, they’ll remember you.

Why Not Try This?

Not updated your professional photo in a while? Maybe it’s time to. And you don’t have to pay, you can always get your photographer friend to help you.

Include Contact Information

It’s usually the simple things that are forgotten. But including your contact details is really important, especially when you want recruiters to be getting in touch with you. Add an ‘Advice for Contacting’ section and include everything on there – email address, social media, and website address. Everything you can think of.

Why Not Try This?

When you include your email address, put it in an obscure format such as (at) and (dot) to avoid any spam.

Add All Your Skills

Towards the bottom of your profile, you’ll see a section called Skills.

Here, you can add all your skills. Everything you've done, everything you’re good at and anything else you can think of. What’s also great about this section is that you can re-order your skills. So you can put the most important ones at the top, which include all the skills you develop on a daily basis, and the ones you’ll always need in your career. That way, if you match what a recruiter is looking for, they’ll be able to tick all their boxes easily.

Why Not Try This?

Before you start adding all your skills, write them all down instead. Think of every task you have to do, no matter how often you do them and think what skills you need for each of these. You’ll have a huge list before you know it.

Are you on LinkedIn? Do you think it's worth having a detailed profile? 


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