How to create the perfect LinkedIn Profile in 10 steps
It’s almost a must to have a LinkedIn account in today’s business world. Even though you just apply for an internship, they’ll look you up online. Especially when you are applying abroad it is very important as recruiters from all over the world can get an impression of you. But how do you leave a perfect first impression with your profile? In this article we give you an instruction in 10 steps.
Before we start let’s take a look at the facts: LinkedIn was created in the USA in 2003 and nowadays it has more than 500 million users from all over the globe. LinkedIn is the worldwide most used social media platform regarding career planning. Your profile functions as an expanded business card in the world wide web for your self-promotion.
But how should the perfect profile look like? What are recruiters looking for? Here a few advices on how to make your profile more attractive and present you in a better way:
1. Your profile picture
Your photo should be professional, of course. A selfie or a picture of your last beach vacation with a cocktail glass in hand is not appropriate for a business platform. Your head and your shoulders should be visible. Your profile picture should be in line with the industry: it’s not necessary for example for a web designer to be in suit and tie, while for an investment banker it’s indispensable. The best option is if you have a picture which shows you “in action”. This means: an IT specialist maybe in front of is Computer or a MBA student on stage giving a speech to his/her fellow students, etc.
The most important thing is that you appear friendly and inviting, but still professional.
2. Customise your URL
To be able to show your LinkedIn profile also in a nice way in your CV and to be easier to find for recruiters, you should customise your LinkedIn URL. It is a very easy process directly on your profile. That way you get rid of the annoying numbers behind your name, which the websites assigns you automatically. Also, it gives you the chance to create your personalized URL with your name and surname, which is easy to memorise.
3. Your headline
Your headline is the first thing that gets seen, when someone is looking you up on LinkedIn, because of that it is of enormous importance. Usually people just keep the automatically created headline, which includes your current position (e.g. Student at XXX University or Intern at XXX). A headline like that doesn’t draw any attention and you’ll get less views from recruiters. Take the time and think about your perfect headline. Include for example your degree, your skills and your career goals. The most important part is that you already enter key words in your headline, to make it easier for others to find you.
4. Your summary
Your LinkedIn summary is probably the most important part of your profile and nevertheless many users just leave it empty. But exactly in this section is your chance to stand out from the crowd and tell the things you want your future employer to know about you. Your summary should reflect your CV but should not be a pure repetition of it.
Ideally your summary should consist of 3 to 5 short paragraphs with a bullet point section in the middle. The text should inform the reader about your key skills, your unique qualifications, your work passion and your previous experiences. Try to tell a story and be authentic by doing so. Use numbers to refer to your accomplishments (“During my time as a working student at XXX I increased sales by 30 % in comparison to previous years”).
But only about 300 words of your summary are displayed immediately, to see the rest one must click “read more”. To achieve that recruiters want to read your whole summary you should arouse interest at the very beginning of your text. Try to put already in the first sentence the most important information about your experiences and your talents.
And – of course – you should also in this section be aware of using key words connected to your career goals or your industry.
5. Name your skills
Don’t be thrifty! LinkedIn offers you the possibility to add 50 skills to your profile and this is what you should take advantage of. Try not to repeat yourself, for example by adding synonyms of the same skill. Put the most important skills for your current job hunt on top, so recruiters don’t have to scroll through and can find them immediately.
6. Improve your experiences
Your experiences should not just be a list of your previous jobs and your tasks there. Use bullet points to describe your jobs. Try not to just list your tasks like get in touch with clients, post on social media etc., but use this section to highlight your achievements. Turn your tasks into achievements! Reflect on how your work had a value for the company.
LinkedIn also gives you the possibility to add (multimedia) files. There is an article or a presentation you did on your previous job you are very proud of? Then add it to your profile and show your future employer, what you made! That is the huge benefit of an online CV – take advantage of it!
But be careful: Your profile should not differ from your sent CV!
7. Change your privacy settings
Now that you improved your profile, it’s time to ensure that others can find you on LinkedIn. Check your privacy settings and change them if needed, so that recruiters and acquaintances are able to find and add you.
8. Get connections
Try to get as many connections as possible. If you have just a few, it seems like you don’t know anyone. 50 connections prove that your profile is real and you already gained working experience.
Look for connections and add former classmates, fellow students and co-workers. If you have been attending interesting trainings, talks or similar, take the time to connect with the people you met there. You never know how valuable this contact could be in the future.
Although the number of connections plays a certain importance, nevertheless you shouldn’t add strangers for no reason, because if too many people reject your connection-attempts your profile might get blocked.
9. Ask for recommendations and endorsements
As you already added numerous acquaintances it’s time to ask to write you a recommendation or an endorsement on your profile. This is mostly a mutual act, that way all involved parties get a profit out of it and make a better impression on recruiters.
Endorsements and recommendations are a great tool on LinkedIn in order to prove that you’re telling the truth about your skills and your work effort. It shows that other people tell the same about you like you told the recruiter in your application.
10. Be an active member
Don’t be that kind of person who just creates a LinkedIn profile and then never uses it again. To use LinkedIn correctly and get seen, you must be an active user! Try to post something once a week, whether it’s an interesting article you found or a blog you wrote yourself. Like, comment and share the content of others.
Also, very recommended is being a member of different LinkedIn groups. This way you always stay up to date in your industry and you have the possibility to get connected with new people. On the other hand, your memberships show recruiters where your interests are. It’s also important to follow persons, who inspire you, and companies, who catch your interest, because this is also a good tool for others to get an impression of your characteristics.
If you are multilingual your profile should reflect that. Especially when you are looking for internships abroad! A profile, which is completely in your non-English mother tongue has no use for a foreign recruiter. So take the time to add your profile also in another language.
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