7 Easy Tips For Improving Your LinkedIn Profile

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We are so often told about the importance of first impressions, berated at a young age with adages of books covers, firm handshakes, and a lack of second chances, but in the age of social media and sharing the standing of ‘the first impression’ has taken on new meaning. We now spend more than six hours a day online and nearly 2 hours of that is spent on social networking sites, it is no surprise that recruiters are doing that same. Using social media to deepen their candidate pool as well as display corporate culture, sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are also utilized as resources to get to know you as an contractor prior to Interviews and the hiring process.

While keeping most profiles private will save you from corporate prejudgment (yes, we know you are all social media angels and this isn’t even an issue), letting your LinkedIn profile fall by the wayside is a mistake. Having a killer profile guarantees the first impression you want, no matter the circumstance, in addition to promoting your personal brand.

Here, we’ve compiled all the contracting LinkedIn tips needed to make your profile an asset in your job search - allowing you to impress recruiters and your peers with your accomplishments and obviously stellar self-promotion skills.

1. If You Don’t Have A Professional Profile Picture, Get One

This is crucial, I so often come across an awfully cropped group photos too pixilated to make out more than the users general features. This shouldn’t be something you would use on another social media site and most definitely not something you would have on a Tinder profile. Take the time to have a professional picture taken; this doesn’t have to cost much, perhaps enlist a friend with a nice camera. The picture should be current, high quality (ideally, a 1400x425 resolution PNG, JPG, or GIF), and taken in front of a neutral or unfocused background.

Moreover, have fun with it. This picture, like the whole of your profile, should be a direct reflection of your brand. Don’t be afraid of the action photo – no, not you running – but you in action on the job. Regardless, this should be an accurate representation of you!

2. Always Use The First-Person

I cannot express the importance of this tip, so many profiles read like a resume and rather boring one at that. “John Doe is a crucial asset to XYZ industries…” does nothing to help John, in fact, it may appear as though our friend John just saddled his assistant or a marketing associate with the task of writing his profile summary, thinking the task too unimportant as to burden his schedule.

This in contrast with another candidate, Jane, who starts her profile with “I am highly motivated go-getter ready to take on the next challenge …”, Jane clearly has put time into clarifying her personal brand and constructing a summary to reflect it. I don’t know about you, but if I have the choice of working, or networking for that matter, with either of these individuals I would initially gravitate towards Jane.

It’s said your summary is the preliminary handshake prior to meeting or interviewing with a peer. Your profile speaks for you, give it your voice; always write in the first person.

3. Take A Look At Who Has Viewed Your Profile

The “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” tool is the unseen hero of the job seeker. It opens up a whole world of who is looking at your all-star profile and to what exactly they are drawn. The Tool provides valuable insight on your profile’s performance in the last 90 days by depicting the number of views and the actions, i.e. adding a new connection to your network, taken that may have contributed to these views. Moreover, you have the ability to break down these inquiry statistics through tabs detailing viewer’s current titles, industries, the company they work for, and the city in which they live.

All these specifics can be used to build connections or even an introduction, something invaluable whether you are bolstering your network or attempting to land your dream job. Connections are the name of the game when in the midst of your job search and being informed as to how prospects are interacting with your profile gives you the means and confidence to take your discussions offline.

4. Customize According To What’s Most Important To You

Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn gives you full reign over how your profile looks. You are able to place whatever section you wish in whichever order is most beneficial to your profile, thus allowing you to pick and choose which sections are most important while abstaining from others. This, again, is a great place to display who you are and what you are about. For example, say you are a computer programmer who spends your free time volunteering for nonprofit that provides underprivileged children with coding classes, don’t be afraid to put a description of your volunteerism right after profile summary! If it is a better representation of your values and your managerial skills than a list of your previous positions, don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage.

5. Personalize Your Profile URL

Anybody can create a LinkedIn profile, but this is something that can truly make it ‘yours’. Like the previously mentioned John Doe, I have a pretty common name so by customizing my profile URL I provide a direct link to connect and a means of separating myself from all other individuals with my same name. You can do this by going to your profile and hovering over your current URL which lies underneath your profile picture on the left hand side. A gear icon will appear, click it and it will take to a page entitled ‘Public Profile’. In the top right-hand corner of this page there is ‘Your Public Profile URL” and a www.LinkedIn.com web address with a blue pencil next to it, select the pencil and alter the provided URL to something more personal before saving.

If you can, use your name as personalization, such as (http://LinkedIn.com/in/yourname). If not, use something in the vein of your name and a few numbers. More than anything keep it simple so you can put your profile URL on business cards, email signature, etc. Your career advancement is well worth this small change!

6. Write

Tip four, Customize According To What’s Most Important To You, means nothing without an explanation as to why. Writing about each aspect you choose to include in your profile cannot be over stressed. I am not saying write a novel, but a few bullet point under a previous position or about a charity you feel passionate about is the least you could do. Friends, colleagues, and recruiters alike view your profile to see the full extent of the work you do and your qualifications, give them something to read while there. A minimum a few sentences for each section or position is all I am asking; if you write more than that it can only help you.

7. Personalize Your Contact Info

Yes, LinkedIn messaging is all well and good but give those interested parties the means to contact you in the manner they choose. I recommend including both your primary personal and work email addresses, as well as any websites you see fit – I have links to the TAJ Technologies’ homepage and the TAJ blog. Any contact info you choose to include should be work appropriate, leave the soccerplayerxo101 account for your junk mail.

Another thing to mention is the inclusion of a Twitter handle. For many of us our Twitter accounts are personal, used in interaction with friends and the brands we love. Therefore, unless you feel your twitter account is an accurate representation of your professional persona, or, better yet, is a professional account (I manage TAJ’s Twitter account, hence the TAJ handle is including under my LinkedIn contact information) forget the Twitter handle all together. The last thing you want is to leave a poor impression after putting the time into improving your contractor LinkedIn profile.

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