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WHY YOU NEED TO OPTIMIZE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE

By Hardlife Muhamba

LinkedIn is powerful social media platform you can use to sell your brand whether you are an entrepreneur, job seeker or recruiter. Like any brand, individuals want to connect with brands that stand out which is why you need to have a properly optimized LinkedIn profile. Many people make a mistake of copying their resumes and pasting as a LinkedIn profile because unlike your resume individuals need to connect with you personally and want to hear your story.

All Star Profile

First things first, make sure your LinkedIn Profile reflect that it is All Star and if not please complete all the required outstanding details. According to LinkedIn, “users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.” Depending on what you are really looking for it could be any opportunity from getting a job, clients to new connections. An All Star profile means that you have completed sections for profile picture, headline, Summary Statement, Populated Experience Section, Contact Information, Education, Skills and Experience. It is also important to add Relevant Volunteer, Publications, Courses, Certificates, Organizations and Recommendations

Profile Picture and Background Image

Uploading a high quality professional head-shot picture of 400×400 pixel on your LinkedIn profile can make you 14 times more likely to be found. Remember that LinkedIn is about connecting with different types of people and ideally they want to interact and connect with a person more than a random picture. If your profile photo fails expectations, your connection requests are more likely to be ignored (or rejected!)! While it is possible to restrict who can see your profile picture on LinkedIn, it is not recommended.  Be careful of uploading a quality profile picture with an unprofessional background.

Add a background picture properly sized 1,584 by 396 pixels background that depicts your work or personality. “Your background image is a perfect place to highlight social proof or achievements,” says Shashank Shalabh, CEO of Omnidigit. “LinkedIn is all about branding. With the right messaging, both visual and text, you can create a better impression.” While you can chose any picture that brings out your personality, you may want the help of a graphic designer to customize the background for you.

LinkedIn URL

Customizing your LinkedIn URL can lead to anyone find you more easily and highlights that you are detail oriented individual. Also it’s a bonus that it perfectly sits well in your CV, cover letter or email signature. To customize your profile you need to follow these simple steps: click on Profile>>>>View Profile>>>>Edit Profile>>>>Customize URL>>> >Save. You may however find that your customized URL is taken because of obvious reasons, there are a lot of people who may have the same first name and last name as yours. To rectify this try adding your middle name, start with your last name then first or adding an initial, just like what you do when creating an email for the first time.

Headline

Your headline should be tailored to your audience and what you want to sell. You can have at most three jobs that you can occupy and separated by | e.g. Author | Writer | Program Manager. You may want to include your website link/URL (shortened version). You headline allows you to use up to 120 characters hence you need to be original and creative but clear and informative. Remember keywords are vital because that’s what makes it easier to find you.

Jobseekers

For job seekers, LinkedIn has added a new “Open-To Work” feature, which will enable users to display that they’re available for offers and opportunities. Previously hashtags like #ONO were used and still used but LinkedIn has come up with an inbuilt feature to assist jobseekers. If it was a response to continued rise in unemployment, Covid19 pandemic or not, that is a wonderful feature. To add an ‘Open to Work’ frame:

  • Go to your profile and under your picture click: “Show recruiters you’re open to work”
  • Fill in your job preferences such as location and job type
  • Click the “choose who sees that you’re open” to select if you want to keep this to recruiters, or if you want to add a badge to your profile that everyone can see

Summary/About Section

The summary part of your LinkedIn is not a section to copy and paste professional summary of your resume. This is a section that you should tell your story to whoever reading it and connecting. Answering questions like what is passion, what are my goals, what are my achievements, skills and competences will help you in coming up with a well-structured summary. I prefer using the first person form unlike the third because we want to connect with you as a person so make it conversational. An ideal summary should include the following, Skills and Competences, Experience, Achievements, Call to Action Statement, Contact details including social media links, website link, email and phone number. Remember to include keywords in your summary.

Experience

When listing your experience be sure to follow common resume writing practices however you can choose to omit some experience that is non-related. While there is a temptation to copy and paste from your resume it is not ideal because your resume is tailored to a specific job, while your LinkedIn expands upon your resume for a general job search. Your LinkedIn experience descriptions should start with a written summary of your achievements specific to each role and preferably use a paragraph form since unlike bullet points since you are not really required to be very detailed.

Volunteer

Volunteering helps you to gain experience or shows how you are willing to give back your skills and experience. Adding related or non-related volunteer experience is important to show your skills or personality.

Skills

You can get endorsed for a certain type of skills but recently LinkedIn has developed a feature where you can take a quiz and gets endorsed for a skills individual, cool right? A typical assessment consists of 15 multiple choice questions and each question tests at least one concept or sub-skill. The questions are timed and must be completed in one session. The idea is that you prove your ability by taking a quick quiz.

Recommendations

While LinkedIn no longer requires three recommendations to have a complete status, it is still considered a best practice. You can have recommendations from managers, colleagues and clients if any. Recommendations are normally asked if not given so you can request them from school mates, previous and current work colleagues etc. You however need to recommend others as well because the more you recommend others, the more they’ll want to help you back. It’s classic tit-for-tat behavior in marketing.

Interests

Like I said earlier, LinkedIn is a platform to connect with you professionally and personally and by adding interests it can easily spark a stronger connection with someone who has the same interests. It is also important to follow pages or join groups with similar interests.

Hardlife Muhamba is Career Development Practitioner, Published Author, CV Revamp and LinkedIn Profile Optimization Specialist. For more information, please contact me through email on muhambah@careeraid.org or https://www.linkedin.com/in/hardlifemuhamba/ on LinkedIn.

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Also read> How to create best CV structure

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