LinkedIn – The World’s largest Professional Network
Nowadays, everyone who will work with you and wants to learn more about you is going to look you up on LinkedIn at some point. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and has more than 250 million members. It is a great resource for job hunters, recruiters, employers and business owners.
Therefore, it is important to get your mindset correct about LinkedIn – a well-organized and carefully written profile can open countless opportunities, not only locally, but across the entire world. It is our goal in this article to learn how to create an effective LinkedIn profile page and to point out some techniques that will allow you to stand out and be distinguished among the plurality of profiles.
Let’s focus on some of the main aspects of your profile:
First off, it’s really important to choose a professional photo. No selfies allowed. This is a social network and that is why it is important to show yourself to your contacts. Try to select a colorful photo, in which you are smiling and wearing professional clothes. Business casual attire would be fine. Take a photograph of your head, your face, but don’t choose a picture of your whole body, as it makes difficult to see your face and smile. You want to be smiling in your LinkedIn profile picture, as this will allow you to relate to your profile visitors. A smile shows that you are a positive and pleasant person; the type of colleague that everyone wants to work with.
One of the first things that someone who comes across your profile will see is your headline. Make sure that it is professionally written and that it tells people very quickly what is it that you do and maybe also what it is that you would like to do in the future (this is something most college and university graduates do). The use of keywords in your headline is highly recommended as this would optimize your profile for “search”. Look at the top line of your LinkedIn page as a quick, concise statement of what you do. Something like a teaser that would attract the reader’s interest and will hopefully stimulate him/her to go through your entire profile.
The profile completeness meter that you would see on the right side of your profile page measures the degree of completeness of your profile. By following the steps that are suggested on the top of the page, you can make sure that your profile is fully complete. You will have to add your education, work experience, language skills, volunteer experience, interests, certificates and other types of relevant information in order to complete the profile. LinkedIn points out that users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities. Not one, not two… but forty times! Therefore, it is crucial to have a complete profile. Once you do, you will show up with a preferred status in the LinkedIn search results section. This is very important because job recruiters use LinkedIn as one of their main tools in order to find candidates. By completing your profile, you will pop-up higher when they search for a profile that is similar to yours.
Let’s say that you want to find an opportunity in the field of Investment Banking. Mergers and Acquisitions in particular. Perhaps you are open for opportunities at boutique Investment Banks, Private Equity firms, Venture Capital firms and possibly Internal M&A departments of large industrial companies. Many of these organizations need a profile just like yours. What is the best way to ensure that your profile appears in front of them when they click the “Search” button? Again, you need to optimize your profile for LinkedIn search. It has to be keyword rich. Certain keywords are more likely to draw the attention of recruiters, especially if they are relevant and contained in the job description of the position that they need to fill. For the specific example that we considered head hunters may be combining “M&A” with “Financial Modeling” or “Financial Modeling and Valuation”, or may be “Multiples Valuation”. There are countless variations of these keywords. Having a profile that is keyword rich means including these keywords in your headline, summary, work experience, skills and interest section.
There is one great way to massively boost the credibility of your profile – and that is by getting recommended. This is precisely the type of social proof that your profile’s visitors are looking for. If one of your current or previous colleagues is ready to vouch for you, this is excellent for your profile. In order to get recommendations on LinkedIn, you need to ask for them. There is no other way around it. It is highly unlikely that people will write recommendations on their own initiative. You have to be proactive and ask nicely whether the person can write about 3 or 4 concise sentences that describe your professional skills and attitude. Having several recommendations will make you look like a premium person in your industry; someone who relates well with his colleagues. This is something that job recruiters are always looking for.
Convey your success not your responsibilities
Try to sound excited and proud when you write your LinkedIn resume. Excited about what is ahead of you and proud about the accomplishments you achieved in the past. Don’t talk about your duties and responsibilities in any past work experiences, but instead “sell” what you did as accomplishments that you managed to achieve. Besides everything else, your LinkedIn profile is a marketing brochure of yourself. A good salesman will always focus on a product’s positives and will be excited when talking about them.
Gain credit by association
LinkedIn offers you several ways to gain credit by association. Take advantage of that. You can list your interests, join a particular group of interests and fill in information about your volunteer experience. Look at these fields as a door of opportunity. Not only will they complete your profile and improve its search ranking, but they might also draw a reader’s attention. One out of four Hiring Managers said that they hired somebody who had similar volunteer experience. Don’t be shy to list all of your experiences, even if they did not include payment. The same goes with interests. If you have similar interests with someone, it is much more likely that he will be interested in learning more about you. Take full advantage of this feature, given that you will need just 10 or 15 minutes in order to complete this information.