6 Tips For Making Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
LinkedIn might seem like a more professional version of Facebook, but it's also much more than that. A means of networking with others in your field, finding jobs, hiring, connecting with fellow school alum, and hobnobbing with higher-ups, LinkedIn can be a vital tool in helping professionals land the job they want.
I've had a LinkedIn account since my very last year of college, which means I've been on the site for more than a decade. As my professional status has changed over the years, so too has my LinkedIn profile. I've been on it as a recent college grad, an intern, a young professional in need of a job, a freelancer, a newly hired editor, and now as the owner of my own business. I've climbed up the ranks and my changing profile on LinkedIn reflects that.
Of course, not everyone is going to be using LinkedIn for the same reasons, but it's likely we all have the same goal with it: to get noticed in order to advance our careers. As my profile has changed over the years, I've learned a thing or two about standing out on the site. It's wild when I think that when I first started using LinkedIn, I was a young college graduate with absolutely no professional experience. But I've met so many influential people through it that have helped land me gigs and assignments, served as references, or given me insider tips.
Whatever your motive for using LinkedIn, there's a lot of potential to be gained. Here are six tips I've learned on how to make your LinkedIn profile truly stand out and get the results you desire.
Show Personality in Your Profile Photo
Anyone can put on a dress shirt and smile nicely for the camera. In fact, that's what many people do for their profile photos. But why look like everyone else?
Your profile photo is a chance to show off your personality and uniqueness. Get artsy and creative with it (the levels of this vary for different professions, so use your best judgment), while at the same remembering to keep the photo professional and simple. Focus on showing your face and neck, and forget about a full-body shot. You should look friendly and reliable, but also like you're not trying too hard.
Use Your Background Photo to Tell More About Your Interests
I'm a journalist and run my own website, so of course I put the logo for my business as my background image. But even if you don't own your own business, you should do something similar. Your background photo is a chance to tell others more about what you do and what you're interested in. If you're a writer, use a cool photo of a retro typewriter. Love to sing? How about a collage of vinyl records? Love to cook? Slap on an image of a dish you recently made. Whatever you choose, make sure it's easy to understand and relative to your career goals.
Make Your Tagline Pop
Keep your tagline short, fun, and funny — if you can. Taglines are an opportunity to create a motto for yourself or a one liner that encapsulates you in a nutshell. Because I'm the editor of an "out there" news website with quirky and strange stories, my tagline is: "Bringing weird news to the masses." Think of your tagline as your Twitter bio, just more serious. Tell people quickly and entertainingly what it is you do or like to do. Focus on using interesting verbs and action words.
Your "About" Section Matters
Some people are too lazy to scroll through a whole profile, so the "About" section is your chance to grab their attention. Give people a short summary of who you are, what you do, and where you've worked. It's also a good idea to include your contact information here as well. And yes, some of this information will be repetitive and repeated further down in your profile, but again, not everyone is going to take the time to scroll down and read that. Give people the key information straight from the start.
Share Posts and Updates
Don't forget that LinkedIn is sort of like Facebook in that you can share posts and links to things you find interesting on the internet. Use this as a chance to show off both your interests and achievements. When I publish articles, I share them on LinkedIn so that more people will read them. But I also make sure to share links to articles that I didn't write, which shows others that I have varied interests.
Your LinkedIn profile might be a digital shrine to yourself, but you can also use it to help others — and in turn attract more attention to yourself. Find students you went to school with or past coworkers and endorse them for skills you know they're good at. This not only will help them look better to potential employers, but it could also lead to traffic back to your profile. You never know: someone could be looking at an endorsement you made and then click on your name to check you out, even if they were originally looking at another person's profile. It's also just good karma to do this. Do unto others, they say, and this is the perfect opportunity to do just that.