I’ve helped some friends and former colleagues improve on their LinkedIn profiles over the years. My advice isn’t for everybody, and in fact, if it is for anybody, it’s for folks that have at least 10+ years of experience.
Some background about me — I have about 20 years experience and about 7-8 years ago, I was laid off from a company that had a nice severance package. One of the courses they offered was something like “Introduction to LinkedIn” or something like that. Now, being an arrogant 30-something year old, I thought “Yeah, I know LinkedIn, I use it to connect to people…” but I figured I had the time now that I was unemployed and I’d sit in the class. This post is my interpretation of the course.
To be frank — I was dead wrong. I thought I knew LinkedIn. I did not. I really used it previously as an extension of my resume. My LinkedIn had some bullet points and really just looked like my resume, but online.
My suggestions, in no particular order:
(screen shots and information is as of May 2021, these will likely change as LinkedIn continues to make changes to the platform)
- We’re going to be making a lot of changes on our profile, let’s not draw attention to it right now and turn off ‘Profile Visibility’. To do this, click on where your profile photo is (or should be, more on that later) –> Settings & Privacy –> Visibility –> Under ‘Visibility of your LinkedIn activity’ –> Turn OFF “Share Profile Updates with your Network”
2. Create an effective headline/tag line. Don’t just use the title your company gave you as that might be rather specific to a product, but rather something more focused like “Experienced Healthcare Data Engineer” or maybe something like “WordPress and SEO Consultant experienced working with small businesses” … I know this sounds cheesy AF, but it works. By the way, the title your company gave you most likely means very little to me because it doesn’t carry outside your organization.
3. Add a headshot for your profile. Let’s admit. We’re visual animals. We want to see who we’re going to be talking to. It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot, but you should be in focus and it should be kind of a closeup shot that shows your face. My recommendations would be to make sure the picture has good lighting.
Oddly enough, I had found a free headshot service back in the olden times, but if you can’t find that, I’d have a friend take a picture or two. (Check your local library) Absolutely NO SELFIES. I know it’s tempting … don’t do it. Trust me.
I’ve found Groupons’s for JCPenny for $20 pictures … those work well. I’ve had friends literally drop $300+ on headshots. This is primarily for LinkedIn here … you don’t need to drop $300 on a headshot. You’re not going for a Broadway show here. We need a simple picture where you are in focus.
4. Convert your accomplishments to first person, conversational english. DO NOT USE RESUME SPEAK here. No bullet points. As if we are talking over a cocktail.
MOST IMPORTANT: ADD PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER (within reason)
5. In your ‘Summary Section’ make it conversational on what you’ve done in your career so far. Something like “I provide xxxx” and “My specialities include zzzz”. Two or three paragraphs here helps quite a bit.
6. Within the Summary section, put a ‘Specialties:’ and jam it in with buzzwords here. Product Z, Confluence, JIRA, Microsoft Excel, Replacing flux capacitors, etc … jam that section in with all the buzzwords to your hearts desire.
7. If you are unemployed Put ‘In Transition‘ as your current employer and write something like ‘Currently seeking new opportunities in (field of work)’ … this will tell recruiters that you’re out looking for your next role and not employed at your previous employer.
8. PERFECT SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. I cannot stress this enough. Nothing more off putting than a LinkedIn profile with a freaking spelling error! Have a friend or family member read through your profile with a fine tooth comb!
9. Customize your LinkedIn URL — this will change your URL from like https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhay-shah-123456 to something like https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhayshah do this, go to Me –> View Profile –> Upper right corner click ‘Edit public profile & URL’ and click on the pencil icon under ‘Personalize the URL for your profile.’
If you would like me to review your profile and provide some (free) feedback, drop me a line at abhay (dot) shah (at) lat42 (dot) com.