Folks often ask me about whether to be on LinkedIn, and if so, what to put in their LinkedIn profile, who to connect with, or what the point of groups is. In this article, we will look at how to build a good LinkedIn profile – in contrast to many profiles on LinkedIn whose quality is poor and therefore give a bad impression of the profile owner.
I think it is fair to say that LinkedIn has become the so-called “go-to” site for looking up people’s professional profile. Insofar as you are a professional and LinkedIn is the premier social media site for employers and recruiters, my personal view is that it is no longer possible NOT to have a presence on LinkedIn. Even if you are not very active on LinkedIn, let me recommend you at least be present and can be found on LinkedIn. Like keeping your CV current, being on LinkedIn is good professional housekeeping. But if you decide to be present, then it is important that your profile be of good quality, lest it backfire and negatively affect your professional image.
Recent research reveals what elements are important to headhunters and employers reviewing LinkedIn profiles: first comes experience (65%) – that is your track record and work achievements which showcase what you are capable of; then comes education (37%); third are recommendations (31%) – which lend you credibility; and finally, last but not least, the fact that your profile is being kept updated (30%).
Tip #1 – work towards a complete profile
By now, I hope to have given you enough reasons to make the effort and invest in building up your LinkedIn profile. As you set out to do so, you will see that LinkedIn guides you and, as you progress, keeps track of the degree of completeness of your profile. Though the site guides you, it may at times feel confusing so take your time. What is often confusing is that there is a lot of redundancy in LinkedIn: that is to say that there are more than one way to do something – this is useful too however. If you get lost, scroll down the page and use the help centre. Some of the FAQs will sort you out straightaway but if not, ping an email with your query: my experience is that you will get a detailed, often step-by-step answer within a few days.
Tip #2 – ensure your profile looks good
Looking at some of the profiles on LinkedIn, Avatrade Linkedin Page I cannot help but be appalled I must confess:
– Numerous typos have me imagining the person must not care about the image they project;
– The profile is too sparsely populated making me wonder if that person is even real; and
– The roles they’ve had are unclear so I am unable to figure what they are capable of.
To my mind, it is like handing out to someone a business card which is all crumpled up because you carried it for too long in your pocket. Would you do that? If not, then why take such little care of your LinkedIn profile? Why does your shop window display dirty laundry instead of your gems? I have some to think of LinkedIn as a public database of CVs: I don’t think the creators of LinkedIn would agree with me but I maintain that LinkedIn is a vast, global, directory of publicly-available resumes. I have yet to meet someone who does not want for their CV to look good so do the same when it comes to your profile on LinkedIn.
Thinking back to the issues I listed earlier:
– Write your text in Word or an equivalent programme, spell-check it there and then copy-paste it in LinkedIn when it looks all polished. LinkedIn has no spell check functionality;
– Showcase your achievements at work and your professional competencies and come across as a three-dimensional human being with a rich track record; and
– Ensure that the information you share is accurate and verifiable. Resist beefing up your profile because the short-term gain more than likely will lead to long-term pain…