Building your LinkedIn Profile: Part 1

Building your LinkedIn Profile: Part 1

LinkedIn is much more than a virtual resume. A well-designed profile and presence is essential for a job search today, but can also do so much more: expand your professional network, stay up to date on happenings in your field, and share your knowledge and expertise with others. In this post,  you will learn how to create or enhance your presence on the largest professional networking site in the world.

How to Begin

To create a new site, go to https://www.linkedin.com/reg/join to sign up for an account. Right away you have a decision to make: should you sign in with Facebook? If you will use Facebook in the same way you plan to use LinkedIn, then probably yes, but if you use Facebook for primarily social or personal connections, you may want to keep the two separate.

Next, check out some sample profiles. Use search terms related to your industry, employer, university, or even job title to see how others present themselves.

Enhance your Profile

LinkedIn is very user friendly and you will probably figure out how to use it by just clicking around and trying things. If you get stuck visit the LinkedIn help site at https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin Here are some things to consider as you refine your LinkedIn presence.

  • Your LinkedIn profile needs to be absolutely flawless. That means no spelling or grammatical errors, and it should be complete.
  • Custom URL:Your LinkedIn URL should appear as “http://linkedin.com/in/yourfullname.”  If it doesn’t, you’re missing a vital opportunity to have your profile rank higher in Google and to make it easier for people to find you. To do this, go to your profile and click “edit” and then next to where it says “public profile,” click “edit” again. At the top, you’ll want to click “edit” one more time next to “your public profile URL,” and then type in your full name, without spacing, and click “set address.” If the unique URL is taken, then try using a period between your first and last name or use your middle initial.
  • Headline: Your headline will automatically display as the last job you’ve had unless you change it manually.  You need to do this! You have 120 characters to wow your audience, so use it well. Be honest, don’t be too “cute,” avoid cliches and buzzwords, but do market yourself and your abilities.
  • Summary: Your summary should include a brief paragraph describing your work experience, especially work experience that is relevant for the job you want. Feel free to enhance this section with your unique abilities and differentiators, such as industry awards and honors. Unlike your resume, your summary in LinkedIn should be written in the first person.
  • Experience:  In this section, describe your job experience. The easiest way to complete this section is to copy and paste the bullets from your traditional resume.
  • Keywords: You should flood your entire LinkedIn profile with keywords because recruiters and other individuals will be using LinkedIn as a talent search engine.  Select a few keywords that from your headline and sprinkle them throughout your profile to rank higher when someone conducts a LinkedIn search.  If you show up first or second, then you may get the opportunity over everyone else.
  • Skills & Endorsements:This section allows your first-degree connections to quickly give you a “thumbs up” for specific skills with the simple click of a button. You have a better chance of getting endorsements if you endorse others.
  • Recommendations:Having recommendations is important because when a recruiter searches for talent, they will view and identify profiles that have the “thumbs up” graphic next to them.  This indicates that you have been recommended and also displays the number of recommndations. If you have no recommendations, the desirable thumbs up will not appear. Recommendations can come from colleagues, teachers, managers, and even classmates. The most valuable recommendations come from your past employers and clients, next are colleagues and coworkers, and then finally, your professors or people you have worked with in a volunteer capacity.
  • Images and Graphics: A professional headshot will help you make connections and win opportunities. Employers are seven times more likely to click on a profile if there is a headshot (Tan 2011), so do not leave this blank. Another way to express your brand is with a  headline graphic. For example, Melinda Gates and Oprah both currently have headline graphics that relate to philanthropic work, a personal brand they both seek to communicate.  The headline is prime LinkedIn real estate and simply using the default blue banner prevents you from utilizing this opportunity to communicate your brand.

Discussion Questions

  1. If you are on LinkedIn, how do you use the site to benefit your career?
  2. If you are not on LinkedIn, why have you chosen to opt out? How do you reap the same benefits without a presence on LinkedIn?

References

 Aslam, S. (2019). Linkedin by the Numbers: Stats, Demographics&FunFacts. Omnicore

   Group. Retrieved on January 6, 2019.

Darrow, B. (2017). LinkedIn claims half a billion users. Retrieved April20, 2017.

Lu-Lien Tan, C. The Art of Online Portraiture. The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2011.

 

12 comments

  • Thanks for sharing these tips. I made a profile some time ago and have not updated it. It is on my to do list and now I know what will make it stand out. Reading this has given me pause so that I take careful consideration as to what needs to be highlighted. I didnt realize that the recommendations are so vast. I’ve got some exciting work to do to join the field.

  • These LinkedIn tips are great. I did not know about having my name in the URL. I will definitely be checking on that as well as my Summary section. And I do need to work on getting a more professional picture. I love LinkedIn. I found my current job on there. I never liked it at first but I just needed to look around and get familiar. Now it is the main place for my job searches.

  • I currently do not have a LinkedIn, however, I do see the many benefits of having one to help your career. I haven’t created an account because I’m still a student and currently am building my resume at work and at school as the years pass. I would feel more comfortable creating an account once I have all my credentials and degree and seeking job opportunities. Having a platform such a LinkedIn to be able to display your resume for companies to be able to search seek someone thats fits their job description is amazing.

  • I use LinkedIn to connect with other healthcare professionals in the field of pharmacy. It is a great way to connect yourself with these individuals and build connections with them. Building these connections could help you build relationships that will be very beneficial in the future

  • Professor Iverson,

    Great tips! I can stand to build on my recommendations. I find that others are comfortable requesting that I write one for them but I’m not always comfortable asking the same.

    I really like LinkedIn. In my previous career in clinical project management, I would always have recruiters contacting me about new opportunities. I’ve recently made changes to my profile to reflect that new career change I desired in training and OD. Actually, LinkedIn is part of how I got a new role in training. It’s so interesting because I had never heard of the company or the recruiter before but I saw the post for the opportunity because one of my connections liked the post and I so happened to see it. It turned out to be a great fit that I had been working towards for years.

    Portia

  • I have never used Linkedin before although I do hear promising components from the people that have used it. Linkedin is not just a resume that you upload through the web but more so building a brand for yourself. This is a great tool to connect and interact with people in your profession. I have started to look into making a Linkedin profile and am hoping that the project in my Human Improvement Performance class will be the first step into building a portfolio. I like the ideas on how to make your profile stand out especially the recommendations in which recruiters can use this option in identifying someone for a job by simply looking at the thumbs up icon. If a person that has a Linkedin profile does not have the thumbs up icon they can get passed on. This causes the people to not be looked at it to miss huge opportunities. In essence, I believe in this day and age it’s crucial to build professional relationships with managers, teachers, colleagues, and other employees that is why it’s important to leave a positive impact when building connections because, in the long run, these recommendations will open doors in the future.

  • Alexandra Edwards

    LinkedIn has definitely evolved into an awesome source of networking & skills development. It’s a great resource. I do have a LinkedIn account but I have not updated my profile in quite some time. I mainly use it for videos or blog topics that help with my professional development.

    I have friends that have their opinion about uploading pictures because of “race”. Their position is one may get called because of their race and not experience as well as get passed up because of your race and not experience.

  • Madison Quinton

    I think LinkedIn is a great way to get our names out into the fields we are looking to work in and allows us the opportunity to really show what we have accomplished so far even though its just a few points. I think for me now using LinkedIn is more promising than a job site. I use LinkedIn to search for jobs, look at the criteria as well as common connections. I think at this point in my life it is not just about who you know but what unique aspects you can bring to the table.

  • Karolyn Rubin (Szymanski)

    For far too many years, my LinkedIn account created and produced “dust”. I never understood why my profile rarely was looked at by others, requests to connect were little to none, and my humble circle of influence was just that, humble. At times, depression “wink-wink” would set in as I looked at the statistics on how many views or activities happened during any given day or week. It was never about benchmarking my popularity against others; it was just about wanting to be noticed.

    I realized I was the one who created the roadblock that prevented the action, engagement, and activity from occurring on my profile. Why? Because it was missing most of the elements outlined in this blog post. Since I revised my profile and included the aforementioned areas of importance to make my profile stand out, activity and views associated with my profile became an overnight all time high!

    I primarily use LinkedIn to stay professionally connected to former and current business associates, colleagues, and classmates. I’ll also use it as an opportunity to search for either decision makers at companies I’m seeking to do business with or to reach out to a person within a company to connect to the decision maker. I find that joining industry-related groups promote opportunities for peer to peer learning and networking and keeping current with industry trends.

  • If you are on LinkedIn, how do you use the site to benefit your career?

    I am on Linkedin as a way to connect professionally with colleagues that I have met throughout my career. I use my connections to network, bounce ideas off of, and keep up to date with the latest trends.

    In addition, it is a way for recruiters to get a most up to date profile instead of having to chase down a resume on a career site that I may or may not have updated in the past few years. I am not always looking for a new job but I could be open to a new position based on salary and benefits. I want to make sure that recruiters have everything they need in order to get to know my personality and career accomplishments.

  • I use LinkedIn as a way to connect with other employees at my organization, especially those who work in the department that I am interested in transitioning to. I also utilize the groups that are available, as I am a member of a few T&D related groups. I like to read the articles that are posted so that I can keep up with different things going on in the industry since I do not currently work in it. LinkedIn Learning is also something that I use to learn new skills related to training and development, or to refresh some topics that I have learned throughout this graduate program. LinkedIn is such a great resource to have!

  • Hey Dr. Iverson,

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I think these tips are very timely and relevant to the current workplace. I especially like that you mentioned the profile should convey your personal brand. A few weeks ago I attended a seminar at LinkedIn with Dress for Success. They talked about how LinkedIn isn’t just supposed to be a carbon copy of your resume, but a vehicle to convey your personal brand along with your technical skills. LinkedIn is purposely a social media tool so there are functions of it such as the newsfeed where you can share and comment on articles as a way to convey your POV, which is part of a personal brand. I haven’t taken the time yet to update my profile to be more personal brand-friendly, but I have it on my to-do list. I think it’s an interesting topic for sure and maybe it’s a growing trend because organizations are also realizing that company culture is important to attracting talent and keeping them.

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