Last Thursday I spoke to a group of unemployed professionals at the Urbandale Public Library about how they can supersize their Linkedin profile to help them stand out during their search. Here are a few pointers I shared with the group:
Include a professional headshot
It doesn’t have to be professionally taken in a studio. I just need to be able to recognize you. The you I would see out networking; not the you I would see at your kid’s soccer game…
If you have a tagline or slogan, attach it to your name
Click the “edit” link on the “edit profile” screen and add your tagline/slogan to the last name field. This way, a more memorable part of you will be left behind along with your comments throughout LinkedIn.
Include keywords in the personal headline field
A recruiter isn’t going to search for you using the words “account manager”; they’re going to search for you using your skills.
Solicit people for recommendation
Better yet, script them out. Make it easy for them to click submit and supply you with the recommendation that you actually want versus what they think you want.
Instead of including your “website” include a more descriptive name
Click the “edit” link on the “edit profile” screen next to “Corporate website” or one of the other generic descriptors Linkedin gives you as an option. On the next screen, choose “other” from the dropdown menu and type the name of your website. Instead of “Corporate website”, I use “Contemporary Business Solutions”.
Add board positions and volunteer activities
“What have you been up to since you were laid off two years ago”, asks a prospective employer. Be sure you include on your profile EVERYTHING you are doing that may pertain to your next work experience. PLUS, you can then solicit recommendations from people you’ve shared these unpaid experiences with since recommendations have to be associated with a work experience.
Customize your public profile link
Nothing looks sexier on your business card or resume like: http://www.linkedin.com/in/j398cslkjnasldoijnfg (read sarcasm). Next to your “profile link”, click “edit” and customize your URL. I recommend that it only include some permutation of your name, but not your profession or place of work since those may change down the road, but you…you’ll always be you…
Do not include your home address
Unless you want to make it really easy for your prospective employer to find out how much your house is worth on the county assessor’s website and then choose not to hire you because your house is worth a lot and they think you need a huge salary to pay your mortgage (yes, it happens). Or better yet, they could just show up at your house. Leave your home address off your profile completely. It doesn’t add any value.
Include your birth day instead of your birth date
Be social and add the day of your birth so people can with you a happy birthday; however unless you want to be a victim of age discrimination before you even get an interview, go ahead and add the year of your birth.
Do include your email address
InMail costs money (Linkedin’s email system which allows you to send messages to people who you aren’t connected with). Make it easy for people to contact you by adding your email address to the “Contact” section way down on the bottom. And be sure it’s not email@example.com. Get a gmail account, so you appear current, and don’t put the year you were born in your email address either. And please don’t use mchsi.com or qwest.net.
Include a phone number
Be careful here because recruiters/prospective employers can call you whenever they want, so be sure that if you’re going to list a phone number that it is a phone that YOU will ALWAYS answer professionally and that has a professional message on the answering machine. Don’t leave your house phone that your 10 year old answers…get it?
What are some other ways you’ve supersized your LinkedIn profile?