Take Your LinkedIn Profile from Average to All-Star!

“I don’t know what I’m doing on LinkedIn.” I hear this all the time, and it’s often voiced with either resignation or frustration. People tend to look at LinkedIn as a necessary evil, so linkedin questionsthey throw a few random resume bits up and call it a day. This is a mistake! A 2014 round-up found that 94% of recruiters are on LinkedIn but only 36% of candidates are, 73% of Millenials found their last job through social media and 89% of recruiters have hired someone through LinkedIn.

Before you consider connecting with those recruiters though, you need to have a completed, All-Star level profile, and these tips will help you get there:

  1. Nail the basics: Before worrying about adding media or getting recommendations, make sure you’ve got the basics covered. A profile photo is a must, and make sure it’s a quality headshot. No scenery with you in the distance, no attempts at abstract artistry, and definitely no cellphone selfies! This photo is the first visual a potential recruiter or employer is going to see of you, so make it count.Use your full name so you’re easy to find, fill in the Professional Headline, Location, Industry, and add your work experience, skill list, and education. Take your time writing the Summary. This is the place to highlight your skills, what you have to offer an employer, and your career goals. It doesn’t have to be long, but it’s the first thing an employer may read about you, so it needs to be written with care.
  1. Work Experience & Resume should Match: A recruiter once gave me this tip. She said that people often add extras to their work experience on LinkedIn because there isn’t the concern about page count. However, if your LinkedIn account says one thing, and your resume says something else, it can look either confusing or suspicious.
  1. Maximize Your Use of Additional Sections: There are ways to add value to your profile without straying from your resume’s work experience. LinkedIn has many optional sections, including Publications, Languages, Volunteering, Projects and Organizations. You can also add test scores, activities and clubs you joined at school, and list the courses you took. The more of these you fill in, the more complete a picture recruiters/employers will have of your history and skills.
  1. Add Media: If you made a video, did a SlideShare presentation, or have a relevant image, document, or link, you can add these to your Summary, Experience, and Education sections to showcase your accomplishments.
  1. find jobAsk for Recommendations: Asking for recommendations is scary; so most people stick with skill Endorsements. However, since Endorsements are as easy to give as Facebook likes, they don’t have nearly as much value. Not everyone you ask will have time to recommend you so do not take it personally if people fail to follow through. To maximize your chances of being recommended, ask for several and offer to recommend the other person in return. A good recommendation is extremely valuable and serves as a preliminary job reference.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to LinkedIn All-Star fame! Well…maybe not fame, but hopefully a new job. If you have your own tips you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below. And click here if you would like to connect on LinkedIn.