This Work Wear Wednesday, I’m sharing with y’all my advice on how to achieve an “All-Star” LinkedIn profile. Depending on where you are in your career, you will utilize LinkedIn for very different purposes. Whether it’s getting a full-time job straight out of college, making a career change, or just building out your network, LinkedIn profiles are critical for all career types and industries. If you haven’t made one yet, hop to it and then refer back to this post afterwards 🙂
About Me Section- Getting Started
First, choose a business-professional head shot (preferably in a suit or blazer) for your profile picture. Next, location is important for recruiters in your area to find you. If you’re looking to move cities, I suggest putting the city that you’d like to live in on your profile (i.e. if you go to school in Austin but would like to find a job in Dallas) in order to be contacted for jobs in that geographical location.
The About Me section also has the option to add a summary. Don’t let the summary space go to waste! You can utilize it to tell other professionals what you do, who you are, where you’re looking to go in your career, and how you can add value to their organization. If you’re in school, you’ll want to say something about how you’re seeking full-time employment after graduation. If you’re established in your career, you could write about some of your skill sets and achievements and maybe some goals you have for moving up the corporate ladder.
Think about your current network. When I first started my LinkedIn account in college, I added my friends, girls from my college organization, classmates, and professors. I then went on to my parent’s friends and alumni from our alumni group. When I got my first full time job, I added all the managers and the coworkers in my training class. From there, my network has expanded to customers I’ve worked with, remote coworkers that I’ve met at conferences, friends of friends, etc.
You can also make what I call “strategic connections” on LinkedIn. These are the people that might not necessarily know who you are but would be advantageous to have in your network. Maybe you want to connect with a VP or a Director at your company but haven’t met them in person yet. Or maybe you heard a keynote at a convention that really inspired you. Rather than the standard LinkedIn message, you can personalize your message when you ask to be connected with someone. Much like Twitter, it limits your characters, so be direct and engaging while telling them the purpose of introducing yourself. An example might be, “Hi xxx, I was inspired by your keynote over the consumption of data in Dallas yesterday. Would love to connect as you are a thought leader in our industry. Thanks!”
Skills and Endorsements
Think about your skills. LinkedIn has generated a PLETHORA of skills that you can add to your profile, and that you can be endorsed for. It’s one thing for you to say that you are good at something, but another thing when multiple people could vouch for that.
Start endorsing people so that they will reciprocate and endorse you back, or maybe ask a coworker you trust if they will endorse you for certain skills that you would like to be known for. This will help you create the “word on the street” about yourself. For example, do you REALLY want your future employer to see that you have 7 endorsements for basic skills such as “Microsoft Excel”, or would you prefer them to see qualifications such as “campaign development”, “brand management”, or “financial analysis”?
Experience and Recommendations
LinkedIn has the capacity for you to upload your resume to populate text into different parts of your profile. (You can write them in manually too if you choose). Think of LinkedIn as an online public resume. You can write detailed descriptions about your achievements and the value you added to each position in this section. In addition, if you’ve worked on a project that achieved noteworthy results, I would write about that as well!
Another valuable function of LinkedIn is the recommendations. You can ask your boss or an advisor (or really anyone!) to write you a recommendation about your work competency and how you’ve contributed to the team for future employers and recruiters to see. This is where they can write praises about your positive attitude, work ethic, organization, leadership, etc.
Sharing Articles and Following Organizations
Like any social network, LinkedIn is a critical platform for sharing data. You can like, comment, publish, and share articles on your feed. Your news feed will show what your connections are sharing, but also what organizations you follow are sharing. If you work in tech, you can follow companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and IBM. If you are a teacher you can follow groups such as ESL and Bilingual teachers, PTA groups, Teacher Training and education, etc. For PR professionals, you can follow the PR and Media Relations Group, PR Professionals, PR Daily, etc. There are hundreds of groups for every industry!
You can also follow influencers! These would be people such as any member of Shark Tank, CEOs, CMOS, CIOs, etc. in certain industries that are considered experts/thought leaders in their field. They share or publish content that you can engage with.
Interacting with Recruiters
Okay so you have a great profile and lots of connections, and now you have recruiters inMail-ing you left and right! So how do you filter through? The most important thing to me is TIME. I don’t want to waste my time or theirs. I already have a job I like and I’m not actively looking for something else, but sometimes doors open that you don’t expect.
When a recruiter messages me with a job that’s intriguing, I think about the one factor that could REALLY sway me: $$$$. Why switch jobs if you’re happy with yours when they will pay you the same or less? I approach it this way, “Hi xxxx, This position sounds like something I’d be interested in. In an effort to be respectful of your time and mine, would you mind sending over a salary range so I can evaluate if this opportunity is worth leaving my current job for? Thanks!” Also remember to be discreet if you’re in a position already and are looking for new ones.
Maybe you’re a college student and you’re really just looking for any lucrative offer. In my humble opinion, the best thing to do in this situation is to do your due diligence and research the company and position as well as you can before applying or agreeing to an interview. If salary is a driving factor for you, look the position up on Glassdoor.
As far as accepting recruiters as connections, I tend to sway more conservatively. My coworker once told me, “I accept every recruiter that adds me in case they can help me in the future.” He makes a really good point. Personally, however, I usually just leave them because I don’t normally connect with people I don’t know. (Conversely, if the person’s profile says they work for my company but I don’t know them, I always accept.) Obviously it’s up to you how you’d want to approach that situation and I don’t see anything wrong with either viewpoint! Most articles actually do tell you to connect with people you don’t know to expand your network.
P.S. You don’t even need to wait for a recruiter to contact you for a position! LinkedIn always has job postings. This article is one of the best I’ve seen on more advice to building your profile and applying to jobs through LinkedIn. This one has some useful tips and tricks also.
What other things do you use LinkedIn for? Furthermore, if there are any other Work Wear Wednesday topics you’d like to see covered, please comment below or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d love to hear them!
Photos: Madison Katlin Photography