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How to get the most out of LinkedIn

In recent years, LinkedIn has become one of the most popular social networking sites for career professionals. In fact, there are over 690 million users on LinkedIn, 50 million company pages, and millions of active job listings. It is a great place for career seekers, recruiters and hiring managers to network on career opportunities. It is also a space for candidates to provide supplemental career information that can’t fit on a standard resume.

If you’re not on LinkedIn or you haven’t refreshed your profile in a while, use this checklist to help craft or revamp your online presence.

Profile photo

You should have a professional picture with a plain background and smiling face. This doesn’t mean it needs to be taken by a professional, but it should be clear of distractions.

Things to consider:

  • Are you dressed appropriately for your position or industry?
  • Is the background clear of distractions?
  • Is the photo framed appropriately to fit your full face in the photo?
  • Was the photo taken recently? (within the last two years)
  • Are you alone in the photo? (no pets, no family members, etc.)
  • Do you have a professional banner/background photo? Consider using a picture of your company’s logo or a stock image of the city you live in.

Headline

Your headline is your marketing tagline. The words in your headline and title carry more search weight than anything else on your profile. Utilize your headline space as much as possible.

Things to consider:

  • Does your headline use appropriate industry keywords?
  • Does your headline convey the value you can add to an organization?

Example:

  • Keywords for your target role | Industry/area of expertise | Unique value
  • Assurance Manager | Manufacturing Audit | CPA

About/summary section

Your about section should be in first-person and skimmable. This should not be a novel on your entire life story, but it should reflect your personal and professional passions. Think of this like your elevator pitch.

Things to consider:

  • Does your about section reflect your personality and summarize your experience?
  • Does the about section convey your professional passions?
  • If you have published media, is it reflected in your about section?

Experience section

Your experience section is where more detail is better. You might decide to remove certain early career positions, but think about what roles are transferrable and relevant to the positions you are interested in long-term. This is the place to highlight important projects and achievements in your positions.

Things to consider:

  • Have you listed all applicable work experiences?
  • Does your experience section have accurate dates listed?
  • Does your experience include actionable results, numbers and significant accomplishments?

Education section

Your education section should reflect all levels of education that you’ve received. This is an additional area to sell your background to recruiters and hiring managers. You would be surprised at how many people connect based on alumni status alone.

Things to consider:

  • Is your education listed on your profile?
  • Have you included your graduation date or anticipated graduation date?
  • Have you included majors, minors and areas of emphasis?

Volunteer experience, skills and endorsements, and recommendations

These sections are other areas that recruiters and hiring managers often look at for other skill sets that you can bring to the table. The more complete your profile is, the more likely you are to show up in searches for your desired field.

Things to consider:

  • Have you included all volunteer and not-for-profit board positions?
  • Have you added all of your applicable skills?
  • Have you reached out to current or former managers/colleagues with a request for a recommendation?

Networking

While connecting with other professionals can seem daunting on such a large platform, this is where relationship building really comes into play. Make sure you take the time to customize and personalize each connection request.

Things to consider:

  • Are you a member of at least five groups?
  • Do you follow at least five companies that you are interested in?
  • Do you share posts and updates on your profile?
  • Do you actively update your profile?
  • Do you regularly interact with your network?

General

After you’ve updated all of your sections, don’t forget to review the content (maybe read it a few times before sharing it with the world). There is nothing worse than a profile that clearly has spelling and grammar errors. This shows lack of detail and potential carelessness. Everything you have on your profile is a reflection of who you are, so make sure you put your best foot forward.

Things to consider:

  • Is your profile free of grammar and spelling errors?
  • Have you claimed your customized URL?
  • Did you have a second set of eyes review your profile?
  • If you’re actively seeking new opportunities, have you turned the "Open to Opportunities" feature on? This feature signals recruiters that you are open to having a conversation about new career opportunities.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly search and staffing specialists can help, contact our team.

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