Opinion

Maximising your new profile on Linkedin

In an age where social media has exploded onto the scene and is now used in so many different ways, it is no surprise that employers and recruiters are increasingly using it as a powerful tool within the recruitment process .In short, it has never been more important to ensure that your online profile looks as polished as your CV and cover letter.

In the last quarter of 2012, Linkedin started to roll out new profiles. While many of the changes have been made for you automatically, there are others that you will need to make yourself to maximise on the new functionality. We have prepared this guide which we hope will be useful in helping you to navigate through those changes.

Some people prefer to not broadcast every change they make to their profile so, if this applies to you, go to the settings pages (Click on name on the top right hand side of the screen and drop down to settings). Change the broadcast mode and unclick the box – all changes can now be made without all your connections knowing about it!

Firstly let’s start with the new profile picture…

It has always been important to have a good quality head shot as your profile picture but even more so now that it is a larger image at the top of the page! Make sure your profile picture is sized and centred correctly. If there is a space around your profile picture, you should re-upload the picture. If you have a framing effect taking place on your profile– upload a larger profile picture. The file size should be no larger than 4MB and the actual dimensions should be between 200 x 200 and 500 x 500. Once you upload a larger profile picture, make sure you crop it to a head and shoulder shot.

It’s well worth taking the time to get the photo right - Linkedin states that your profile is 7 times more likely to be displayed in search results if you have a photo!

Headline

Your headline is one of the most important parts of your profile when it comes to how it is displayed in search results. Your headline appears immediately below your name. It will often display a person’s current job title by default but the key word here is ‘headline’. It some cases your job title or role makes sense but your headline is an opportunity to inform others what you do. So if your job title is ‘Consultant’ you should add some more detail. Think of the main keywords you want to be discovered by and include them in your headline – make sure you add in your email address too.

Status

Updates will be displayed much more prominently on the new Linkedin profile design. All your Linkedin Activity is now in the second block down on your profile and includes your updates. Getting active on Linkedin including posting updates helps raise your profile, so it is wise to get into the habit of doing so on a regular basis, posting any interesting articles you have seen, as well as your company news and events.

Summary

A strong summary is essential – it should provide a compelling overview of your experience, your achievements and who you are as a professional.

Re-order any section in your Profile

You may wish to re order your profile sections depending on which sections you would like to give more prominence to. To do this, simply go to “Profile” then “Edit Profile” hover your cursor over any section on your Profile (i.e. Summary or Experience) and the cursor will change to a cross with arrows. Click and drag any section up or down and it will re-order your Profile for you.

Your Contact Information

It is advisable to include at least your Twitter name, email and up to three website links on your contact info. If you select ’other’ when setting up your website links the enables you to customise the text to describe them, rather than defaulting to the standard Linkedin labels.

Your Groups

In the new layout, the groups you belong to will be listed in a more visible way. These will be seen as an indication of your professional interests, locality etc. So, select the groups you belong to carefully, always keeping in mind what they say about you in a professional capacity.

Companies you follow

Another thing to be prominently displayed on the new profile design is the companies you follow. Use this area to follow companies such as your customers, or companies that you may admire or hope to work with in the future.

Skills and Expertise

The chances are, if you have a lot of connections on Linkedin, you have seen many endorsements for your skills and expertise. You can edit the skills which appear on your profile, adding in the ones you feel are missing and removing the ones that you feel are not relevant to you. Click the edit ‘pencil’ on the skills section and either remove or add in up to 50 skills. Although you have the facility to add in 50 skills, it would be advisable to take a more focused approach and limit this to between 10 -15 carefully selected skills that you employ to a good standard on a regular basis. Watch out for skills that are duplications i.e. ‘recruiting’ and ‘recruitment’.

New sections on your Linkedin profile.

There are now numerous sections in your Linkedin page that will add in useful detail to your profile and allows you to publicise more of your professional achievements. Sections for certifications, courses, honours and awards are all an opportunity to highlight areas that you excel in.

Projects – If you have been or are currently working on major industry-related projects, you can showcase them here, link to them and even list your connections who were also involved in the project.

Publications – If you’ve written any type of book, whether it is formally published in hardcopy print, on Kindle or eBook only, you can share it under in this section and link to it on Amazon, your own website or elsewhere online.

Volunteer Experience and Causes – Let people know how much you care about your community by sharing the non-profits, organizations and causes you support.

The key to Linkedin use, particularly when it comes to getting yourself in great shape for the job market, is that you need to keep using it and updating it on a very regular basis. The digital stream is a fast flowing one, where one update gets swept downstream very quickly. Keep it relevant, up to date and you should reap the rewards!