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A 5 step guide to building a stand out LinkedIn profile

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LinkedIn is more than a regular social media platform. With 95 Job applications submitted every second, and 3 people are hired every minute, it’s a great place to get yourself noticed by employers and recruiters. It can increase your chances of landing your dream job, even if you’re not actively looking for new opportunities.

Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your public CV and since far more people will view your profile, it’s important to get it right. 

And the good news is, a little can go a long way. By following these 5 steps and having a comprehensive LinkedIn, it actually increases your chances of landing a job interview by 71%

Your first impression matters. What makes a perfect LinkedIn Profile photo?

Your profile picture is the first thing people notice and is their first impression of you. A professional picture will get a user 14 times more views than other types of profile pictures. An easy fix, with a big payoff. 

So, dig the camera out, and follow this checklist to nail yours:

  • Pick a recent photo and make sure it looks like you 
  • Use a high-resolution image - the ideal size is 400 x 400 pixels 
  • Make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame
  • Be the only person in the picture
  • Get someone else to take the picture for you
  • Smile! Studies show that people view you as more likeable and influential if you do.
  • Avoid distracting backgrounds
  • Wear something that you’d wear to work
  • Ensure you’re well lit - use soft or natural light
  • Use filters wisely - avoid filters that change your appearance or look unnatural

Write a stand out summary

We know everyone all dreads the ‘About’ section. But it’s one of the most important parts of your profile, used to summarise you, your experience, achievements and interests.  

First, nail the hook. Your full summary isn’t displayed until the reader clicks “…see more”. So your first 50 words best grab your reader's attention. Try writing something that needs further explanation, or a claim that needs justification. This will leave the reader intrigued and unable to resist that button.

Example: 

"It took me more than X jobs to learn the secret about Y. It's not only changed the way I think but has led to something unexpected."

Now that the reader is engaged, don’t waste this opportunity by simply listing your skills and job titles. Your bio is a chance to tell your story. And studies have found that if we are told something through narrative, we are more likely to relate, absorb the information and remain engaged from start to finish. 

So, start at the beginning. Explain why you do what you do, what led you to where you are. Take this opportunity to show your passion. 

Then talk through your qualifications and experiences. Discuss the skills you have, why they matter and the effect they’ve had. Throughout, make sure you provide data that backs up your claims and proves your financial impact and commercial achievements.

Next, move onto your interests and keep it professional. What do you help others do? What’s your goal? Ensure these align with the roles and companies you're looking to attract. And then show how you’re committed to pursuing them. 

Finally, end with a call to action. Either talk about the type of roles you’re looking for, or if you’re not actively looking, you can sign off with a friendly invitation to connect and chat.

Remember to keep it punchy. Ensure each point you make adds value and contributes to your ‘personal sales pitch’. Also, avoid long paragraphs, break up your text into smaller blocks to make it less daunting for your reader.

Optimise your profile with personal keywords

Optimised LinkedIn profile = appears in more searches, more searches = more views, and more views = more opportunities.

If you don’t use keywords in your job title, experience, projects and skills, you won’t show up in a potential employer’s or recruiter’s searches.

First‌, location is one of the key filters used when conducting a search. So include a specific and accurate location. It’ll help your profile stand out 23x more in searches. ‘England’ doesn’t narrow it down. Set your location to where you are or where you’d like your next role to be.

What keywords are the most relevant to your job role?

You can identify these by reviewing job listings - what words do they use in the description, experience and skills sections? What job titles are they using? Create a list and ensure you use them throughout your profile:

Write a great headline. Most people have their current job title and company in theirs, but it doesn’t add value or help you stand out. LinkedIn gives you 120 words for your headline. Use it to outline your job role, specialisation and company. Then follow it with the results you've achieved and illustrate your value in a tangible way. 

Example:

‘Software Engineer @ Nike | Building AI That's Boosted User Retention By 789%’.

Optimise your LinkedIn summary. We’ve talked about how to write a great summary. Now weave in your keywords in a subtle, natural way. Avoid ‘keyword stuffing’, you risk sounding robotic and looking disingenuous.

Don’t waste the experience section by just listing your job titles and companies. You have 2000 characters to fill with job descriptions, skills, project details and commercial achievements that prove your financial impact. They’re a key word gold mine!

Prove your skills

So you’ve now discussed your successes in your headline, summary and experience sections. But why stop there? Listing at least five relevant skills increases your chances of being discovered and contacted by over 31 times.

LinkedIn offers ‘skills assessments’, an online test that provides you with a verified badge on your profile. Data shows that candidates with verified skills are around 30% more likely to be hired. So not only does it reassure an employer, it strengthens your personal brand and credibility. 

You can also get ‘skills endorsements’. This is where former colleagues, clients, etc. can vouch for your listed skills. It gives the reader a quick, visual sense of what you’re valued for.

Then, arguably, the most effective way to prove your skills is through ‘recommendations’. These are personal testimonials written by others about the experience they had working with you. This is great for an employer to see, they gain valuable insight into your personality and how you work with others. Think about who would leave a valuable and positive recommendation and reach out to them to ask.

Post relevant content

Now your profile looks great and reads well, it’s time to get active and stay consistent.

There are tons of benefits to regularly posting on LinkedIn. It turns your profile into a public showcase of your expertise/“professional status” and makes you more credible.

It’s also a great way to get a competitive advantage and stand out from your competition since only about 1% of LinkedIn's 260 million monthly users share posts.

Create posts that are relevant to your role, industry and professional interests that will engage and entertain your audience. Doing so consistently not only builds your following and increases your chances of employers approaching you, it shows passion and commitment.

Here’s how to generate some content ideas:

  • What are your audience’s pain points? What content and insight can you offer that helps them with this?
  • Use blogs and articles to find topic inspiration. Ensure you incorporate your unique voice and perspective.
  • Find highly shared content/topics in your industry. Take inspiration or maybe you have an opinion or experience you can add to the conversation?
  • What are those who inspire you to post? And this doesn’t mean you should copy and paste it.
  • Do you have a contrarian take on a popular opinion? Just avoid causing offence.

The effort you put into building out a quality LinkedIn profile will continue to serve you overtime, making you more visible to hiring managers, recruiters, and industry leaders. 

Need some more advice on how to land your dream job? Click here.

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