Dear Sam: I am new to social media, but I have been working to build my LinkedIn profile because I heard it is important as a professional and potential job seeker. I would be interested in having you look at my profile briefly to see if you could quickly identify anything I could do to improve how I present myself through this platform. Thank you in advance. – Jennifer
Dear Jennifer: That’s wonderful you have recognized the purpose and power of LinkedIn and are using it to your advantage as you engage in your search. With more than 15 million active job postings, 20,000 US employers on LinkedIn, and 85% of jobs secured through networking, it’s hard to argue why a candidate would not use LinkedIn. If you are going to have a profile and work diligently to improve its effectiveness, I would recommend a few things to improve your LinkedIn footprint.
Take a moment to customize your LinkedIn URL, eliminating the automatically assigned numbers and letters after your name. To do this, go to your settings and privacy menu, select “Visibility,” and then “Edit your public profile.” You would then click on the pencil icon next to your LinkedIn URL to edit to remove those numbers and letters. Try to use only your name, adding a hyphen between your first and last name if needed, or using something like first-middle initial-last to secure a streamlined LinkedIn URL.
Take the opportunity to customize your LinkedIn header image, choosing an option that reflects your professional persona. You can use a tool such as Canva to design a custom LinkedIn header or incorporate a photo you own that reflects who you are as a professional.
While allowing LinkedIn to pull in your current employment title and employer into the headline area is acceptable, don’t feel limited to using that approach. Think about the headline under your name as how you frame your candidacy for everyone on LinkedIn. If your current title does that justice, perhaps that is fine, but if not, consider an alternate headline.
Consider turning on creator mode if you wish to produce content to share with your network. This changes the primary action when people go to your LinkedIn profile to follow instead of connect, which may be beneficial as you continue to expand your network, especially if you are a content producer.
Take full advantage of your About section, which provides 2,600 characters of space versus the 2,000 you will have in the professional experience action. The About section should be akin to your qualification summary or elevator pitch and immediately position your brand in readers’ minds.
You have done a good job within your professional experience section, presenting an overview of your roles and how you added value. I applaud your ability to communicate succinctly, and I like how you formatted your accomplishments in bullet points and your responsibilities in a very brief paragraph. This is how hiring managers expect to see your content, although, on LinkedIn, you can get away with all bullet points if you prefer. While there is no automatically formatted bullet point option on LinkedIn, you can use a variety of symbols by copying and pasting them into your profile.