With over 470 million users, LinkedIn has emerged as the digital hub for professionals across the globe.
Replacing the old school resume with a nifty customizable profile url, and outdating the rolodex in favor of Connections, LinkedIn is where today’s business professionals connect.
For entrepreneurs, the impact of maintaining a standout LinkedIn profile can extremely influential, as prospective clients and investors often vet companies and founders through social platforms.
LinkedIn offers the ideal platform features to showcase one’s professional expertise and network influence in ways other social apps are lacking.
But how can one make the most of their LinkedIn presence?
Is simply having an account enough to start landing dream job offers and big name clients?
Or do you need more than a simple listing of your previous employment positions to rise to the top?
Here’s five of tips for millennials looking to leverage the power of LinkedIn to turn their professional dreams into reality:
Invest in a professional profile picture.
According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, profiles with photos are 21 times more likely to be viewed and have nine times more connections than profiles without. If you’re ready to rock the professional world, it’s time to ditch that grainy Facebook profile pic you cropped your drinking buddies out of. Want to be regarded as a professional? You better look like one.
While it may be tempting to throw your high school graduation pic up (we’ve all seen that profile), investing a recent profile picture is a must. Now one likes that awkward introduction conversation (especially not kicking off a job interview) that starts off with, “You look nothing like your photo…” If you’ve got an extra $200-500, consider commissioning a professional photographer to take a recent headshot for your profile.
Think long and hard about your headline.
LinkedIn offers users the opportunity to customize their profile headline, where by default, your current position is utilized for the headline.
When crafting a headline, consider keyword usage that recruiters and prospective clients may utilize when searching users. For example, my default headline reads “CEO at Becker Marketing & PR”, but my customized headline is much more keyword-rich: “Marketing & PR Consultant, Millennial Influencer, Digital Strategist”.
Whatever you do, don’t put “unemployed” or “entrepreneur” as your headline. Be specific about what it is you actual do – the industries you have experience in, the markets you service, etc. Check out LinkedIn Influencers whose careers you admire and craft a customized, detailed headline in the same manner.
Start publishing on LinkedIn.
Publishing articles on LinkedIn can be a great way to build your personal brand as an industry leader. LinkedIn Publisher posts with be displayed on your LinkedIn profile, and visible to non-connections. By adding keywords, sharing your articles with your followers, and focusing your content on market or industry specifics, you can greatly enhance your LinkedIn visibility with relatively low input.
Not sure how to get started with LinkedIn Publisher? Click here to learn how.
Add multimedia visuals.
Thanks to recent LinkedIn updates, you can now add a variety of media files to your profile under the Education, Experience, and Summary sections.
Consider adding event photographs, video portfolio, and other visual aides to compatible profile sections, along with editing your profile header to reflect your organization or industry affiliation. Such additions will help bring your work history “to life” and help your profile stand out among the seas of digitally-savvy users. A well-developed, interactive project portfolio says much more than simply writing “I’m good at my work”.
Thanks to LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of the SlideShare presentation platform, you can now easily integrate its features within your profile. Click here to learn more about using SlideShare on LinkedIn.
Don’t neglect Skills and Endorsements.
While rather unconventional (how many of us have received endorsements from people we don’t even know?), LinkedIn endorsements are very important in ensuring profile exposure.
Recent studies have shown that LinkedIn profiles with five or more skills listed are contacted up to 33 times more, and receive up to 17 times more profile views. Turns out, LinkedIn’s algorithm likes endorsements and prioritizes profiles with more endorsed skills over those without. So, not only does having a collection of skill endorsements make you look both well-connected and competent, but it also ensures you get more traffic on your profile page.
You can also rearrange your skill order by going to “View Profile” and scrolling down to the “Featured Skills & Endorsements” section. LinkedIn suggests listing your skills in the “order of the strengths you want to be known for, and LinkedIn will do the rest by targeting endorsers for those top skills you’ve prioritized.”
Ready to revamp your LinkedIn profile?
Check out LinkedIn’s official cheat sheet for building a powerful LinkedIn profile: Click here to download a high resolution version.