Your LinkedIn profile is often the first thing recruiters will look at to learn more about you and your experience. So polishing up your profile can make all the difference when trying to establish lasting impressions.

Much like resume preparation, you want your profile to pop! Recruiters and hiring managers go through droves of applicants each day.  You need to ensure you do not get passed over because of a sloppy LinkedIn profile.

Here are some key aspects for enhancing your LinkedIn profile:

1.      Quality Headshots

Your profile picture should be indicative of how you present yourself in the workplace. This doesn’t mean you have to run out and get professional headshots taken. Instead, you want to make sure you are using a photo with a purposeful setting. Position yourself in such a way that you have complementary lighting as well as a simple backdrop. Try to avoid grainy group pictures that need to be awkwardly cropped to include only you.

“Statistics show that LinkedIn members with a photo receive far more engagement: 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests.” – LinkedIn.com

2.      Brief yet Informative

Again, recruiters go through tons of profiles.  Make sure to include key points at each position and leave it at that. You want to present the cliff notes of your background and not an autobiography. If your highlighted skills are of interest, they will reach out and ask for more in-depth information on your background.

3.      Creative Summary

Your summary statement is at the very top of your profile and you can use this to quickly grab people’s attention. Do not only say things like “Research Scientist – Cell Biology.” This is uninformative, broad, and lacks personality. Viewers want to not only see your professional experience, but they are also looking to get to know you as a person.

“You get 2,000 characters total for your summary, but only the first three lines display by default. That means you either need to pack the most essential information in up front, or you need to create suspense  This encourages profile viewers to click the Show more link… Customizing your headline also gets you to All-Star status (assuming you’ve completed all of the steps listed in the last section), which, according to LinkedIn, makes your profile 27 times more likely to appear in recruiter searches.” – Zapier.com

4.      Banner Image

Most people do not change the banner portion of their profile. While the default LinkedIn banner image is appropriate, spicing it up is a great way to stand out from other profiles. You could include cover art from a paper you were on or your favorite fluorescent image of cells you work with. The key is to keep it professional.

Linked In banner image best practices

 

5.      Joining Societies and Groups

There are thousands of society and group pages on LinkedIn. Join pages that are applicable to your work, such as the American Chemical Society or local groups for networking. You’ll be surprised at how many connections you can make online through common groups.

“There are around 2 million groups on LinkedIn and nearly 90% of users are a member of at least one group. It’s like a field ready to harvest when you join groups where your perfect market is and with a small amount of engagement and adding value you can start generating clicks through to your profile. Don’t make groups all about you and what you’re currently doing but add value to its members and they will want to check you out!” – Linkedin.com

6.      Link to Other Digital Work

You worked hard for your publications!  They should be showcased. You can include publications and patents on your LinkedIn profile.  You can also add in a link to your Google Scholar profile or e-portfolio. Make sure to cross-pollinate as much as possible so that it is very easy for viewers to find your publications.

7.      Keep your Information Up to Date

This point cannot be stressed enough! If you have a new position, location, certification, etc., you need to update your profile with this information. Including all your updated information makes it much easier for recruiters to identify jobs that fit you best.  It also makes it easy for them to contact you. Make sure things such as your email and phone number are updated so that you aren’t getting job listings sent to an email you never open anymore.

The Reward of Enhancing Your LinkedIn Profile:

Your online presence is a critical component to initial sourcing for positions. Setting up a professional LinkedIn profile with key information and easy-to-access links to your portfolio is imperative. Having a sloppy profile can give recruiters and employers the wrong first impression. Shoot for a blend of essential information and personality.  This way viewers see you and your experience. Try and customize your profile as much as possible! Your goal is to entice viewers with your skills and expertise in such a way that you are memorable.

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