Beginner’s Guide to Build a Better LinkedIn
Beginner’s guide to build a better linkedIn.
LinkedIn. You’ve heard of it, you probably have a profile, but you might not know how to use it to your advantage.
I’m here to help.
LinkedIn has 810 million members, making it the largest professional networking site in the world. Over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, and over 20 million job listings are posted. This means that learning how to optimize your LinkedIn profile is one of the most important things you should do in a job search.
I could write an eBook about how to best use LinkedIn. Luckily, I won’t be doing that today. Instead, this article is directed toward those who don’t know where to begin.
Let’s set up your LinkedIn profile.
First thing’s first:
LinkedIn is like your resume on steroids. Everything on your profile should match your personal brand and tell a cohesive story about who you are and what you offer.
Your profile picture should be a professional photo that shows your whole face. Glamour shots, pictures with other people, artsy photos—save those for Instagram or Facebook.
I could write a whole blog about crafting the perfect headline. But in brief, there are three main things you want to consider:
1) Write your headline toward the future and the role you want to have, not necessarily what your current role is. 2) Include your brand and what makes you unique.
3) Be specific.
For example: “Music teacher at Lovelace Elementary” is much less descriptive than “Enthusiastic music educator, shaping the minds of tomorrow ~ Certified XYZ ~ Teacher ~ Admin ~ Composer.”
If you do include a banner image, have it connect to your career somehow.
The About Section can be more personal. This is where you expand on your headline and talk about yourself. Write about your strengths, values, experience—anything that creates the story of “you” and builds on your brand.
For your Career Section, you have two choices:
1) Make it your resume, but in LinkedIn form.
2) Create new content.
If you already have a great resume, use that and call it a day. But if you feel like you could explain your career experience better in a different format, then do that. If you need resume help, we have coaches you can ask.
*Pro Tip: Internships can be used as career experience if you’re young OR if you’re making a career shift and the internship is in line with your new career.
When filling out the Education Section, always add a graduation date. If you never graduated, include the school you went to and then state “studies toward [BA in Psychology],” or whatever your degree was. This will help connect you with other alumni and fill out your whole education story.
The Skills Section can fit 40 skills, with 3 pinned skills. Fill this section out. The more keywords (skills) you have, the easier it is for people to find you on LinkedIn. Compound keywords are always better (think “career development coaching” vs. “coaching”).
Pro Tip: The LinkedIn algorithm weighs skill endorsements from bosses the highest. If you can, reach out to your former and current employers for endorsements.
One of the great things about a LinkedIn profile page is its versatility. You can add relevant volunteer experience, coursework, or accomplishments if you have them. Just make sure they are all in line with your personal brand.
You’ve set up your LinkedIn profile—woohoo! Now it’s time to build your Network. Connect with everyone you know (colleagues, bosses, family, friends, alumni).
*Pro Tip: Send a personalized message with every connection request, especially when connecting with people you may not know personally. Let them know who you are and why you want to connect. This will benefit you in the long run, especially if you need to use your network later.
Hopefully this guide helped you begin creating a unique LinkedIn profile. If you need more direction than just this blog, check out our LinkedIn coaching sessions.