You Can Do It: Writing your LinkedIn Profile

Last time I posted about writing your own resume.  Yes, you can do it!  Here’s how.  You can also write your own LinkedIn profile.  A good LinkedIn profile is becoming as important as your resume.  There are a lot of similarities, and if you can write your resume, you can definitely write your own LinkedIn profile.  Here are my notes on how to have an effective LinkedIn profile.

Make it look a lot like your resume:  You just spent all that time working on your resume, now incorporate that into your profile.

Photo:  Put up a recent photo that looks professional and engaging.  No, not the photo cropped from your wedding with someone else’s cropped torso in the periphery.  Also, not one of you in your car.  (A Cranky Recruiter aside:  I see so many LinkedIn profile photos from the vantage point of a car’s dashboard.  Makes me wonder, was someone so mad, they ran out to their car and snapped a selfie so they could start looking for a new job?)  Take a photo of yourself when you are looking good, have good lighting and can say cheese for the camera.

Contact Info:  When setting up your profile, make sure you put complete contact information on your profile.  This can be kept private, but if you want someone to find you here, it is good if they can contact you.  The email you use is the one InMail messages will be routed to, so use one that you can use for LinkedIn messaging.  Your work email might not be best, but if you only look at your work email inbox, putting a secondary, unread email address could backfire too.  I experience this all the time–especially when I have found the ideal candidate on LinkedIn, but have no way to contact them.  Maddening!!!

Background photo:  Find a picture you can put up that reflects something about you.  My profile has a vineyard scene behind me.  I think that makes sense.  The default background is fine, but very uninspired.  Doing a random scan of my connections, approximately 90% of profiles use the default, so that is quite functional.  If you have a social media presence, I think you can find something to put up for your background picture.  You would be in the 10% club of unique background photo profiles.

About:  Write a summary of your experience and what types of positions you are looking for.  Of course, you are probably gainfully employed, so write the summary with that in mind.  Make it sing the praises of your work accomplishments, without it sounding like you are looking for a new job.  Adding a skills section is smart, as is adding information about your educational background, if applicable.

Experience:  This will be pulled straight from your resume.  Put company, title, employment length, and work location.  Then add relevant information within each job.  This can be a paragraph per role, or a paragraph per key responsibilities, depending on length of employment in each role.  Keep it relevant.  If you’ve been working for 20 years in the field you want to continue in, you don’t need to list old, irrelevant jobs outside of your industry.

Education:  List school, degree, any additional accolades (Summa Cum Laude, president of student government, study abroad courses, etc.), and if relevant, date of graduation.

Licenses and Certifications:  Are you an MS?  Put it on there please.  Just got your WSET Level II?  Put it on there.  Are you a certified Cicerone?  Put it on there.  CPA:  PLEASE!  Put down relevant licenses and certifications that add to your marketability.

Skills and Endorsements:  List relevant skills.  Now for endorsements, I think this is a bit of crowdsourcing, but once you put your profile together people can endorse you on the profile.  So put down skills, and hopefully the endorsements will follow.

Recommendations:  If you can, ask former colleagues and managers to recommend you on LinkedIn.  The request process is pretty easy, and if they do not want to do it, they can easily ignore the request.  If you are asking for recommendations, be good and give recommendations for others when asked.

Groups:  Link to some groups of interest to you.

Following:  Get some follows on there for organizations, celebrities, or companies that interest you.

Accomplishments:  If you hold a board seat, have published an article or research paper, have secondary language skills or are hold a patent, put it down.  There are several things you can list, so use this area to enhance your profile.

Interests:  Are you part of a trade group?  Do you like to follow Mr. Wonderful?  Show your interests here.  Yes, just like on your resume make sure they are relevant and give a positive impression of you.  But some personality is good to show here too.

Connections:  Once you’ve put your profile together, link up to your friends, family and colleagues.  The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the more likely you will make more.  The funny thing people like to say is that they are very promiscuous on LinkedIn.  They connect with anyone and everyone.  Doing this,  you’ll be more easily findable by recruiters, like me!  Isn’t that one of the big reasons you are on LinkedIn.

And keep it current!  Go into your profile from time to time to make sure it is up to date and relevant.


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