Your LinkedIn profile can (when used properly) be your most valuable tool for communication within your professional community and prospective clients. But there are some crucial mistakes many users make on this platform – don’t be one of them! Be smart, and let LinkedIn do the hard work for you.
Make sure you upload your most recent corporate headshot. If you do not have one – organise a friend with a good quality camera to take one for you. Ensure it is professional (corporate clothing, nothing too loud or not what you would wear in an office) with a simple background – don’t get fancy. The simpler and most up-to-date – the better. Your headshot should also be of a high resolution – nothing shows that you care less about your professional image than a blurry headshot!
LinkedIn has a great feature now that allows you to update your cover image (much like Facebook and Twitter). This is a great opportunity for you to enhance your headshot and inject some personality into your profile.
A cover image should be a complimentary background image. It should be generic so it doesn’t distract too much from your headshot or textual information. Again – any imagery you feature on your LinkedIn profile should be of a high resolution.
Make sure you update your experience every couple of months – this may sound like overkill, but social media presences need to be up-to-date as they are being checked more frequently than your resume ever will be. If you have opportunities to consolidate information, take that opportunity to make it snappier and easier to read.
Make sure you are writing from first person. Avoid third person at all costs! It is a common error that many make on this platform and doesn’t read correctly. Ensure any significant projects that you have been part of (for example: ‘Company rebrand 2016’) are featured. You worked hard – so you need to be showing these achievements off!
If you have had multiple roles within a year at the same company then it is best to consolidate them by simply stating your current role.
However – if your job title has changed due to promotions over a longer course of time (longer than a year for each) with the same company then you should show this as it reflects career growth.
Also make sure you have a description under every position you list. But keep their word lengths consistent. Even if it is one line for each position! It is better to have a short and snappy summary over a long-winded explanation that no one will take the time to read.
LinkedIn messaging is a great tool that allows you to contact other users in a private way. However –often individuals will rely on it for ‘cold calling’ and it comes across as impersonal and ‘spammy’. Make sure you utilise this tool when you genuinely want to contact another professional. A great question to ask yourself before using this feature is, is this message adding value to the person I’m contacting?
The same rules apply on this platform as they do in a corporate environment – use it the same way you would when writing a professional email and you will be on the right path.
Make sure the companies listed under your professional experience are up-to-date. Sometimes companies undergo rebrands, even after you have left, so it is best to update these so if someone is researching you they don’t look into a company name that no longer exists.
These simple tips will help you put your best faces forward via this clever professional platform. Reflect the best you amongst your professional peers and feel confidence in your communication dealings.