Is your LinkedIn profile helping or hindering your career progression?

Is your LinkedIn Profile making the right impression? It’s been estimated that just over 90 percent of corporate recruiters use LinkedIn to find highly qualified candidates, and 85% of new hires used it to find their most recent position.

Since you don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression, you need a profile that showcases your talents, expertise and achievements to fully optimise your career prospects.

As part of your career health check, review your online presence and professional profile, especially on LinkedIn.

Audit Your Profile

Always take time to periodically review the content in your LinkedIn profile, along with your other social media accounts. Make certain it’s giving out the impression you intend. From your profile photo to the very last sentence, you should always ask yourself “What does the information in your profile say about me?”

Is Your Personal Brand on Point?

Reviewers need to be able to look at your profile and get a firm handle on who you are. This is your brand. Creating a positive brand image isn’t just for a large corporation. Your brand is all about what you stand for. It’s what others think of when they see or hear your name, and it has a direct impact on your marketability.

Is your brand image one of a trusted, competent professional, or does it send a mixed message? Careless mistakes, blurry or poorly cropped photos, and weak or ineffective copy of your profile are just a few of the many errors that can damage your brand’s image.

Don’t forget to customise the URL of your profile and swap out the random letters and numbers you were assigned and replace them with your actual name. Doing this with your profiles on other social media channels will help you create a more unified, and seamless brand image.

Only include pictures, videos, text and other content on your profile if they support your current and future career goals. If something doesn’t clearly demonstrate the value you would bring to an organisation or project, leave it out!

3 Tips for a Professional LinkedIn Profile

While there are a plethora of things you can do to maximise the use of your LinkedIn account, the following strategies will help you create a profile that delivers a positive impression, helps you manage your online reputation, and generates interest in you and your brand.

Use A Professional Quality Headshot

No more cropping candid, group photos. Instead, use a high resolution, a top-quality colour headshot for your profile picture. While the focus will be on your face, other details still count.

Wear clothing that would be the typical attire for someone occupying the role that you wish to play in your organisation. The background of the image also helps to set the tone, so have your picture taken in your company’s boardroom or other conference room.

Avoid harsh lighting and skip the flash on the camera, as it can cause you to squint or make your expression seem forced. Use photo editing software to reduce glare, eliminate red-eye and slightly increase the contrast for a more polished image.

Just as you want to customise your public URL with your name on LinkedIn and other social media channels, use the same headshot across all your social media profiles to increase the strength and consistency of your brand.

Let Your Passion Shine Through in Your Headline and Summary, but Don’t Forget About SEO

Two of the most valuable pieces of “real estate,” on your profile are the headline and summary sections. Resist the temptation to simply use your current official job title as your headline. Instead, choose keywords that will help you stand out in searches, that also show what you are capable of to build your brand!

When creating your summary, keep in mind that you aren’t confined to text alone to illustrate your talents, dedication and areas of excellence and accomplishment. Consider including short videos, infographics and even a photo essay to reveal your personality and strengths, as well as illustrate your impact in current and former organisations.

Include text that draws attention to some of your key achievements and skills to give decision-makers a clear picture of what you do well, and how you can help them grow their organisation.

Since LinkedIn is both a search engine and a networking platform, be certain to include popular keywords in the text of your headline and summary. Terms that are commonly used in both your industry and field will make it easier for you to rank high in search results, increasing your odds of being found by recruiters and others searching for someone with your background and skillset.

Of course, other sections of your profile, such as experience, skills and recommendations are also important. When completing these portions be certain to include information that relates to your current position, as well as your two most recent work experiences. Include other helpful details such as special awards and recognition that you have received from employers. It’s also a good idea to include facts and statistics that illustrate areas of exemplary performance.

Don’t Forget to Update Your Profile on a Regular Basis

A surprising number of individuals invest a lot of time and effort into creating a captivating LinkedIn Profile, only to let all that hard work go to waste by neglecting the site. You really can’t afford to “set it and forget it,” if you want to take full advantage of all the benefits that LinkedIn offers its users.

Once you’ve created your profile, search for and connect with other professionals, companies and groups that relate to your interests and areas of expertise. Keep in mind that the way that you should interact with others on this site is not the same as a more casual social media channels, such as Facebook. Avoid discussing personal or controversial subjects on this site.

Don’t forget to conduct at least an annual audit of your profile and update it with your latest positions and accomplishments.

Finally, if you have a way with words and enjoy writing, consider using the site’s publishing section to create articles that will build your brand, position you as a thought leader, and increase your reputation. Write helpful articles that solve problems or weigh in on a timely news item of interest to others in your industry, for the best results!

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool that can be used to help you build the life and career that you want, but only if you use it wisely!

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