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Creating a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

1. Your Picture

Firstly, your picture should be of your face. Ensure you choose a simple headshot where you are looking straight ahead. Adding a profile photo can increase your views by 14 times compared to someone without.

2. Your Headline

Within your headline, you have 120 characters at the beginning of your profile to describe to everyone what you do. Many people simply put their official job title but choose descriptive and compelling keywords that make you look as marketable as possible and also to help you be discovered by the right people. After all, LinkedIn is a search engine.

Some examples of effective headlines are “Brand Marketing, PR, Communications Manager” or "Recruiter, HR, Talent Management Professional” Remember, your headline can be very practical, especially if you are currently looking for work.

3. Your Summary

When it comes to your summary, this is your chance to get creative. You are able to include high-resolution photos, an infographic or even a video presentation you may have given. This is the section where you should put the most effort into creating a unique and captivating summary section. After all, these are the first sentences people will read and you have a very limited amount of time to get the reader’s attention and make them want to find out more.

4. Your Experience

This is the main body of your LinkedIn profile. The same as your CV, this is the area where you are able to showcase your experience, expertise and skills. You can also add where you have previously worked, for how long and summarise your roles and functions. It is important to include your current positions and a least two other positions.

5. Keywords and SEO

Try to include keywords throughout your entire profile, especially in the Summary and Experience sections, for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes. When recruiters use LinkedIn, they will use certain industry specific keywords. These are terms that will ensure you show up in their search results within LinkedIn.

When it comes to understanding keywords, chose the words and phrases people in your target market might use to search with someone with your background, experience and service offering. Search a careers page of some potential employers you are interested in and pick common keywords around that particular job or industry.

6. Skills and Endorsements

This feature enables users to endorse their connections for the skills they have listed in the Skill & Expertise section of their profile. Although you can include up to 50 skills, 3-5 is generally a good number. Generally, people are only interested in dealing with specialists, if you list too many skills you may look like a generalist rather than a specialist.

7. Recommendations

Recommendations are one of the most valuable tools in building up your reputation in the job marketplace. However, recommendations will not write themselves, you need to be proactive about asking for them, following up and keeping on top of it. Recommendations can be from a range of people, employers, colleagues, mentors, satisfied clients or anyone who has worked with you and benefited from your skills or advice.

Begin with a strategy, ask each person to speak about a particular skill or highlights certain experiences with as much detail as possible. Help out those writing your recommendation by giving them this insight, for instance if you are looking to highlight your leadership skills, remind them of the times you successfully led a project or team.

8. Groups and Associations

Groups are an excellent way to build relationships and network with people who are undertaking similar work or have similar interests as you. With an abundance of groups to choose from, there will definitely be some groups of interest. Join as many relevant groups as you can and contribute to the conversation. A great place to start is to join your college or university’s alumni group. When contributing to discussions, try to lend your expertise to benefit the conversation and show your interest and your value.

9. Ensure Your Profile is Fully Complete

If your LinkedIn profile is fully complete it will appear 40 times more in search results. Here is a list of LinkedIn’s definition of a 100% fully completed profile:

Your industry and location

An up-to-date current position with a description

Two past positions

Your education

Your skills, ideally a minimum of 3

A profile photo

At least 50 connections

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