Think about the attention to detail you put into your resume. You know that it needs to inform and impress. It must radiate competence and respectability. The question is -- should you treat your LinkedIn profile the same way?
I have seen plenty of LinkedIn profiles that are either incomplete or used to showcase the person's wit instead of their experience. These casual, funny profiles might amuse friends but will not impress hiring managers.
And believe me, hiring managers do look. I am the co-founder and CEO of Aha! and our team is growing incredibly fast. We review thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles every month. I have personally reviewed more than 3,000 candidate cover letters and unique profiles in the last few years. And while it is fine to show some personality, professionalism always wins.
Your LinkedIn profile can help you stand out from the crowd. It is your best opportunity to capture attention and convey what you have to offer.
Here are five things to pay attention to when updating your LinkedIn profile:
The text under your name is your introduction to the LinkedIn community. This is not the place to get funny or clever -- save that for your Twitter profile. Get down to business with your job title and a very short, highest-level overview of your experience. If you find yourself between jobs and do not have a current title, instead list the type of position you are trying to land -- "Digital Marketing Leader," for example, or "SaaS Customer Support Manager."
This section is the real difference-maker. Recruiters and hiring managers quickly scan to see if you are a potential match. So this summary should be rich in keywords yet free of meaningless jargon. It should be informative, engagingly conversational, and to the point. If that sounds difficult, that is because it is. But if you do it right, you will make that all-important first cut and then be able to impress prospective employers with a more in-depth view of your background.
Unlike in your resume, you do not need to get too detailed in your LinkedIn profile. Include the companies you worked for, in which capacity, and when. But you do not need extensive bullet lists -- a summary sentence or two for each position is fine. However, it is always good to focus on results. Quantifying the impact you made is a sure way to show why you would be a valuable addition to any company.
4. Education and accomplishments
Even if you are several years removed from college, list the educational institutions you attended. Be clear about whether you earned a degree or just attended a few classes. Highlight your awards, accomplishments, and special projects at school or on the job. Just be sure that they are either obviously relevant or that you tie those honors into your career experience and aspirations.
5. Interests, organizations, and volunteer work
Many people treat these as throw-away topics. They might not even realize they have "interests" in their profile. Little do they know, LinkedIn automatically populates this section with any organizations or influencers that the user follows. Check this area often to keep it tidy and pertinent. Highlight specific organizations and volunteer work to show more of your personal side while still staying professional.
You will want to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date as your role and responsibilities change, so consider setting a reminder for yourself to revisit it every few months. Review it thoroughly each time -- catch that one fatal typo or omission that could have cost you a career opportunity.
Above all, make sure you always clearly and accurately represent who you are and what you want to achieve.
What updates do you make to your LinkedIn profile?