Virtually every industry and every profession require a LinkedIn profile in order to land a new position, new clients, or generally to advance professionally. Founders need their profile optimized in order to show investors and strategic partners that they have the experience necessary to launch their startup to success. People applying for jobs need their profile optimized so that AI software will put their resume on the virtual table of HR. Those using LI for acquiring new clients need their profile to promote both themselves and their current position. And everyone else, who may be happy where they are but are looking for career growth, need to have their profile up to date so that recruiters can easily find them and introduce them to their new dream job.
Far too many people have amazing skills and experience but don’t know how to put that on LI to help advance their professional goals. Below we will review the key parts of your LinkedIn profile and how to improve them based on what you are looking to accomplish. People and AI will be scanning your LI profile, so we’ll be working to optimize it for both readers.
Let’s start from the top:
- Cover photo: You should have one.
- Founders: A banner with your logo and slogan is enough. Have someone on Fiverr put it together so it looks nice if you don’t feel comfortable in Canva.
- People between jobs: If you don’t have a current place of employment, have an image related to your industry.
- Everyone else: If your current place of employment has a marketing department, ask them for an image you can upload. They probably already created one and shared it, but we forgive you as long as you eventually upload it 😁
- Profile photo: A professional headshot is best. Even just a picture of you from the shoulders up on a blank background. Remember, this is your first impression so do your best to put your best foot forward. No sunglasses, please!
- Connections: Have as many as possible. The more people in your network the more likely someone is to see you searching for work/post a job that is relevant to you.
- Job seekers: Start sending connection request to people who have positions you want, share posts with valuable information in your industry, and otherwise can be helpful for helping you to grow.
- Location: Sometimes it helps to have your location and sometimes it hurts. If you live in a major city and are applying for local jobs, it helps to have your location, as employers want people who will be able to make it to the office easily without dealing with a long commute. If you are applying for remote jobs this is less important.
- Founders: This is your pitch – mostly for yourself, but also about your company.
- Job seekers: Explain what value you bring to the people who would employ you. Consider this section to be the cover letter to your resume. This is another location where you can add those valuable keywords that software is looking for if there isn’t another relevant place to put it in your experience (discussed below).
- Experience: This section is your key to getting an interview. Here you need to list as much as possible (without going overboard) about what you did for each position. When you apply for jobs, typically, a program is going to scan your resume/LI profile to see if you have keywords and terms that are relevant to the position you are applying for. If your experience section is empty or not completely filled out, you’re disqualifying yourself.
- Tips for listing your job experience:
- If you can, take the job description from the position that you applied for (it may be in a contract or other information that you received when you were interviewing for the position) and use that. You may want to shorten it to the 5 -7 most important skills/responsibilities you had so that it’s not too long.
- Look at job postings for similar positions and utilize keywords and phrases.
- Look at job postings for jobs you are applying for and make sure that your experience includes what is required for the position. This may mean rewriting your experience for previous positions to show that you have what they are looking for.
- Gaps in your resume. Gaps are okay – but you should explain them if they are longer than a year or so. Having a 3+ year gap raises too many questions about your employability (unless you can explain you took time off for raising kids/taking care of family). Were you doing something completely unrelated to your current job? That’s okay – list it. You can ALWAYS spin it to highlight tasks you did or skills you acquired that are relevant to your current profession.
- Tips for listing your job experience:
- Education: List any relevant certifications and training. Make sure to have your undergraduate degree even if the degree isn’t relevant to what you are working in now.
- Recommendations: Get them, give them. Endorsements and testimonials aren’t only important for businesses, they are important for your personal brand.
If you’re a founder or solopreneur looking for help polishing your startup’s marketing (or improving sales), we are here to help. Schedule a consultation with us and let’s get you ready for success!