You can check Facebook or you can up your LinkedIn game. Ask yourself which is better for your career or your business.
OK, so LinkedIn, right? Elevating your profile doesn’t have to take hours. You could do it in the few minutes it takes to scan social media feeds or drink your morning coffee.
It’s increasingly important to be present and active on LinkedIn. First, there are more eyes on profiles and more contacts to be made. CEO Jeff Weiner reported in October that the professional site now has 645 million users, a gain of 70 million users over last year.
Plus, people get jobs via LinkedIn. Weiner said more than 4 million LinkedIn members were hired through the site in fiscal year 2019, a 32 percent yearly increase.
Here are five LinkedIn profile upgrades that will take just a few minutes:
1. Get a headshot
If your LinkedIn headshot is old or you’ve been using that faceless avatar, it’s time for a new professional photo. LinkedIn says profiles with headshots are 23 times more likely to turn up in searches by recruiters, hiring managers and more, and yield nine times the connection requests.
You don’t need to spend a ton on a professional photographer, but you will need to enlist the help of a friend or colleague — no selfies, please.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Natural light is best and so is a neutral background.
- Get out of your crowded cubicle or cluttered home office and find a bare wall.
- Ask the photographer to make sure your face fills most of the frame.
- And smile.
2. Upload cover art
Don’t let that banner behind your beautiful headshot go to waste. Upload cover art, just as you would on Facebook — only something that conveys who you are professionally.
Maybe it’s the skyline of your city, your alma mater’s campus, the products you sell or something that represents your services.
“I’ve had a profile for many years, but never used a cover photo until recently. When I did finally upload one, it made a major difference,” said Abby Witkin, a marketing program manager at Wells Fargo in Boston, who chose a cityscape photo with a modern aesthetic she likes. “My profile now has a visual identity and makes a clear visual connection to my work and who I am, which is especially important as a marketer.”
You will want to ensure your photo doesn’t infringe on copyrights, so use one that you took yourself or that you found on a royalty-free stock photo website like Pexels.com, Pixabay.com or Unsplash.com, all of which have thousands of free photos.
3. Write the right headline
Go for headlines with straightforward job titles over more creative self-given titles like “Social Media Guru” or “Helping Leaders Lead with Purpose.” You want to be searchable, after all. And recruiters and others search based on job function and hierarchy.
Think Senior Communications Strategist, Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Director of Finance and so on.
If you are between jobs, use a more generic form of your last title or that of the kind of job you are hoping to land. For example: Financial Analyst, Customer Service Manager, Experienced Copywriter and so on.
4. Connect your jobs and schools to those organizations’ pages
You want your LinkedIn profile to be scannable and tell a story visually. That’s what these quick tweaks are about. Likewise, you want those who come to your page to quickly see and hopefully remember where you’ve worked or earned your degrees.
In your “Experience” and “Education” sections, make sure your entries connect to corresponding organizations’ LinkedIn pages.
For example, don’t just type in Bank of America or Ohio State without scrolling down to select the page with that organization’s nice logo. Your profile will look better for it and provide more information, which is especially important for lesser known companies and schools.
Or maybe you like all those gray boxes … yeah, I didn’t think so.
5. Add media links
If you wrote blog posts for one company, link to them under the job role. If you gave a TV interview related to your work or company, post it with that job entry. If you worked on a company video or designed a website, add those links where appropriate.
Adding media is a great way to keep your page current and always give people a reason to come back to your profile and check you out.
The bottom line
Details and visuals matter on LinkedIn and, in just a few minutes, you can upgrade your profile to better tell your career story.
5 Ways to Keep LinkedIn Top of Mind
1. Download the LinkedIn mobile app, so you have access wherever you are.
2. Make a habit around checking in or updating LinkedIn. Maybe it’s over your morning coffee or tea.
3. Put “check LinkedIn” on your calendar once or twice a week to help you get into and keep the habit.
4. Any time you update your resume, make sure to update LinkedIn. In fact, LinkedIn should be updated first.
5. Stop saying “I should be better about LinkedIn,” and just do it.