LinkedIn Post 2: Creating a Distinguishable Profile

linkedinCreating a professional LinkedIn profile is a simple task that can take under 15 minutes.  Many LinkedIn users, however, fail to put in this minimal effort and place themselves at a disadvantage to their wiser, LinkedIn-engaged, colleagues and peers. A weak profile has immediate disadvantages: it detracts recruiters from reaching out and curtails one’s ability to grow a sizable network.

Weak profiles are ubiquitous on LinkedIn; these culprits were most likely pressured to join the herd, but never put the effort to understand the benefits of an online professional network (think of all those who maintain a lackadaisical twitter account). These foolish professionals sport minimal profiles-they display only their titles and employers, and they accompany these nondescript profiles with a tiny network. They might as well delete their accounts…

I present here four easy steps to creating a functional, distinguished profile:

  • “Fill it in”: A profile needs to look complete. This entails added descriptions to your positions, creating a summary, and other options such as skills and recommendations. Positions should have at least several bullet points of specific tasks. Company summaries are okay, but CANNOT replace your bullet points (I recommend short summaries for smaller, unknown companies).
  • Tell a Story: A profile should tell a story-the story of your career (your past, present and even your future). For some this is easy. For instance, a lawyer that has slowly moved up the ranks within a law firm does not need much additional explanation. However, if you have a varied background or a more niche career, than a summary can help paint a clearer picture.
  • Use Key Words and Phrases: This is crucial advice for attracting recruiters. LinkedIn offers complex searching capabilities that recruiters (like myself) use to pinpoint professionals. Such terms can include: “supply chain and procurement consulting,” “hospitality marketing and sales,” and “political digital media strategist.” The best profiles incorporate descriptive terms into their job descriptions and summaries. The best way to find useful terms is to find a job description for the job your currently hold and pull from there.
  • Personalize it: Some professionals use creative means to stick-out of the crowd. Be warned, though, this can easily make a profile look foolish (if in doubt, leave out). One user listed every class he took in undergrad (plain obnoxious and irrelevant); another user tried to tie his passion for surfing to his skills in management consulting (he missed the wave). On the other hand, I recall one professional who briefly mentioned his accomplished rowing profession (he had gone to the Olympics!). Rule of thumb: if you have an interesting trait, skill or past then seek a manner to professional illustrate this.

Things to Keep in Mind:
Profiles are normally skimmed (go to a couple random profiles and test yourself to see what catches your eye). As a recruiter, I quickly search for key words and phrases and will determine if I want to message a user in under a minute (if not less). Lengthy profiles can actually be a hindrance and provide an overload of information. I have seen summaries that look like essays and job descriptions that list ever minimal task they have every performed. It’s best to be concise but dense i.e. tell what’s most important in a crisp easily-digestible manner.

Lastly, there are your actual connections. Your connection number directly correlates to your searching ability and your visibility to recruiters (more on this in the next entry). A professional should have at least 100 connections.  If under 100 connections you look out of place; under 50, you look plain inept. Stayed tuned next entry for ways to builds your connections.

A distinguishable profile is within reach; don’t miss out on all the benefits that come with it…

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