12 Changes that will make you a LinkedIn All-Star (pt. 2)
Welcome back Boss Babes! If you followed last week’s post you already have an awesome LinkedIn profile, but in this post we are going to propel you into the next level. Regardless of where you are in your career, or how happy you are at your current job, an all-star profile is a huge asset. There are so many opportunities (beyond employment) within our network that we aren’t aware of. A strong presence on LinkedIn can create the avenue those opportunities need to find you. If you do start looking for a new job, your profile is ready to go and can serve as a basis for your resume (which should be more concise than your profile.)
The (Not-so) Basic Components of a LinkedIn Profile
This handy section is tucked into your summary, which emphasizes the need for a compelling statement. If your first sentence doesn’t grab a viewer’s attention, they won’t expand the summary and see your fancy uploads at the end. (LinkedIn, if you’re reading this, media needs its own clear section.)
When you’re not web savvy (or don’t have the time to build a portfolio site) this is a great place to feature your work. You can link to a file, photo, slideshow from a list of 400 providers, including YouTube, Instagram, and Slideshare. There is also a “direct” upload option, with a 15 MB file size limit. To add media, you click the same edit button you would for your summary:
Scroll to the bottom and you’ll see this:
- Do update and showcase your latest projects. It’s great to show some history, but you want to keep things fresh by sharing ongoing development. If the last upload is from over one year ago, I’m curious what you’ve worked on since!
- Do make sure they’re print quality. We often neglect to make sure that items for web viewing are at the highest resolution possible. This is your work, and you want it to be a crisp representation of your talent!
- Do include video if you have it. If you work in an industry that is better understood through demonstration, this is an opportunity for creativity.
- Don’t skip it! You can feature a lot here, it doesn’t have to be a graphic document. If you’ve published a paper, you can share a sample. If your work consists of complex reports, do the same.
- Don’t upload the default. As with any files being shared to a public location, I recommend adding a watermark or a similar identifier to mark the work as yours. It can be as simple as a header/footer, or it can be fully branded in your signature colors to match your personal brand.
- Don’t take sole credit. If you worked as part of a team, your file should clearly indicate that. This is a great way to feature collaborative soft skills in the context of a great result.
LinkedIn hasn’t specified a limit on quantity of media, so this leaves things wide open for you to share a great selection of work. I’m in the process of refreshing my own media selection, so you’ll notice that my screenshot only shows one file – my resume. If you’re convinced you don’t have anything to add to this section, a resume is a great starting point.
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This segment is as important as the list in your resume, but is even better because you have more space! You can list as many as 50 skills, and you’re not restricted to hard skills (specific programs, etc.) While your connections can endorse or ‘upvote’ you for skills, you’re in complete control of the order they’re listed on your profile.
To add and edit skills on your profile:
Scroll down and click ‘Add Skills’:
Start typing and LinkedIn will show you a list of suggestions. Note that you’re not required to use one of them and can type fully custom labels if you choose.
To choose your featured skills, simply drag and drop using the grip (3 stacked lines) on the right side of the list.
More notes on Skills:
- Don’t waste space listing duplicates. Many users make the mistake of listing the same program under several common names (i.e. Adobe Photoshop vs. Photoshop), but it’s more valuable to list it once and free up space for more interesting soft skills.
- Be specific. Because LinkedIn is already a standardized format, you don’t have to concern yourself with how it looks. Unlike your printed resume, you can type longer descriptions without worrying about how well they fit into the larger list.
If the Media section is for featuring your ongoing work, the Accomplishments section is your chance to highlight the things you’ve done outside of the work environment. This is your home for languages, awards, certificates, courses, and way more. The difference between this section and Media is that it only supports text entry and links, so you aren’t able to attach images. However, you can feature a project in both sections and include a line in the blurb referring to the media above. You can add an accomplishment from the small menu to the right at the top of your profile, or by scrolling down to it:
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Or as I like to think about it, evergreen references. (Side note, the term “evergreen” applies to content that doesn’t date itself and maintains relevance. So technically, these aren’t evergreen, but they are good for a few years!) I’ll admit my own profile is lacking recommendations – I only have one, and it’s from several years ago. Yikes. If you have none, don’t worry, we’ll do this part together!
You don’t need a ton of recommendations, instead, aim for a select number of great ones. These written recommendations signal that others value you and your work enough to take the time to share their thoughts. Asking for recommendations doesn’t have to be awkward, either. You can start small by partnering with a coworker you’ve collaborated with to swap recommendations. You can also reach out to previous employers, but I would only recommend doing this if you left on good terms and have maintained a connection. Check out this great article on The Muse for some tips on requesting recommendations.
An important part of professional networking is visibility, and posting updates is a great way to organically reinforce relationships. Let’s pause for a minute to discuss the term “organic.” It’s a flexible word, but I want to clarify that in this context (and any time in reference to networking/media) it means “natural,” as in not forced. We’ve all had that awkward moment when we’re interested in a job and find that we know someone at the company. Now imagine that same person as someone you interact with regularly on Instagram.
This is the same concept. That foundation of interaction means you’re more likely to write a message that sounds like you and doesn’t feel like an awkward handshake.
LinkedIn updates are not Facebook statuses. They’re not for sharing your current whereabouts, unless you’re at a conference and want to connect. It’s more valuable to share relevant industry news, helpful articles, or your own writing if you have it. The idea is to show your interest in what you do, foster conversations among your connections, and share pieces of your own progress along the way.
The last piece of a LinkedIn profile I’ll be covering is the Interests list. This displays any companies you follow and groups you’re a part of. Interests provide yet another chance to show the depth of your personality. Search LinkedIn for the companies you dream of working for, or even the places that make your favorite products and follow them. This will both round out your profile and populate your timeline with content that you can then share to your connections.
Another piece included under Interests is your group memberships. Joining groups is a great way to gain exposure and connect with more people, both in and out of your industry. We’ll talk more about group participation later – for now, go find a few you’re interested in and join!
Here’s your recap:
- Leverage the Media section to feature your best work and make your resume easily accessible.
- Define your Skills clearly, and list any that are relevant to both your job and your interests.
- Increase the depth of your profile with Accomplishments by including any courses or pet projects you’ve completed.
- Recommendations are always an asset, so don’t shy away from requesting them from those you have established a relationship with.
- Show some personality by sharing Updates relevant to your industry, your career path, and your interests – you never know who will see and comment on it.
- Interests are a quick & easy way to show personality and make more connections.
And that’s a wrap!
We covered a lot of ground in this two-part series, and though there is always more to do to boost your personal brand, I know this will give you a head start. I’d love to hear about your results, so if you follow these steps, leave a comment and share.
Did I miss anything? Leave a comment with your best LinkedIn advice, and of course, let’s connect: LinkedIn.com/in/ElyDuran
P.S. Here’s a great step-by-step from Natalie on the uptowork blog. She shares some technical tips on writing your actual entries and also received insight from a LinkedIn insider!