Readying Your LinkedIn Profile For 2020
A new year - and a new decade - are just around the corner. Are you ready? Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some of our top December activities that can help you hit the ground running January 1st. Since we are preparing for your 2020 professional goals, we’re going to start with your new annual tradition: the LinkedIn Audit.
What is LinkedIn?
With all of the social media platforms available today, it’s easy to see how many people overlook LinkedIn. Many people prefer to only be on the platforms that their friends and family are on, since that’s where all of the news and social sharing occurs. The error here is that where your personal contacts and your professional contacts are, is not necessarily the same place. Nor should they be!
Personal social media platforms like Facebook are great for sharing personal updates, family news, and social topics you are personally interested in. Professional social media platforms like LinkedIn are great for sharing your experience, expertise and education with other professionals who might be interested in working with you on current or future projects.
Why should I be on LinkedIn?
I’m always a little bit surprised when I get asked this question, or when I hear someone say; “I got invited to connect on LinkedIn so I accepted and created an account! ….But I didn’t fill out any information on my profile.” 🤦♀️ (I love you Mom!)
LinkedIn can serve a number of different purposes, since it acts as a digital resumé for your professional experience.
It can help you fill job openings and recruit talent to your business.
It can help you make connections at an organization you are interested in partnering with.
It can help attract new job opportunities or facilitate a career change.
It can help position you as an expert in your field, helping other professionals who could benefit from your expertise find you.
And if used proactively it keeps your professional connections in an environment you control - not tied to your work email at your current company! (We touch on the importance of this in Networking Pt. 1 - Tips & Tricks.)
Performing a LinkedIn Profile Audit
Now that we’ve covered the what and the why, let’s look at how to optimize your new or existing profile on this professional networking platform! We suggest having your profile open in another window so you can tackle each of these areas one at a time.
1. Customize Your URL
LinkedIn automatically creates a URL for your profile when your account is created, and it is your name followed by a series of numbers. Customize your URL for a clean and professional link that can easily be shared with others. You can do this from your LinkedIn profile by selecting the “Edit Public Profile & URL” button to the right of your cover photo, or by following the instructions found here.
2. Pick The Right Profile Photo
Your profile photo should clearly display your face, free of sunglasses, hats or other obstacles that might otherwise make you difficult to recognize. Remember the connections you keep here on LinkedIn know you from a professional setting, so glamor selfies and vacation photos aren’t going to help them identify you.
Not sure if the photo you have selected is a good one to use? Check out the free analysis at Snappr! It gives you a general rating, then breaks down how you can improve.
TIP: Don’t have a great place to take your photo? Don’t worry about the background! Use the handy background removal tool at Remove.bg and use a free design tool like Canva to apply your ideal background color or texture!
3. Add A Cover Photo
While the LinkedIn generic cover is fine, if there is an opportunity to customize you should always take it.
I use the cover photo space to share Solutions On 2nd, but you can choose from a number of free-to-use images from sites like Unsplash to customize your profile to meet your professional esthetic.
4. Craft Your Headline
If you don’t want to use this space for your current title and company, think of your Headline as the perfect place to promote your 2020 professional goals.
Do you share a lot of links and articles, and actively comment on others? Try a call-to-action for people who see your posts and comments. Think simple phrases like; “Hiring Now!” and “➕Follow to learn more!”
Looking for new career opportunities? Use this space to describe your background, interests and/or location. Examples include:
Digital Marketing Strategist for Non-Profits
Experienced Hospitality Executive in Chicago.
Looking to expand your personal brand? Use this space with a professional combination of emojis and key words to help represent your specialties. Examples include:
Data Analyst 📈 Business Executive 📑 Keynote Speaker 🎤
Artist 🎨 Copywriter 📝 Brand Developer 👩💻
5. Focus Your Summary
The summary section is akin to your resumé’s cover letter. It should include a few brief paragraphs about your professional experience and interests, plus any other information a potential employer or client may find valuable. While it might not feel comfortable to write about why you are so great to work with, you can always recruit the help of a trusted friend or coworker and ask them to edit your drafted summary before posting it.
6. Share Your Experience
List at least your last three employers. Depending on your experience and their relevance, you can omit employers older than that if they aren’t relevant to your current field and experience. If you have been with the same company over a long period and have moved around, you can nest your different positions within the same listing for a clean and clear picture of your time with that company.
7. Skills To Pay The Bills
With your 2020 professional goals in mind, review and revisit the Skills you have listed for your profile. Are they relevant to what you are currently - and what you hope to be - doing? Now is your chance to add any that might be missing!
If you went through your profile as you reviewed each of these items, you’ve just optimized your LinkedIn profile to prepare for a successful 2020! There are also other great opportunities to enhance your profile with the Education, Endorsements and Recommendations sections! For some insight in to how to optimize your profile with these areas, check out this post from LinkedIn.
Want to connect on LinkedIn? Find Megan using the button below!