90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. What makes a great professional profile? What makes your profile stand out to recruiters and managers? We recently had a webinar where talent acquisition experts Gibran Visram (Bridge International Academies), Thuvi Wijenathan (Jumia, Kenya) and Melody Roth-Ng’eno (Kipawa) shared their hacks on creating a winning professional profile.
There isn’t one specific way of building your LinkedIn profile otherwise we would all have the same profile. As you put your profile together, here are some tips to help you create a professional profile that attracts hiring managers.
General guidelines on building your LinkedIn profile
To build a winning profile, the first step is to clearly understand why you are creating it. This will guide your messaging throughout your profile. Ask yourself, “Who is my target audience?” Your messaging is important as it will make your profile attractive to potential employers and recruiters.
A LinkedIn profile has the following key sections that you should focus on:
- Profile picture: It is recommended that you should have a professional picture on your LinkedIn profile. This is the image of you that people see when they come to your profile. Your picture should:
- Be clear with a high resolution.
- Have a gentle smile as it goes a long way.
- Have a professional look – dress professionally on your picture.
- Have a picture of you – avoid pictures of places or other people as recruiters are interested in you, only you.
- Always aim for straight angled pics, ensure you face the camera.
- Let your face be the star, aim for photos that capture your face, from shoulders up.
- Your full names: The name captured on your profile should be exactly the same as the name captured in your CV. Inconsistency in your own identification is a huge turn off for recruiters and confuses them as well.
- Headline (Tagline): Make sure your header is related to what you do. For recruiters, it can be confusing when your header is unrelated to what you do. You can include your current role and where you work, key buzz words around your profession, the value that you add or create or your areas of specialization.
- Summary (Brief Bio): This is basically a summary section. Here, you want to think through the main purpose of your profile, is it for commercial purposes? Is it personal? If it is personal, ensure to highlight your career interests and specializations as well as:
- A snapshot of who you are;
- An overall career summary; and
- Remember that it is not an actual resume. It should not be too long, avoid long paragraphs.
- Portfolio: You may choose to add links to your vlogs/ blogs and social media pages if applicable to your field of work e.g. Digital Marketers. Test to see if your links work, you could lose your audience in the event that it doesn’t work.
- Your Availability (this is optional): There are several steps to indicate your availability on LinkedIn. Take your time through this, it helps recruiters find you faster. You can choose to activate this feature or not.
- Work Experience: Describe your current and previous work experience, including the dates of employment and the companies where you worked. We recommend that you include your outcomes or results as opposed to your list of tasks and responsibilities.
- Key Skills: Out of the wide variety of skills that LinkedIn will give you, pick only the relevant skills. This is important because if you fall into the temptation of having a large number of skills, it will confuse recruiters as to what your specific field actually is. For developers/technical background, you can indicate specific technical skills, for example, Python programming language etc.
- Education: Indicate your education background, the dates and institutions where you studied.
- Languages: It is important to include the languages you are proficient in, this helps recruiters find you on LinkedIn.
- Recommendations: You can ask peers or previous supervisors to write a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. It adds value and helps to give recruiters an indication of your experience from a different person.
Some Do’s to help you in creating your LinkedIn profile:
- Focus on evidence over adjectives, actualise instead of sensationalising e.g. say, “Demonstrated strong track record in sales by boosting revenue by 250% in 2019,” instead of “I have an unmatched world class sales ability with an extra ordinary track record.”
- Clearly outline all your achievements and interests, previous roles, scholarships, conferences, contests etc.
- Show your areas of interest, these could be certifications or volunteering programmes.
- When it comes to your achievements, relevant data can make your profile attractive.
- You can identify buzzwords that you can use on your profile by looking through job descriptions, roles of interest and benchmarking profiles of people within your field. Check for relevant common phrases.
- Keep your profile as brief as possible. Your profile is a snapshot of your resume. Too much content can be confusing.
- Proofread your profile. You cannot claim to be detailed oriented if you have small mistakes in your profile and resume.
- Data Integrity: Ensure the data in your profile lines up with what is in your resume, name, job title etc.
Here are some don’ts:
- Do not criticize any person or organization.
- Do not upload or use inappropriate images or videos. Avoid unprofessional settings, or non-business-like environments like parties etc.
- Avoid posting political or religious rants.
- Avoid spelling or grammar errors, right from your own name.
- Do not share or upload confidential/proprietary information such as company reports, plans etc.
- Do not use mindless language on your comments to other user’s posts and status updates.
- Do not use 3rd person in your summary. Instead use “I”.
In conclusion, ensure that your profile is presentable especially if you are looking for job opportunities. You have to take some time to create a winning profile so as to position you for your next job opportunity.
By Cynthia Omayya, Human Resource Associate at Kipawa