Some people call LinkedIn the Facebook of the working world. While the platform definitely draws comparisons, employers don’t search it to be updated on your latest party or to play Candy Crush. They want to learn more about you and your professional experience.
Once an employer reaches your profile, they’ll want to know some things right away. Your profile should answer these ten questions quickly in order to satisfy employers who don’t have a lot of free time to spare.
What’s your current position?
First, employers need to know what you do. They need to know how you make your living. Make this clear right at the top of your profile, where you can fill in a professional headline. This will catch potential employers’ eyes right away.
Which job titles suit you?
Chances are strong you’re not a one-trick pony. Your areas of expertise stretch beyond your college major or your current workplace. You may be a software developer who also handles the public relations sector of your business. You could be a lawyer who owns a construction business.
When you meet someone new, you talk about your careers. What would you say to this new person? That’s the job title that suits you. If all else fails, you can list a few titles that would fit you perfectly in your summary.
What makes you credible?
There’s one major place employers look to when wondering how credible you are: your work experience. Fill it out to the best of your ability. List where you’ve worked, cite what titles you held and provide a cohesive list of your responsibilities.
One new trend for this section is to quantify your responsibilities. Don’t just say “wrote code” or “sold houses.” Enhance your credibility by showing off the numbers: For example, perhaps you “wrote X lines of code for Y amount of apps” or “sold X houses in quarter Y.” These numeric values will instantly stand out from the rest of your profile.
Another place where employers look for credibility is your recommendations -- we’ll have more on that later.
How well do you write?
One thing that will be obvious to employers right away is your writing ability. In order to succeed in this world, excellent writing skills are paramount.
The use of noticeable spelling mistakes, run-on sentences, SMS language and slang will all result an instant “no.” You’ll never hear from your dream job if your profile is written poorly.
What’s your personal brand?
Job hunting is all about marketing yourself. Think of the commercials you see on TV -- they make products seem appealing and flawless.
Personal branding is like a commercial for you, and like most commercials, a branding statement is usually the driving factor. In this statement, you need to indicate what separates you from the rest. Create a tagline that is targeted towards your ideal employer.
Other things that can help you market yourself are logos and stylistic continuity.
Do you know your field?
Brag all you want about your skills, but employers will know when you’re absolutely clueless. It will show in your work.
Companies and organizations want someone who is both comfortable and confident enough in their field to talk about it clearly and concisely on their profile. Your target employer should know exactly what you’re talking about. Nothing should be ambiguous!
Here’s a good example. His profile clearly conveys his role as the president of his own real estate agency and shows what he did to work his way up to that position. His posts about the latest industry news develop him as a thought-leader in the field -- something that’s critical if you want to catch the eyes of a recruiter.
Demonstrate your knowledge of the industry in the posts you share, the updates you make, the companies you follow and the media you add.
What’s your greatest professional accomplishment?
You started your own business. You won an award for best employee. You helped navigate a company through a rough year. Whatever it is, you accomplished something big, and it made you feel on top of the world. Why not let a potential employer share a little of that awesome feeling?
When you make your greatest professional accomplishment clear, it sends a message to employers that you’re successful and you can work through adversity to achieve greatness. That sounds like a model employee.
How experienced are you with certain tools?
So you’re a graphic designer: Great! The employer scrolls down the page to see what programs you know ... and doesn’t find anything. There’s no proof that you’re a Photoshop wiz. Discouraged, the employer moves on to the next candidate’s profile, hoping for better results.
Your profile should include every tool, every program and every system you know. It only improves your chances.
Even if you only know something at a basic level, include it. Be sure to include metrics for each skill -- novice, intermediate and advanced are easy labels to start with.
What do others have to say about you?
Employers will eat up recommendations and quotes from former bosses, coworkers and even friends. They can’t ask outright about you unless they want to hire you, so the second best thing is seeing other people’s opinions.
If you don’t have any recommendations, asking around is easy. Go to people you trust, especially in your professional setting, and ask what they value most about you. Ask what you bring to the table on a daily basis. Ask what makes you stand out from the rest. They’ll be happy to let you know.
What do you care about most?
Believe it or not, LinkedIn is an emotional investment. You have to convey your passions through words and pictures to someone who has never met you before.
It’s definitely hard and time-consuming to make your profile appealing. As a hardworking professional, writing about your career may flow more easily as you work your way through your profile. If you care about your work in real life, chances are it will show on LinkedIn.