By Corrie Benfield
You’ve probably seen them: The LinkedIn connections whose profile photo is one of them holding their cat, or a drink, or maybe they just let that automatic gray profile blob represent them. Career adviser Toni Howard Lowe, CEO and founder of the online career strategy network The Corporate Tea, recently spoke with FPRA Tampa Bay about the personal branding faux pas that she often sees on the professional social network. Lucky for us, she also shared her own top tips for creating a stellar LinkedIn profile.
Goal: Attract Recruiters
- – Write catchy content and make sure your summary is well-written and will grab the recruiter’s attention. Don’t forget to incorporate keywords that a recruiter may be searching for.
- – Make sure it’s obvious how the recruiter can contact you. It’s pointless to have a great profile if it leads nowhere.
- – Stand out from the standard profiles by adding multimedia, presentations and relevant industry photos.
Goal: Show Your Community Leadership
- – You are not just a summary of your jobs. Show that you’re a well-rounded candidate by adding pro bono and volunteer work to your profile.
- – Holding leadership positions in the community goes a long way. Maybe you’re not a manager at your current job, but your community leadership shows you will be.
- – Be proud of yourself. Add your awards and achievements to your profile.
Goal: Build Credibility
- – Get endorsements from clients, current and former co-workers, and bosses. Remember, it’s proper LinkedIn etiquette to offer an endorsement when you ask for one. Also, try to limit endorsements to those related to your career. (Employers know your friends appreciate you.)
- – Display your work. Link to public relations campaigns you’ve worked on, great press releases you’ve written and anything else that proves your PR prowess.
- – Join industry groups and network. Share your PR industry insights, and interact with other PR pros and influencers to build your connections. Start by joining FPRA Tampa Bay’s LinkedIn group!
- – Remove irrelevant jobs: We know you loved working at the ice cream parlor in high school. But unless you’re the PR manager for Ben & Jerry’s now, you can leave that off your LinkedIn profile.
Goal: Develop Your Online External Brand
- – Make sure your LinkedIn URL is customized, not the random trail of numbers the site automatically assigns you. Here are instructions for customizing your LinkedIn URL.
- – Invest in a professional headshot. A blurry photo of you in formal attire from a wedding five years ago just doesn’t cut it.
- – Bulk up your brand by linking to your blog or aboutme.com, or use LinkedIn Pulse.
As Lowe pointed out, LinkedIn is a professional powerhouse for jobseekers and employers alike. She noted that 10 million people have found jobs on LinkedIn, and 89 percent of recruiters surveyed said they have hired someone through the professional network. So what are you waiting for? Start building your LinkedIn Influencer status today!
Toni Howard Lowe, MHR, PHR, SHRM-CP, is the CEO and founder of The Corporate Tea, an online career strategy network. Lowe has 15 years of experience in corporate HR. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.