Writing a Winning LinkedIn Profile

By Joe van Zwaren and Joseph Sherman – JBNF.org

LinkedIn profiles are replacing CVs as the primary method for employers to check up on prospective job candidates. Even if a CV is the only document that you, as a job seeker, submit to your potential employer, you can be sure that he will be checking up on your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile is different than a CV. While a CV is plain text, a LinkedIn profile is a multimedia document that is linked to the world. You should not convert one into the other, but should strive to maximize the multimedia and the connection possibilities inherent in a LinkedIn profile in order to market yourself.

 
When you write a LinkedIn profile you should have your target audience in mind and focus on the maximum value that you can offer them.

Most importantly, you want to stand out!

Photos and Headline

The first parts of your LinkedIn profile that any potential employer sees are your picture, your headline, and your background picture. A professional portrait picture cropped clearly to show your face will make your LinkedIn profile seven times more likely to be viewed. Failure to display your picture sends the message that you are hiding something. Also, remember to smile! Your photo is your chance to make a good first impression on a potential employer. Once you have a profile picture, do not forget to add a background picture. This image needs to be eye catching and needs to project professionalism. Finally, your title and current function are the first pieces of writing that your potential employer sees in your profile. That makes them very important. You should change them to that they reflect your specialties essentially pitching yourself to your audience. Consider using keywords, so that your profile will come up more frequently in searches. It is also important to display your contact information.

Write a Passionate Background Summary

The second part of your LinkedIn profile is your background summary. This is where you “sell” yourself to potential employers by providing information about what you can offer to the place where you would like to work. List your top four or five achievements. Convey your passion. What do you love to work on? What do you think about? Games? Cleantech? Fintech? Bioinformatics? Write that! Don’t stop there. If you are actively pursuing a new job, explain the type of role you are seeking, the company size you are targeting, and the technologies you are excited to explore. This is not just about finding a job.

This is about finding something that you love to do. Your passion is a marketable feature of your experience! Finally, remember to edit your profile carefully. Have someone you can rely on check your spelling and grammar. These basic errors can be easy to overlook, and can destroy your credibility as a candidate.

Finally, remember to edit your profile carefully. Have someone you can rely on check your spelling and grammar. These basic errors can be easy to overlook, and can destroy your credibility as a candidate.

Skills, Endorsements, and Recommendations

Employers often search for LinkedIn profiles based on the skills they are looking for. Think of these as keywords in your profile. Employers sometimes look for skills that are not acquired through education, such as the ability to be a team-player, organizational skills, and regulatory, compliance, or grant writing.

Add the skills that are relevant for your job search.

For example, if you are applying for a job that includes managing an organization’s social media accounts, include specific platforms with which you have experience. If you are a computer programmer, include the specific languages in which you can code. You may also want to remove from your profile skills that are no longer relevant to your search, or that are seen as too basic for your current position.

One of the best ways to get endorsed for your skills is by endorsing others. When you endorse connections with skills, LinkedIn rewards you by asking your connections if you have these skills or expertise. Your connections will also get a notification of your endorsement (under the flag in the top right corner).

Recommendations are very important.

They add credibility to your profile. In addition to asking managers for recommendations, ask colleagues, strategic partners, and clients to describe your work. Having multiple recommendations will provide a fuller description of your experience. They highlight interpersonal skills, qualities, and experiences that might be overlooked. Remember to organize your recommendations. Place the most valuable ones at the top of your profile.

Finally, think about volunteering as a way to supplement your profile.

Volunteering provides opportunities to acquire new skills and to meet great contacts. Many people have landed deals or jobs through their volunteer work.

LinkedIn is a Two Way Street!

There are a number of ways in which you can use LinkedIn to actively search for jobs, instead of waiting for potential employers to find you. Remember that it is important to learn as much as you possibly can about a prospective employer. LinkedIn offers fantastic opportunities for researching prospective companies or potential inside contacts. The best way to get introduced to the contact you want is through a third party. LinkedIn provides excellent tools to achieve these connections. It allows you to find people who can make introductions for you using their second and third level connections. LinkedIn’s “how you’re connected” section shows your first, second, and third level connections. If you click on a contact’s profile, you will see their connections. There will be links to allow you to either “connect”, “send InMail”, or “follow” some of your contact’s connections. Some people on LinkedIn welcome unsolicited connections, especially LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LION’s, who will network with anyone without a prior connection.With most LinkedIn profiles, however, connection request from out of the blue will often be marked as spam. InMail can be an effective but expensive tool. On the other hand, by following a person, you can see the updates that they make to the public. You can also see how you are connected to them and ask for an introduction, which will make it more likely that you will successfully “connect” with them. LinkedIn can further help your job search if you think beyond its obvious functions. In addition to allowing you to apply for jobs directly, LinkedIn has a number of tools that you can use to learn about the people who work in a company. Most potential employers have a company page with a career section. You can follow the company to get updates about it and about the industry. This also will provide you with an opportunity to interact with HR staff through commenting on their updates. Many people do not realize that your “groups” show up in the “in common with” section. This makes “groups” an important tool. You may see that the manager at a company you want to work for is also a member of

With most LinkedIn profiles, however, connection request from out of the blue will often be marked as spam. InMail can be an effective but expensive tool. On the other hand, by following a person, you can see the updates that they make to the public. You can also see how you are connected to them and ask for an introduction, which will make it more likely that you will successfully “connect” with them. LinkedIn can further help your job search if you think beyond its obvious functions. In addition to allowing you to apply for jobs directly, LinkedIn has a number of tools that you can use to learn about the people who work in a company. Most potential employers have a company page with a career section. You can follow the company to get updates about it and about the industry. This also will provide you with an opportunity to interact with HR staff through commenting on their updates. Many people do not realize that your “groups” show up in the “in common with” section. This makes “groups” an important tool. You may see that the manager at a company you want to work for is also a member of

This also will provide you with an opportunity to interact with HR staff through commenting on their updates. Many people do not realize that your “groups” show up in the “in common with” section. This makes “groups” an important tool. You may see that the manager at a company you want to work for is also a member of The Harvard Business Review, Social Media Marketing, or an alumni group. If you join a group they are in, you can begin a conversation with them around relevant topics.

Build Your Connection Base Wisely

There are 450 million LinkedIn members around the world. In many ways the site has opened up the world of business as never before. At the same time, it takes effort and diligence to build an online relationship with people. The best connections are built by engaging people in the discussions that are relevant to your field.

Remember that even online it is important to use sound judgment and good etiquette. For example: about a month ago I received a contact request from a second connection, and I accepted. Shortly after connecting, the person asked me if I could refer business to him. He made no attempt to build a relationship with me, so I declined. The next week he asked again, so I removed the connection. One of the best ways to grow your network is via the “add contacts” function. LinkedIn will search your email for people with whom you have been in communication. You will see a list of potential contacts and the option to the send them connection invitations. LinkedIn recognizes several email servers, so it is worthwhile to update your contacts on email accounts that you do not actively use. This is especially effective after you have attended a JBNF (Jerusalem Business Networking Forum) or other professional event, and are corresponding with the professionals that you met.

You will see a list of potential contacts and the option to the send them connection invitations. LinkedIn recognizes several email servers, so it is worthwhile to update your contacts on email accounts that you do not actively use. This is especially effective after you have attended a JBNF (Jerusalem Business Networking Forum) or other professional event, and are corresponding with the professionals that you met.

Specific for Israel

The first thing to remember is that in Israel most businesspeople read English. If your English is not perfect, make sure that someone trustworthy goes over your spelling. A spelling mistake can demolish your image in Israel just like in any other country. Next, write about your work and educational experience. Do not present everything. Focus on the work experiences that are most relevant for your future. Your knowledge of a particular market segment may seem trivial to you but invaluable to Israeli employers. Olim who studied in colleges and universities abroad may want to write about the institution in the description field. Israeli employers might not initially recognize that your alma mater is one of the top schools in your home state or country. They may also initially associate your alma mater with a sports team, vacation destination, or with another school of a similar name.

Summary

Your LinkedIn profile opens up a number of opportunities for you to impress potential employers and to network with the companies in which you are interested. Your pictures and headline are your first chance to make that impression. Next, you have to create a passionate background summary and edit it carefully. Finally, it is important for you to gather as many recommendations and endorsements as possible. Remember to think outside the box when using LinkedIn. Use the various services it offers to connect with companies and other professionals in your field. Following these guidelines will help you to create a memorable profile and to make the most out of your LinkedIn connections.

Comments are closed.