With over 90% of all recruiters using LinkedIn to find candidates, it is essential to have a professional LinkedIn profile. Creating a professional LinkedIn profile is simple and will only take a few hours to do. We will give you a step-by-step process to create a professional LinkedIn profile to better market yourself to recruiters and companies.
Creating a Profile
First things first, you will need to start by creating a LinkedIn Profile. We suggest that when you sign up, make sure to use a professional email. Do not use the following:
School Email (ex: @g.rwu.edu, @my.uri.edu, etc.)
Work Email (ex: @citypersonnel.net)
Non-Professional Email (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc.)
Old Email (ex: @aol.com, @aim.com)
Try sticking with popular email providers, such as Gmail and Hotmail, when creating a profile on LinkedIn. The email you use for LinkedIn should be the same email you put on your resume for companies to contact you.
Having a professional photo taken for your LinkedIn will be one of the most important steps in this process. You do not need to hire a photographer, but you can’t just post a selfie of yourself lying in bed.
LinkedIn is a unique social platform that is used primarily for business professionals to network. Having your photo taken in sweatpants may be your profile picture for Facebook, but it will not suffice for LinkedIn. LinkedIn members with a professional photo receive 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests than those that are not professional.
Take the time to take a new photo of yourself for your profile picture. If you are still in college, some colleges have free LinkedIn profile picture day. DO NOT go back into your phone and find a picture of yourself from your high school senior photos. Outdated photos can make you look young and unexperienced.
No need for a professional camera either. All you have to do is schedule a day where you dress professionally and have one of your family members or friends take a picture of you. We suggest updating your profile photo if it is more than 1-3 years old.
On LinkedIn, there are several places where you will be able to explain who you are and differentiate yourself from others. First, start with adding your First Name, Last Name, and headline. The headline should be a quick overview of who you are professionally. Imagine your professional career as a video, and you need to give it a title. What would you call it?
Be specific. Do not just state that you are unemployed, rather you can say, “Experienced Marketer Seeking New Opportunities.”
Some examples we found online include:
The headline will be a quick overview of your professional career. This headline will be the first thing a recruiter sees, so make sure it is full of content.
Recruiters will see the about section right below the headline section, making it the second most important text on your profile. Bringing up what we said in the previous paragraph, think about your professional career as a video. The headline is the title of your video, and the about section is the summary.
The about section can be up to 2,000 characters, which gives you an excellent opportunity to explain yourself to potential employers. This section is very similar to a cover letter. Consider the following format when writing your summary:
- Call to Action (CTA)
Following these steps will help you write a professional summary that will catch the eye of recruiters. Here is an example of a well-written summary on LinkedIn.
You could have the best-written description and about section, but if you do not add your experience, you will more than likely not be contacted on LinkedIn for a job opportunity. The experience section is vital to having a professional LinkedIn profile.
Adding your work experience as a dishwasher ten years ago may not be ideal if you are not in a field related to working in a restaurant. As a rule of thumb, add all the experience you have on your resume.
Because there is no limit to adding experience to LinkedIn, make sure to beef it up as much as possible with RELEVANT work experience.
When typing your experience, LinkedIn will ask you what the job title, company, location, start date, end date (if any), and description. The only one out of these that is not required is the description of the job. However, make sure to give a summary of what you did there (bullet points preferably.) Adding a brief description will attract more recruiters to reach out to you. If you need more experience, working with a staffing agency is a good way to start your career!
The education section on LinkedIn should not include your high school if you went to college or currently attending college. Add all other education, including MBA, college transfers, etc.
The education section does not require you to write a degree, start/end date, grade, activities and societies, or a description. However, make sure to fill out what your degree was, start/end date, and activities and societies (if any.) When it comes to filling out your GPA, only fill it out if you were over a 3.0. If you are below 3.0, you should not add it to this section.
Skills & Endorsements
The skills and endorsement tab may be the most overlooked tab on LinkedIn. Add skills that are required for the position you are seeking. An example of this is if you are applying for a sales role, ensure one of your skills is customer service. You can add up to 50 skills.
Our favorite part of the skills and endorsement tab is the “Take Assessment” button. When you click on this button, there will be a list of several programs that you can take a test on. If you get in the top 30% of people who took the test, you will earn a badge that will be displayed on your profile.
For a graphic designer, taking the adobe programs assessments will benefit you immensely. The badge you receive will display on your profile for everyone to see. You will even come up in more recruiter searches as well.
Take as many of these skill assessments as possible. Don’t worry if you fail the first test. You can always retake it after a period of time and no one will know if you didn’t pass other than yourself!
There are several types of accomplishments you can add to this section of your LinkedIn Profile. These accomplishments include publication, patent, course, project, honor and award, test score, language, and organization.
Each of these accomplishments will be different for everyone. Someone looking to be a Bilingual Recruiter will need to fill out the language section of the accomplishments. Someone who is looking to become a writer will fill out the publication section.
If you are a student with minimal experience in your field, filling out the course and project section will be the best option for you.
As we said about before, having a professional image taken for your profile is very important. There are two photos you can add to your profile. We highly recommend adding a profile picture, but when it comes to a background photo for your page, it is not as necessary.
However, if you choose to have a background on your LinkedIn page, make sure it is also professional. Here are some examples of professional background:
As seen in the second example, his experience is related to his background photo. Don’t just add any background photo. Make the background photo related to your experience. If you are looking to be a Data Engineer, a background like the one above is perfect.
Having a professional background photo is just another way for you to differentiate yourself from other LinkedIn users.
Interests and Connections
You are almost there! Your LinkedIn profile is almost complete. All you need to do now is start connecting with people you know! You can search people you know on the top search bar or go to the “my network” tab and find people with similarities to your profile.
You can also follow companies to keep up to date with all their updates.