Beginner. Intermediate. Expert. All-star. Which do you want to be? When building your LinkedIn profile, consider the following key sections:
Headline. The default for this field is your current job title and company name. However, it is fully editable, so you can make this say whatever you’d like, up to 120 characters. This field is required for all-star status.
Summary. You need to ensure you include a Summary on your LinkedIn profile because your Summary is one of the three components that make your first impression on LinkedIn. Think of it as your “elevator speech.” You have up to 2,000 characters, but best practice is to keep it short and sweet. For more information on your Summary, check out What Makes a LinkedIn Summary Stellar?.This field is required for all-star status.
Skills. Profile views for LinkedIn members that list skills on their profiles are 4 times higher than views for profiles that do not list skills. You can add up to 50 skills to your profile. Three are required for all-star status.
Profile picture. Adding a professional photo to your profile makes you 11 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn. This is a big way that your LinkedIn profile might be different from your resume. Your resume should never have a photo attached (unless you work in a niche industry where this makes sense, such as modeling or acting), but you might find it a good idea to include a professional picture on your LinkedIn profile. You want your photo to convey that you are likable, competent, influential, professional, and forward-thinking. Note the adjective “professional.” Selfies are not professional photographs. Uniformed personnel, if you are looking for a civilian job, even if you are still in the service, use a picture of yourself in professional civilian attire. A profile pictures is required for all-star status. Note that you can include a picture on your profile and have it visible to your connections but make that image unavailable to the public. (If you want to do this, find out how to adjust your public profile settings in the article, Security and Privacy Settings on LinkedIn.)
Experience. Your current position with a job description, plus two prior positions are required for all-star status. A good rule of thumb here is to include three positions and/or your jobs for the past 15 years, but consider your career goals. There’s no need to clutter your profile with irrelevant jobs, unless you would otherwise be left with a long gap in employment.
Education. Include your education here. Do you have an Associates degree? A Bachelors? How about a Masters or a Ph.D.? Add all of your post high-school education. According to LinkedIn, profiles that contain education content receive seven times more profile views. This section is required for all-star status.
Connections. This is a social network so to get the most out of it you need to have connections. Make 50 connections to achieve all-star status.
Volunteer Experience. All experience, whether paid or unpaid, is valuable. A 2011 survey conducted by LinkedIn revealed that one out of every five hiring managers in the U.S. has hired a candidate because of their volunteer work experience. Does your volunteer experience help you align with your career goals? If it does, then seriously consider adding it to your LinkedIn profile, as you would to your master resume. Do you volunteer regularly? Do you serve on the board of an organization as a volunteer? If the answer is yes, add it to your profile!
Certification. Do you have a certification or a certificate that would support your job search goals? According to LinkedIn, profiles that have certifications receive double the profile views.
Honors & Awards. If you’ve earned a Medal of Honor or Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service, Commendation, or Achievement medal, consider including them here.
Projects. In the Projects section, you can add more detail about specific projects. They will be associated with the position you held while you worked on the project, and you can include other people with whom you worked on that project if you are connected to them.
All parts of your LinkedIn profile are optional. There are benefits and potential drawbacks to all.
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