5 Must-Haves on Your LinkedIn Profile
Although traditional resumes are still a required part of job hunting, a complementary LinkedIn profile is almost a must-have for every industry and every job level.
There are several elements that a LinkedIn profile must-have for it to be comprehensive and effective in helping you get noticed and land an interview.
1. Strong Summary
Toward the top of your LinkedIn page, there is a section where you can write a short paragraph to summarize the highlights of your professional life. It’s right below your name and catches the eye of recruiters as they scan your profile. In this section, you should write three sentences. The first sentence should state your objective, for example: “I am seeking a challenging opportunity in managing online marketing strategies.” There are times when you do not want your current employer knowing that you are actively looking for a job, of course, so you could reword that first sentence to something like, “I thrive in challenging marketing roles.”
The second sentence should state what makes you special for this kind of role. For example, you could write “My math degree gives me an edge over most folks in the industry who rely too much on their intuition, rather than following the story the numbers are telling them.”
The third sentence is reserved for something about you as a person. This might be a hobby that demonstrates a personality trait. For example, playing in a basketball league shows that you can work well in teams.
LinkedIn allows you to have recommendations from colleagues and managers. Most people do not have any recommendations on their profile so this section can set you apart from the crowd. It’s not very important what exactly someone says in your recommendation. The key thing is that someone from your past has taken the time to publicly acknowledge something positive about you.
LinkedIn is more than a resume website, it is where your professional network exists. You should spend a lot of time upfront making sure that you are connected to all the work relations you have made over the years. This helpful for two reasons. First, it gives a recruiter an easy way to find a common connection to use as a reference and second, it gives you an easy way to ask for a warm introduction to a company you are interested in now or in the future.
4. Full Work History
There’s not much explanation needed here. You should make sure that your complete work history should be listed on your profile. Make sure there are no employment gaps and the recruiter can see a clear career progression.
This is also pretty self-explanatory but is included here because many people leave out this section when they think their education is not relevant in their current career or if they are afraid that their education “ages” them. If you are worried about being labeled too old or too young, leave out the years on your education section.
LinkedIn has an easy way for you to write and publish articles. These articles are highlighted at the top of your LinkedIn profile and if you use a good image they undoubtedly get noticed and read. These articles are a great way for someone to see you in action. You can demonstrate your ability to clearly communicate your thoughts and prove that you are knowledgeable about an industry related subject.
Be Socially Validated
In summary, having a great traditional resume is still absolutely necessary in the job hunt. Most companies pass around these resumes over email and use a printed copy to assist them during an interview. That said, a LinkedIn profile is also a must-have because it’s a way you can be found online. It also allows you show that you have social validation through recommendations and connections.
About the Author
Satjot "SJ" Sawhney is a resume and career strategist with Loft Resumes (www.loftresumes.com). His company offers professional resume design and writing services that empower job seekers to advance their careers by making it into the “interested” pile in those critical moments of decision that can make or break one’s chance at the job. SJ also has a technology background and holds a bachelor from Columbia University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @loftresumes.