While Facebook may be the largest social media platform, with 430m users, LinkedIn is certainly the go-to site for the business community. It’s become a vital platform for job seekers looking for the next step up because it is a useful way to build contacts, gain market intelligence and look for jobs.
A photo is key
Whilst a CV should never include a photo, it is a key part of your LinkedIn profile to include one. A photo of yourself will engage the reader so aim for a head and shoulders shot and show a relaxed smile. You need to find the balance between not looking too casual but also not too formal.
Include a background image
Like all websites, LinkedIn is primarily a visual experience. Including a background image will make your profile look unique and give it personality. You could choose something either related to your profession or completely abstract. The colours of your image should preferably contrast well with your profile page. To make sure that the visual impact is optimised you can edit and adjust the placement of your picture first.
Write in first person
Although a CV is better written in third person, your LinkedIn profile stands out more when written in first person. You want to speak to the reader directly as if you are having a face-to-face conversation with them. This means you should write in short paragraphs instead of bullet points. As we don’t speak in bullet points, paragraphs mirror the way we talk more naturally.
Optimise your headline and summary
You need your profile to appear when recruiters do key word searches to find relevant profiles. So it is crucial that you include these, especially in the professional headline and summary, which LinkedIn weights more heavily in its algorithms. You should change the default setting in your professional headline to more accurately reflect the most common job title for your current role – or role aligned most to your job search.
Make your profile visible
It is crucial that relevant people can see your profile so it needs to be as visible as possible. You should ensure that your ‘full profile’ is selected as visible to everyone. This will allow you to see who has viewed your profile and makes it easier to introduce yourself to potential contacts.
Recommendations will really set you apart from others. You should aim for at least two from each recent employment. These third party statements act as powerful endorsements and many connections will feel flattered to be asked. Because these recommendations are in the public domain, snippets of them can be made useful in your CV too.
Actively look for jobs
LinkedIn is a great platform for searching for jobs. Take advantage of the ‘jobs’ option in the search field by using job title key words relating to the role you want to apply for. It is also useful to make connections with relevant groups and employers you could see yourself working for.
Keep your profile up-to-date
Check into LinkedIn at least once a day if you are actively looking for a job. You need to ensure that your profile is kept up-to-date and is consistent with your CV. After an employer reads your CV, the next place they are likely to go to find out about you is LinkedIn. So, make sure your career story is consistent across both.
This article is written by CV Writers, the official CV writing partner to CIBSE Jobs. CV Writers also publish Perfect CV, a professional CV writing toolkit that includes a CV template, video guides and a CV checking service.