As I mentioned last week, the internet and social media have transformed the way we communicate with others. They have also created an additional lens by which other people inform themselves about who we are, and the content we post about ourselves online is of great interest to many recruiters and companies who seek a multi-dimensional view of a candidate. Along with LinkedIn, 70% of employers are reviewing candidates’ other social media accounts including Facebook and Twitter as well as searching for you via Google, Yahoo, or Bing. This data also noted that 54% of employers found information online that caused them not to hire a candidate. I was shocked when I read that statistic, because our social media presence is in our control.
While you could shut down all of your social media accounts or change your privacy settings to the highest available in order to minimize what others see, companies are not only looking for questionable content on your social media but also how you use different platforms in a positive way. For example, a professional, up-to-date LinkedIn profile shows that you are adept at using this platform and understand how to present yourself online in a polished manner. Along with your resume, your LinkedIn profile is another way to showcase your accomplishments to prospective recruiters as well as clients and other people in your network.
There are three main “sections” of a personal LinkedIn profile: the basic or “essential” components about you, the “about you” section that describes your career, and then additional/optional components that provides the space for additional statistics and facts about you.
There are a few basic components every LinkedIn profile needs, including:
A head shot - preferably a professional, high resolution photo
Your title - either your current title at work or a generic title that describes the type of work you are interested in. For example, if you are in branding, you might label yourself a “Brand Manager”, “Brand Executive” or “Branding and Marketing Analyst” depending on your experience and interests
Your location - your geographic location
Your contact information - a current email address
“About You” Section
The “About” section describes your professional experience, including the option to highlight media and content you have created.
Company / Experience Summary - think of the experience summary as your 30-second elevator pitch. If you had 30 seconds, or three to five sentences, to tell someone about yourself and the value you bring, what would you say? Use this section to highlight your unique talents, your passions, and the value you bring to an organization.
Media - one of the advantages of LinkedIn over a traditional resume is the option to upload or link media to your page. This could include articles you have written or videos you appeared in or produced. Linking or uploading media samples gives others a better idea of your communication style and writing, speaking, or producing skills.
Work Experience - this section provides the space to list your work experience in chronological order, including the company and the dates you worked there. If the company has a LinkedIn profile, select their official profile when you list your employer. For each job you have had, select the employer, dates of employment, and list your job title. Then, include a narrative summary or three to four bullet points that summarize your job scope and key accomplishments. Similar to your resume, it is important to include quantitative accomplishments on your LinkedIn profile so others can understand the impact you made. For this section, you can start with the content from your resume and update it to fit the format and style of LinkedIn.
Education - List all post-secondary education, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, study abroad programs, and other adult or executive education.
Certifications & Licenses Section - List all up-to-date formal certifications and licenses, such as Six Sigma, CPA, or MD
Volunteer Experience - In my experience, quality is better than quantity here. For example, include volunteer experiences that used your professional skills or were more than a one-time, two-hour occurrence; things like a monthly visit to a food pantry or organizing a 5k in your neighborhood rather than visiting a nursing home for two hours three years ago.
While these sections are optional, if you have noteworthy and timely information to include, it can help set you apart from others. This includes things like publishing articles or books, securing a patent, and speaking another language conversationally or fluently. You can also request a recommendation from people in your network. While this does not replace a formal reference, it does provide another data point for readers of your profile. Optional components of your profile include:
Honors and Awards
Request a Recommendation