First impressions are critical in every aspect of job search, just as they are in every aspect of business and in life outside of work, too. That’s why our post last week focused only on the top section of your profile—your headshot and background image, Intro Card, and the About section. Those sections leave your industry contacts, professional contacts, and hiring teams with that all-important first impression. Indeed, these may be the only sections of your profiles they read.
This post will discuss three additional sections that determine whether your profile is successful or not, although they may not be read as often. These sections include Work Experience, Skills and Endorsements, and LinkedIn activity. The issues we’ll discuss include:
- A work experience section that does not benefit from certain LinkedIn features,
- Too few, or outdated, skills, and
- Not enough activity on LinkedIn.
While the extent that you participate on LinkedIn is not, strictly speaking, a section of your profile, it is so important to success that we chose to cover it here.
Make good use of your Work Experience section.
The Work Experience section on your LinkedIn profile should play a key role in your strategy. Make certain the Company Name and Job Title fields work for you. Use the Job Description field to expand on information in your About section. And, if you are not currently employed, use a Work Experience entry to show your activity during your break.
Company Names: First, LinkedIn’s system does not consider your profile complete unless it shows a current employer. Those of us that have had a Pandemic break could feel stymied by this. Fortunately, there are numerous solutions that we have covered in more detail elsewhere in this blog.
A favorite option for me is to create your own brand name for whatever part-time, volunteer, or temp employment activities you have been doing, and establish a company page for this name. and then add a logo or image for your company page.
We have found that entering a company name which LinkedIn does not have in its database results in a grey square appearing next to the company name on your profile. You cannot upload a logo unless you build a company page, and add the logo there.
You do not have to represent a corporation or LLC to add a company page on LinkedIn—any member can do it. This easy “hack” will result in your profile appearing in recruiters’ search results because LinkedIn gives higher search ranking to those with current jobs.
With regard to your other employers, LinkedIn will match the company name you type in with companies in its database, and then add their logo to your profile. This does more than add color to your profile. Recruiters who prefer hiring employees that worked for your company will find you.
Job Title: The job title field leaves enough space for you to enter more than just your company title. Take advantage of the space to say a few words about what you did in the job, the projects you were assigned to, etc. This will help you be found by employers because LinkedIn’s search engines place more weight on job titles than other sections.
Description: The job description has enough space—2,000 characters—for you to elaborate on your resume accomplishments in more detail if you wish. Remember to write in a conversational, social media style, though.
Fill out the Skills and Endorsement section.
LinkedIn has a database of skills, in addition to a database of companies and employers. Also, LinkedIn allows you to enter up to 50 skills—many more than we have room for on one and two-page resumes. You have to enter your skills one at a time while the system presents matches. Use the matching skills whenever possible to maximize the chances your profile will appear in searches.
There are many nuances to consider when enumerating your skills on LinkedIn. First, we recommend prioritizing specific, industry or professional “hard skills,” such as your accounting and finance skills. Think in terms of skills hiring teams will search for in your occupation. What skills would you look for if you were hiring someone like yourself?
So-called soft skills, such as verbal communications and teamwork are important, too, but nearly everyone claims them, so they won’t set you apart in searches.
Endorsements: The LinkedIn skills section is titled Skills and Endorsements because your contacts can endorse you for skills you have listed. LinkedIn pushes skills you are endorsed for to the top of the list because, presumably, your contacts feel you are exceptionally strong in these areas. This adds an element of “social proof” to your profile that does not exist on a conventional resume.
We have discussed skills at greater length in another blog post.
There are many more profile sections.
You’ve probably noticed by now, as you have started working on the LinkedIn sections mentioned in this post and our previous post, that the platform offers many more sections. Look through the list carefully to find sections that are relevant to you and fill them in. For example, if you hold patents that are relevant to your current career, you may want to complete LinkedIn’s Patent section.
Be active on LinkedIn!
Last, but not least, remember that LinkedIn is a social media platform, so treat it that way. Post items often and interact with others on the site. Keep in mind, though, that it is a professional and business site, so it’s not a place for political discussions or other activities we commonly associate with social media. Share information that will be of interest to those in your business or profession. This, too, will improve your chances of being noticed on LinkedIn.