Six steps to creating a standout LinkedIn profile (Linkedin Checklist)
It might be 20 years old, but the importance of LinkedIn for jobseekers has only increased in the last few years.
While other job and networking sites have come and gone, LinkedIn now has a staggering 830 million users around the world, nearly a fifth (16%) of which log on and engage with the platform every single day. Every second, 95 applications are submitted to jobs posted on the platform, and every minute six of those people are hired.
In short, if you’re a jobseeker you can’t afford not to be on LinkedIn.
But if you’re really serious about landing your dream job in sustainability, it’ll take more than simply creating a basic account and uploading your Twitter profile picture to make the most of the site and its potential.
So, how can you make your profile really stand out from those other 829, 999,999 users?
Well, here are the 6 steps I urge all my clients to follow.
1. Keep it short and simple.
LinkedIn is NOT a digital version of your CV. Our attention spans are much shorter online so keep it digestible and jargon-free. Make sure you include keywords that recruiters might be searching for too, particularly in the ‘Skills and expertise’ section. Aim for 5-10 keywords here to ensure you’re optimized for SEO.
2. Think like an advertiser
Don’t be shy. Promote yourself! Tell the world just how qualified you are for your next role using compelling text backed up by proven accomplishments.
Make sure to include some glowing third-party recommendations. Yes, it can feel a little cringey, but there’s nothing better to reassure a potential employer than credible praise.
For at least one for every job you’ve had if you can. Ideally start this process before you’re actually hunting for a new role to alleviate the pressure, asking people you work with as you go. It feels a lot less awkward to ask when your work is fresh on the person’s mind.
3. Select the right picture
It may be the first thing people see so select your profile picture carefully. Aim for a professional, high-resolution headshot (you don’t need a fancy camera for this, a modern smartphone and a helpful friend are fine) and, most importantly, smile. Ideally, if you’re applying for a sustainability role opt for an outdoors setting with some trees or plans in the background.
4. Optimize each element
Your LinkedIn profile – a little like your CV – is composed of some key templated sections.
Make sure you make the most of each one.
Unless your job title and organisation are particularly compelling opt for keywords here. This is especially true if you’re looking for a new role.
Here are a couple of examples:
Human Rights in ICT | Public Policy | Government Affairs | Partnerships | Data Privacy | AI
Only the first two lines are visible here unless a reader chooses to expand the section so make these two lines count. State your mission, purpose and impact. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Then make use all 2,000 words available in the section to go into more detail, weaving through plenty of keywords.
Articles and activity
You don’t need to be the strongest writer to boost this section.
If you don’t fancy pulling together a full post of your own, make sure to add constructive, well-composed comments on others content as this still shows up on your profile. The trick here is a sustained presence, engaging on topics relevant to your focus.
Don’t spent time here talking about the organisation you work for. Talk about you and your achievements. This shouldn’t be a mirror image of your CV but a curated selection of the most compelling milestones in your career so far. Recruiters associate excessive detail here with less experienced candidates.
As above, don’t overdo it. There’s no need to include every single class or club you attended as a teenager. Curate those that are relevant to your career now.
5. Sign up to relevant groups
Use the search bar at the top of LinkedIn to search for groups in your local area, as well as in your niche industry. Get involved in discussion boards and use these as spaces to showcase your knowledge and passion for the topic. They’re also great places to make relevant contacts and hear about job postings well before they make it to jobs boards.
6. Network (the right way)
It goes without saying that LinkedIn should be used to create and cultivate connections with those people that can help you move ahead in your chosen career. But there are a couple of ground rules to follow when it comes to using the platform to build up your network.
First, don’t add complete strangers unless there’s a mutual connection you can point to, or a specific reason for doing so, ex. you saw them talk at a recent event and loved what they had to say. If this is the case say so in the ‘add note’ box when you click connect. Second, aim for reciprocally beneficial relationships. In other words, don’t simply reach out to your LinkedIn contacts asking for help securing an interview. Instead, respond to their posts as a way to open up discussions, or offer up advice or helpful links. Start with a genuine relationship and the rest will come far more naturally.
For more bespoke advice on your personal brand and LinkedIn profile, why not book into a trial session with me here.
Summary Linkedin Checklist
Optimize your headline: Use keywords relevant to your industry and summarize your professional brand in a concise, attention-grabbing headline.
Create a professional profile picture: Use a headshot that is well-lit, in focus, and shows you in professional attire.
Write a compelling summary: Use this section to showcase your professional brand and highlight your most relevant skills, achievements and experiences.
Tailor your experience section: Use specific examples and quantify your achievements to showcase your impact and expertise.
Add relevant skills: List the skills that are most relevant to your industry and highlight any certifications or qualifications you have.
Build your network: Connect with relevant professionals, join industry groups, and participate in discussions to expand your reach and showcase your industry knowledge.
Make use of multimedia: Highlight your expertise by adding multimedia elements like portfolio, videos, presentations, and documents.