Does your LinkedIn profile lack curb appeal? Add images and links!
The days of the written resumé are numbered. If your online resumé via LinkedIn looks just like your printed version from Word, you're doing it wrong. LinkedIn added some tremendous enhancements earlier this Summer that savvy professionals are taking advantage of. These enhancements allow you to customize your profile so that you can highlight and stress the areas that you think potential employers or clients would be interested in most. And LinkedIn has also included some new features that let you really punch up not only the appearance of your professional history, but also add a richer, fuller experience for the reader.
What's Most Important?
On a traditional resumé, your name and contact information would be listed at the top, followed by Work History, then Education, then your Skills and other information that you wanted to share. That's because, traditionally, employers were always first interested in your last job. But what if that's not what your potential employers or clients are interested in?
You can rearrange sections within your LinkedIn profile to highlight and stress what's most important to you, and the people looking at your profile.
Log into your LinkedIn account and go to your profile. At the top of your profile page where your photo and Title are located, you'll see a big blue Edit Profile button. Click that to go into Edit mode. When you're done with all your changes, don't forget to come back and hit this button again to save your changes.
Under your basic information is an Activity section where your most recent updates are displayed, and below that is your Background section. The Background section is where your normal resume elements reside, including Work History, Education, and so on. In the upper right corner of each subsection within Background you'll see a up and down area that you can click and drag to move subsections around.
While I would still recommend keeping your Summary section at the top of your profile so that the first thing a potential employer or client sees is a personal message you've written, below that, it really depends on what's most important. For myself, since I am focused on individual clients and not getting hired by a company, my past work experience is pretty irrelevant. Instead, I want people to see the Skills & Expertise that I'm known for, my Publications, Certifications and Additional Info. If someone wants to continue reading to view the Causes I support, my Work History and Education, they're more than welcome to, but After my Summary and those first four subsections, a potential client has likely already made up their mind whether or not to contact me.
You can move around any of the subsections within the Background section, so give some thought to what would make the best impression. While you're at it, take a second look at each subsection and make sure it's complete!
Now that you're happy with the order of your information, it's time to really enhance your profile, both visually and informationally. You can add and display links or files to certain key sections to create really stunning elements within your profile. Rich content can be added to:
These can be links to pages within your website for more information, key articles you've written, or uploaded graphics that represent work you've done.
If you haven't yet uploaded any links or files, you'll see a large button like this below a section:
Click the appropriate option and insert your link or upload a file. You can attach multiple links and files, and LinkedIn will automatically format and arrange them. When choosing links, make sure that there's a great image on the page you're linking to so that the link will have a nice thumbnail image on your LinkedIn profile.
Once you've attached a file or image, there's a blue button in the upper right corner of the section, to the right of the Edit button, that you can use to add more elements. Here's what my experience entry for "The Social Media Hat" looks like now, with attached links for my About page and my key Services page:
LinkedIn has put together a presentation to give you some additional ideas on how to use these features:
I would encourage you to take some time and make sure that your LinkedIn profile is looking as good as it can be, even if you're not "in the market" for a job or gig. Use these new features to really highlight your strengths and call attention to your best work.
Have a great-looking LinkedIn profile already that you want to show off? Share a link in the comments below! We'd love to see what creative ideas you've had. And if you would like help with LinkedIn to bring in more leads and sales, please contact me. If you'd like to see how I'm using these features, check out my LinkedIn profile.
Image courtesy of kleinnick, Flickr.