In its 18th year at the end of 2020, the professional networking website LinkedIn had more than 750 million registered users. Recruiters frequently scan LinkedIn to reach out to potential candidates before even posting a job opening. During the interview and hiring process, many HR personnel and hiring managers will search LinkedIn to explore a candidate’s profile and credentials.
With this in mind, a professional LinkedIn profile is a must-have detail right along with a resume and strong interviewing skills. Unfortunately, the hiring manager is less likely to take you seriously if you have an outdated LinkedIn profile or never set one up at all. If you have never created an account or if you have an old, neglected account, taking the time to professionalize your LinkedIn profile can pay off.
What Makes LinkedIn So Valuable?
People use LinkedIn for a variety of reasons, but the most common include staying current with industry trends, connecting with past and present colleagues and networking for new positions. Approximately 40 million people log on to LinkedIn each week, and the site is responsible for three people receiving a job offer every minute.
According to a March 2021 research study conducted by Kinsta, 44 percent of people who use LinkedIn regularly earn at least $75,000 per year. This individual figure is nearly $10,000 higher than the median household income in the United States. However, you need to know how to optimize your LinkedIn profile before you can expect to reap the benefits of using the site.
Best Practices for Creating a LinkedIn Profile
The first thing the website asks users to do after registering for an account is to upload a picture. Keep in mind that the picture you use for your LinkedIn profile should not be anything you would use on Facebook or Instagram. A picture of you drinking a margarita on your last vacation is fine for social networking sites shared with your friends. A professional networking site like LinkedIn is a different story, so be sure to choose a photo that presents you in a credible light.
You have probably heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is definitely true with a LinkedIn profile. Since hiring managers and others reviewing your profile cannot see you in person, they will form a first impression based on your photo. The picture should be uncluttered and focus only on your face. If you already have a professional headshot, that would be the ideal photo to use for LinkedIn.
When deciding what information and experience to include in your LinkedIn profile, consider whether it enhances your personal brand, relates to the job you would eventually like to land or provides you with valuable skills.
The Career Advising Program Manager at University of Phoenix also advises users to research industry keywords and optimize a LinkedIn profile by including them throughout the text. Keep in mind that recruiters and hiring managers search for profiles based on industry keywords, so be sure to take the time to make yours as relevant as possible.
The easiest way to create a professional brand for yourself on LinkedIn is to include the following:
- Link to your student or business website
- Videos of presentations you have performed
- Links to articles you have written
- Your student or business portfolio
Adding these touches helps to distinguish your profile from the many other profiles company representatives may have reviewed for the same position.
Engage on LinkedIn for the Best Results
After spending considerable time creating and optimizing your profile, you cannot just forget about it and hope to enjoy all the benefits the website has to offer. LinkedIn offers hundreds of groups from nearly every industry. Joining at least a few is a great way to meet new people in your industry. Making connections is also important. If you are not sure who to connect with, look at the recommendations provided by LinkedIn to start.
Once you have made several connections, the recommendations from LinkedIn may be friends of friends. While you are free to request a connection with anyone, provide the professional courtesy of introducing yourself. A personal note is always nice, especially when you comment on something the potential connection posted.
Don’t forget to ask for endorsements of your skills and offer to do the same for others. Consider the skills you want to highlight on your LinkedIn profile and ask people who have observed you using these skills to write a recommendation.
Keep in mind that it is never too early to set up a LinkedIn profile, even if you are several years away from launching a new career. Maintaining a profile while a student can help you stay on top of industry trends to help you feel confident when the time comes to start applying for jobs.
About University of Phoenix
Established in 1976, University of Phoenix offers certificate programs as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in an online format. Students can also choose to complete one of several competency-based programs. The University offers more than 100 programs to prepare students for today’s workplace. To learn more, please complete this contact form and a representative will follow up with specific program and school information.
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