You know you’re supposed to keep your LinkedIn profile updated, but beyond tweaking your summary and adding new achievements and keywords, what’s there to change? Plenty—if you’re ready to tell an intentional, deliberate story about your value in a way that other candidates won’t. Or to put that more succinctly, if you want to get the attention of recruiters who are poking around the platform looking for amazing hires.
Depending on where you are in your career and what you’ve done so far, companies will be looking for different “So what?” factors, and you’ll want to use your profile to reveal them accordingly. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can update it to reinforce your brand.
Entry Level: 1–2 Years
At this point in your career, it’d be a long shot to claim you’re an expert. Instead, show off these three elements of your brand:
- Your enthusiasm for your work (or what you’ve studied)
- Your engagement within an industry, field, or innovation space
- Your ability to problem-solve, create, and execute
Fold your passion and industry involvement into your personal brand through online engagement. Include pictures of yourself at industry events as part of your status updates. Share and comment on current articles or conversations related to the field. Tag relevant companies or influencers for bonus points.
These seemingly small moves will be stapled to the top of your profile in the “Your Articles & Activity” section, serving as one of the first impressions you’ll make on visitors. And don’t forget to include projects, presentations, and other portfolio items related to your points of passion and industry of choice. These items will prove your talents—without job experience.
Professional: 3–6 Years
Step 1: Trim the details about your GPA and those high school and college summer gigs.
Step 2: Sell yourself based on your recent experiences and top skills.
Your profile headline and summary are the standard places to pitch these qualities, but with LinkedIn’s 2017 redesign, the most recent role in your professional experiences section is actually one of the best places to do this.
Why? Past positions are hidden away accordion-style with a “See more” option—and most people won’t bother to click this. However, your current job description is right there, wide open, waiting to be read.
So try what I call the “Blurb-Twist-Proof” approach. Your blurb frames your day-to-day in terms of your talents (rather than job duties). Then your twist connects those talents to your proof (aka results). It looks like this:
My role with MuleSoft was a chance to further my skills as a relationship builder and sales leader. Driving business outcomes for the Denver team has shaped my ability to understand customer pain points, and my “Let’s figure it out” approach helped create engaging mobile experiences.
Value that I’ve contributed on the Denver team includes:
- Increasing sales revenue by 430% by framing product roadmap changes as value-add features that secured two new $100K+ accounts
- Copresenting an “Everybody Sells” training workshop that taught all employees how to explain products (program led to a relationship with the San Francisco Giants)
Word to the wise: Curate just two to three of your top talents in this space, lengthy paragraphs simply won’t get read. Plus, a short preview lets people know you have even more to offer.
Mid-Career: 7–15 Years
At this point, your goal is to capture your leadership ability and the specialized set of skills you’ve gained. You’ll also want to demonstrate that by hiring you, employers are becoming a part of your strong network of industry contacts.
Recommendations are the drop-dead best social proof in showing that you’re connected with influential figures in your industry. Give them just as regularly as you ask for them. (It’s a two-way street!)
Here’s my template for requesting them:
I’m about to [start a job search / pitch an idea] and a recommendation from you would help me gain some serious traction.
I’m hoping to highlight [talents you want to highlight], but would value anything you write from the heart.
If it’d be easier for me to provide a potential draft for you to edit, please let me know, and thanks in advance for considering this.
These small write-ups are an opportunity to show visitors both the community you’ve created for yourself and the fact that you’re someone who people are happy to recommend.
C-Level, VP, Or Director: 15+ Years
At this point, your profile likely tells a cohesive, compelling story about your skills, experience, and passion. Way to go! All that’s left is creating and distributing some rock-solid thought leadership content.
The value in publishing these items is twofold. First, it increases the visibility of your profile and number of visits because all of your connections get a notification when you publish. Second, it solidifies you as an expert within your industry.
If you’re not much of a writer, consider sharing your insights using short videos. Or if you’re strapped for time in general, use “commentary” posts. Find a relevant article for your industry, write a paragraph intro sharing your thoughts on the content, and then post it. The goal is to market yourself with content that solves a top problem of your target audience while creating a dialogue among your network.
Figuring out what story to tell at different points in your career can be a challenge. But, you need more than keywords to impress on LinkedIn. Get creative as you update your profile and capture your “So what?” factor using elements that others tend to overlook!