3 ½ Steps to a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

March 29, 2016

Here is an article written by Career Coach and owner of Professional Courage, LLC, Kris McGuigan. This is the second of three articles Kris is providing for the benefit of our readers.

3 ½ Steps to a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

I have said it before and I will say it again: LinkedIn is THE place to be in order to position yourself for career success. Why? Because that’s where the people are at.

LinkedIn is the #1 social network for professionals, with more than 414 million registered users as of February 2016. The site adds two new members every second. With so many members, how do you create a profile that will help you stand out among the crowd?

1. Increase Search Results with Strategically-Placed Keywords
Keywords play an important part in being found by people who don’t know you on LinkedIn — this is particularly true for jobseekers who are hoping for contacts from prospective employers and recruiters. Keywords are a list of words and phrases that are related to your work; they are the words that a prospective employer would search for when trying to find someone like you.

LinkedIn Headlines are searchable fields using the “People Search” function when someone is looking for particular skills, interests, qualifications, or credentials. You can also incorporate keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile, including:
•    Current and former work experience
•    Summary section
•    Skills section and other sections in the Background
2. Engage the Reader with Compelling Content Written in a Conversational Tone
A big pitfall that many LinkedIn users fall into is to simply copy and paste resume content. Your online profile should complement your resume, not mirror it.

One key difference between your LinkedIn profile and your resume is the tone in which it is written. Resumes use what professional writers call resume speak: short, concise sentences void of articles (the/a/an). Resumes should always be written in first person, yet never contain the pronoun “I.”

Standard English Sentence Structure: I devised a 3-year strategic plan to stabilize the distributors’ network and improve sales.

Resume Speak: Devised 3-year strategic plan to stabilize distributors’ network and improve sales.

LinkedIn profiles, however, are vastly different. Profiles should be written in a conversational tone, as if you sat down to have a cup of coffee with the reader to casually sharing your career journey. Profiles can tell a more comprehensive story and often include personal details such as a childhood memory that led to your career choice, a confession to your obsession with recreational lacrosse, or a highlight of your proudest accomplishment.
3. Create Visual Interest with Intentional Use of White Space
As with any marketing document, you must add visual appeal to control how the readers’ eyes flow through the content. Paragraphs should never be more than 3-4 lines for fear of losing your audience’s attention. Strategic and intentional placement of white space can help to separate subsections, drawn attention to key detail, and define lists.

Take visual appeal to the next level by incorporating symbols. Click HERE for a listing of characters you can cut and paste into your profile to add some flair and personality.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for professionals looking to take their careers to the next level.  Be sure to make your profile pop with strong keywords, a conversational tone, and visual appeal.

If you are considering a possible career shift, enlisting the help of a professional can land you a job faster and easier than going it alone. Visit today to schedule your free consultation with a certified career management expert.  

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