With over 470 million users and growing on LinkedIn, making a profile that stands out and is memorable for the right reasons is key.

 

With 94% of recruiters searching for job candidates on the largest business and employment-oriented social networking site, this naturally for millions of users also is home to their personal and professional brand.  For many years, we referred to our brand as our “reputation” and this reputation was built face-to-face.  These days, first impressions are most likely to be formed online and LinkedIn is often the first place people “meet” you.  Knowing this, what are some things you can do to make sure your first impression is the best impression on LinkedIn?

 

  • Professional Photos are Everything

In a 2016 LinkedIn survey, it was found that your profile is 21 times more likely to be viewed if you have a LinkedIn photo that is not only visible, but done well.  “First impressions are everything,” says President of Cochran, Cochran and Yale Shawn Baker.  “When I am seeking candidates on LinkedIn I am more likely to reach out to someone who comes off in their picture as not only professional, but personable.”  He adds: “I am more likely to skip over profiles without a picture or those who don’t look put together.”  Experts say that if you can afford a professional photo, it may be the best investment you can make for your personal brand and self-confidence.  Get rid of cropped photos, poor quality pictures, or those with you hanging out at the beach (that is unless you are a pro surfer).

 

  • Create a Catchy and Strategic Headline.

LinkedIn headlines create first impressions and are the keywords that allow recruiters to find you.  It is important when creating a strong headline to be specific about who you are and what you do.  It is important to incorporate relevant words and use industry appropriate terminology.  If you are unemployed, avoid using that word in your headline.  Your headline should help convey your value and what you can bring to an organization, not what you aren’t doing at the moment.

 

  • Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Recommendations

Getting recommendations from your LinkedIn network as well as Featured Skills/Endorsements let others talk highly about you, while allowing you to not seem overly boastful.  Ask for recommendations just after completing a project or when you receive an award.  Make your request by giving someone a call and thanking them for taking the time to do so.

 

  • Manage your Featured Skills and Endorsements

According to a 2016 LinkedIn study, users who display five or more skills are messaged 31 times more and viewed 17 times more than those who do not.  Wow!  So as meaningless as endorsements may seem, they do bring more attention to profiles.  It is all about credibility.  When someone is willing to endorse you for your skills this shows others that you know what you are talking about.

 

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Post Videos, Photos, and Projects

Consider LinkedIn your online portfolio or to show others just how good you are at what you do.  LinkedIn makes it so easy to post pictures, videos, or projects under the Experience, Education, or Summary sections. They also allow you to customize a background banner for your profile where you can put an image that represents you or what you do for a living.  Showing others what you do hands down is the best way to promote your brand and draw attention to your profile.  People will feel engaged and want to start a conversation.