LinkedIn Profile Do’s and Don’ts
If LinkedIn is a snapshot of your professional career, then that picture is worth a thousand words.
As UX recruiters for everyone from startups to Fortune 100 companies, we often use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool and a way to discover and search for new talent. And we’re not alone. So, if you want to get noticed, it’s time to take you’re LinkedIn profile seriously.
With just a single profile photo and a short bio to describe you and your career, you might be thinking, “How hard could it be?” But we’ve come across too many profiles that miss the mark and do more to detract us from reaching out than entice us to pursue recruitment. Because, although it is only 2,000 characters, your LinkedIn Profile is so much more.
You should begin by setting your profile up with a photo. It’s incredibly important to have a photo as it’s a recruiters first impression of you. Without it, you may be giving off the impression that you have something to hide or that you’re not taking your profile seriously – and therefore not taking your career seriously. Additionally, those with complete profiles on LinkedIn are more likely to show up higher in search results, and your profile isn’t considered complete until you’ve uploaded a photo.
When choosing the photo you share with potential employers and recruiters be selective. Avoid awkward selfies and pics of you kicking it with your friends after work at the local pub, as well as provocative shots that are better suited for your dating profile. Instead, your photo should reflect your personality while, and here’s the important part, remaining professional. An informal setting is acceptable for a casual and modest photo, however, if you’re interested in a more senior role consider a more formal shot (it conveys authority). And if you’re a graphic designer and you take the time to enhance your photo in some way that reflects your skills and personality, even better.
Heading for the Hills
As we move down your profile, your headline is the next thing to catch a potential employer or recruiter’s eye. It should include your current title in a way that effectively describes your role to others. For example, rather than using the internal title VP of Interaction, use a title that gives a deeper dive into your role, such as VP of Interaction Design for Software. This will give others an immediate sense of your level of experience and area expertise.
Be sure to recognize the nuances in terminology so as to best express your professional identity during the process. If your headline includes the title of Graphic Designer, it will be assumed you work in print over digital or web, whereas if you have a Visual Designer title it will likely be assumed you have a focus in digital or web-based design, not print.
Companies and recruiters are looking at your LinkedIn profile to assess your experience, but it doesn’t take the place of your resume. While your resume should be tailored to each job target, you must decide whether your LinkedIn profile should be general enough appeal across markets or focused on one specific job target. You can then include the education and previous experience that best aligns with your strategy.
Keep your experience short and sweet, but interesting. Speak to each unique scope and accomplishments of current and previous employment experience, remembering specific skills can be added to your profile separately.
Sum it Up
One of the most important things your LinkedIn profile should accomplish is a clear progression of your career and growth of skills over time. And your summary provides the additional opportunity to add personal flavor while listing accomplishments and unique moments throughout your career. Your summary should not only give a sense of what you have done, but it should also give the reader an idea of who you are. Your personality should come through but it’s important to remember this is a glimpse into your professional character, so, curse words and inappropriate language are a big no. And while use of words like ninja can be fun and have their place, if there is too much sprinkled throughout your profile it can be a turn off, so use sparingly.
Don’t be shy about listing specific accomplishments and awards that pertain to your professional career as well as your personal life. If you’ve ran an Iron Man marathon, this is a great time to highlight the moment. But if you have any awards, video, or media to add that highlights your accomplishments, keep them in the professional (not personal) space. Your portfolio for example, should be easily accessible and linked here.
Your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to build trust between you and a potential employer or recruiter. Unlike a resume that makes claims of experience and skills, your LinkedIn profile provides multiple ways to create assurance and backup statements about your career.
References are a great way for recruiters and companies to see how you are or were valued by other employers and what you were able to do for them during your time in that role. Not everyone has them, and they hold weight when considering a candidate. But it is obvious which are meaningful and which are a likely friend doing you a favor, so be sure to only include those that are worthwhile. The additional skills and endorsements provide another layer, giving former employers, co-workers and clients a chance to give approval of your claims.
LinkedIn is a social media platform at its core, so engaging in the social aspect is important in keeping your profile active and alive. Give updates that include new accomplishments, fun projects and professional achievements. And engage with others. But always keep in mind, social media rules apply! Don’t post anything polarizing or inappropriate. Your audience on LinkedIn does not just include friends and family it includes your current and potential employers, so keep the content professional and relevant to your industry, while thinking of what others would find interesting and of value.
Check 1, 2
Just as a musician does a sound check before a performance, do a profile check before publishing. If you’re not great at spotting errors, ask a friend to proofread for you. Typos and grammatical errors are tough to come back from, so do your due diligence to make sure your language is clean and error free. Grammar, just like on your resume, should be perfect as it implies an attention to detail and a level of care that may reflect on your work ethic.
Your LinkedIn profile, when done right, will entice recruiters and companies to want to know more about you while not leaving the big important questions unanswered. In Goldilocks terms, you shouldn’t give away too much or too little – it should be just right. Don’t make the mistake of leaving off important details of your background or stripping down your title and headline too much to speak to your specific experience. Rather, include those with the addition of a summary that speaks to your personality and progression of your career, and recommendations that are genuine and meaningful. And conversely, if it isn’t relevant don’t include it. An overwhelming profile with countless skills, weak recommendations and a wordy summary that rambles on is just as much of a disqualifier.
When walking away from your profile, the reader should feel as though they understand your brand, what you’re all about, and what skills and experience you have that could benefit their organization. So, what do you want your profile to say about you?
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UX Hires (www.uxhires.com) helps you build your dream UX team or find you the perfect UX job. We are experts in User Experience recruitment and understand brands and agencies alike. Thanks to our affiliation with Motivate Design (www.motivatedesign.com), a leading User Experience research and design agency, UX Hires has an unparalleled understanding of the UX Design, UX Research, and Visual/UI Design space and reach within the community.