After your resume, your LinkedIn profile is likely the most important source of data a potential employer will see prior to deciding whether to reach out to you for an interview. Yet too few professionals take full advantage of this social medium as a marketing tool for their personal brand.
If you want to make your LinkedIn profile stand out in a sea of other IT leaders, the key is to diversify, says Jenna Spathis, team lead of technology recruiting at the staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network.
[ Are your social manners lacking? See our related story, 6 LinkedIn etiquette mistakes IT leaders hate. ]
How to improve your LinkedIn profile
Consider these ten suggestions for curating a more captivating presence on the professional social network:
1. Craft a compelling summary
Many people won’t make it past the first page of your profile, so make sure you include a concise but intriguing intro. “Be sure to include recent, relevant, measurable achievements in your summary to stand out from the crowd of people who do what you do,” says Lisa Rangel, founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes.
2. Articulate your professional experience
Don’t simply list your employer and title in the work experience section. “Include a short summary of your job responsibilities, but also include major accomplishments, metrics, or relevant projects you are proud of,” Spathis says. “If you’ve received promotions, be sure to include all titles under the company and list out different job responsibilities per title.”
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3. Populate your skills section
“Include technologies, software, and systems you have experience with,” advises Spathis. Even if your role as an IT leader is naturally less technical in nature, it remains important to stay technologically relevant.
4. Include links to personal projects
Have a portfolio? A GitHub account? A link to a project or case study PDF? Publish those. “This is a great way to demonstrate accomplishments or experience,” says Spathis.
5. Consider the algorithms
Just as with your resume, your profile will be parsed by machines. Proceed wisely. “In your profile or resume, you might be tempted to throw in words that you think will get noticed by the machine learning algorithm. However, if a company is sifting through a collection of documents it will likely filter out words used by many people or that are filler words. If everyone wrote the words ‘innovative’ or ‘leadership’, then the algorithm might filter those words out, even if these words are individually important to the text being analyzed,” says Pat Ryan, executive vice president of enterprise architecture at SPR. “In this case, you might want to look for words that have similar meanings but might not be commonly used.”
6. Establish yourself as a thought leader
LinkedIn is not just a resume repository; it’s a content-sharing platform, offering a great opportunity to display your relevance. “Share articles you’ve been quoted in or links to conferences you’ve spoken at to showcase you’re a thought leader in your industry,” Spathis says.
7. Be a follower
Join relevant groups and follow organizations or thought leaders relevant to your skill sets and interests. “Groups for tech professionals offer a forum to discuss trends in the industry or questions related to any problems or questions tech professionals may be having in their space,” Spathis says. “You may be alerted about different network events or meetups through these groups as well.”
8. Always be connecting
Get in the habit of adding to your network in the moment. “If you meet someone, especially at a networking event, send a LinkedIn invite to connect,” says Spathis. “It is a great way to follow your professional network, help them in celebrating accomplishments, and see where their career takes them.”
9. Go 360 with your recommendations
“Any and all recommendations are great. However, be sure to diversify them,” says Spathis. Include a recommendation not just from your boss, but from a former colleague, vendor, or business partner. “Switching up the perspective of the recommendations shows different sides of you as a working professional, like how it is to manage you and what it’s like to work with you,” Spathis says.
10. Conduct an annual (or even quarterly) spring cleaning
You’ll be forgiven if editing your profile on a regular basis didn’t make it on your already packed to-do list. But that will only create more work for you in the long run. “If you only update [your profile] once after five years in a role, it is going to be quite tough to recount all your professional milestones,” says Spathis. Update this at least annually so all achievements are top of mind.
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Follow The Enterprisers Project on LinkedIn, for practical advice on your toughest problems: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/the-enterprisers-project.