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   october 2012


Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile

By Elizabeth Lions

Why are so many people confounded by todayís rapidly changing social media landscape? Like eating vegetables, we all know we need to be online and have a professional presence, but it gets confusing when it come to content, frequency and engagement. The most popular presentation I gave this year was on social media ó how it works and why we should even bother.

Mostly, I get a lot of questions about using LinkedIn. Questions such as: 

  • What should be on my LinkedIn profile?

  • Do I have it filled out enough?

  • What else should I put on there?

  • Should I have three recommendations?

  • Does my picture look ok?

  • Do I have to have a picture at all?

  • What do people look at when they read my profile?

  • How will a recruiter find me ?

To make it very easy, your LinkedIn profile should mirror your resume. Take out your resume and start there. Employers will look at your LinkedIn profile and it needs to match your resume or potential hiring authorities will be confused. As you can imagine, confusion isnít the desired effect, and you may not get a call to interview.

Begin with the basics. Where you worked, how long you worked there and job title is fine. More than that, people will not have time to read, and won't be inclined to do so. My suggestion is to have a short page. Less is more. Being too detailed on LinkedIn could be a hindrance, rather than a help. Remember, this is just a snapshot of your professional skills and what you have to offer.

Which brings me to my next point. What do you have to offer? What unique skills and qualities do you have that a reader would be interested in? When you write, consider the reader at all times.

Ah, the dreaded picture. What should the picture look like? The picture should be simple and current. Carefully look at the background. Donít allow the background to distract the reader.  Think of it this way: if you met someone you didn't know at a coffee shop, would they recognize you from your LinkedIn photo?

Recruiters will find you by titles and by key words. Fill out the skills section of LinkedIn from the drop-down menuís skill words. Be creative. Use as many as you can to trip the search engine. Be broad as well. For example, if you are a software engineer, include words such as design, de-bugging, create, code, etc. As simple as that sounds, break it down for the reader and trip the search engine. Use a little industry jargon and pepper that in the profile as well.

Thirty-nine percent of LinkedIn users are managers, directors, owners, chief officers or presidents. The industries with the highest concentration are high tech (14.3%), finance (12.4%) and manufacturing (10.1%). Seventy-five percent use it for business purposes, and of all social media, it has the oldest users at an average of 44.2 years old.

Above all, remember you are writing your profile for others. There are real, live people on the other end of the computer screen.

For more on making the most of your LinkedIn profile, see also:

Pollak, Lindsey, "How to Showcase Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn: 8 Tips," LinkedIn blog post, 26 June 2012

IEEE-USA Webinar, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, Presenter: Wayne Breitbarth, Recorded 10 May 2012


Comments on this story may be emailed directly to Today's Engineer or submitted through our online form.


Elizabeth Lions is an author, speaker and executive coach and leadership expert. Her second book, I Quit! Working for You isnít Working for Me, will be released in late October 2012. She specializes in working with engineers and high tech professionals in coaching practice. For more about her work, please visit www.elizabethlions.com

Comments may be submitted to todaysengineer@ieee.org.


Copyright © 2012 IEEE

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