If you’re a movie buff you may remember one of the famous lines from Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) when he asks the often defiant Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr) for help because Tidwell rejects every piece of advice Maguire gives him. Maguire begged Tidwell, “Help me…Help me, Help you!” and take his advice so he could help him become a top player in the game.
As a career coach and resume writer, I can relate to Maguire’s plea. If you just do a few small things to your LinkedIn profile, it could make all the difference in the world. Your LinkedIn profile is a tool that helps lead to the ask for your resume. A well-written resume may never see the light of day with a poorly created LinkedIn profile.
New for 2018: To help you increase your chances of being found by recruiters on LinkedIn, I created a video that includes ways to help you improve your LinkedIn profile.
Below is a list of 9 tips to help keep you in the game:
- Do not flirt or try to “hook up” – Why? LinkedIn is not a dating site. It’s a site for professional networking and job search. Consider this golden rule: if you wouldn’t say it during the interview don’t say it on LinkedIn. Save the flirty banter for Facebook or eHarmony.
- Include a profile picture – A simple headshot with a white background will do – don’t forget to smile. Shadowman will most definitely get you passed by on LinkedIn. While we’re talking pictures, it may be a good idea to stay away from profile pictures of your family pet, selfies, and photos that show a lot of cleavage or skin (no low cut blouses, tube tops, bathing suit tops, or other socially risque photos). Save those for Instagram. If you would not wear it to an interview or board meeting, then don’t post it as your profile picture on LinkedIn.
- Connect with more than your family and close friends – Connect with people who are hiring (HR, recruiters, talent managers, sourcers, etc) or the people you want to partner with in business. If they happen to be family/friends, double score!
- Personalize your connection message – Since we are talking connections, tailor your connection message beyond the boring “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network” or “Since you are someone I trust, I would like to add you to my network” Write your message as if you were at a networking event and you had to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. A personal message will increase your chances of connecting. Be careful though, five “I don’t Know” alerts from LinkedIn will get you temporarily blocked. You have a higher chance of getting blocked with impersonal connection messages.
- Complete your LinkedIn profile – A few of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile are your Headliner, Summary, and Work Experience – complete each of these sections and add a description to each job too. You are more than your job title.
- Include contact info – Nothing is more frustrating to a recruiter or prospective customer than not knowing how to contact you. Include an email address or best contact phone number. Google Voice offers free phone numbers so you do not have to put your personal number on your profile. Click here to find out more.
- Include a professional email address – An email using your first and last name with very few symbols/numbers whenever possible is perfect. Some job seekers have lost opportunities because of their email address. Example: firstname.lastname@example.org is more professional and easier to remember than email@example.com and easier to remember than RS174@gmail.com.
- Use your real name – Speaking of professionalism, enter your first and last name as your profile name. “Emily Smith” is more professional than Emily “The Fitness Guru” Smith. Also, do not enter your business name as your profile name. To properly brand your business create a LinkedIn business page. For more info, click here.
- Do not copy your entire resume onto your LinkedIn profile – like your resume, LinkedIn is a selling tool and should give the highlights of your skill set, not all of your skills. Your profile should generate the “ask” for your resume. Give someone a reason to call or email you and ask for your resume.
Following these simple set of rules can greatly increase your chances of getting found on LinkedIn to score the job or business of your dreams.
Holly Bunn is a resume writer, career coach, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. Her clients have secured interviews with Fortune 100 companies. She is sought after as a subject matter expert on LinkedIn and has delivered workshops and speeches to hundreds of job seekers. For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.