How To Create An Awesome LinkedIn ProfileMy Dad always told me that the best time to find a great job is when you already have a good job.  He told me to always be ready for job opportunities by having a current resume ready.  Now we can keep our options open by maintaining a presence on LinkedIn.  By being visible to recruiters, even when you’re not looking for a job, puts you in a position to attract opportunities.  A well written profile, filled with current, and relevant information is what you need to distinguish yours from the rest.  It should also be continuously evolving, so keep editing and updating it.  If you know who the top people in your field are, have a look at their profiles for inspiration.

1.  Headline

When recruiters do a search for potential candidates, they get a results page and the first impression they have is your headline.  This will often determine whether they click through and read your profile at all.  This isn’t a time to be funny, although while I was a stay at home mom to a newborn, I did list my current job as Sherpa.  Your headline should be clear and concise.  It should describe your professional goal.  It should also be realistic.  If your headline says one thing, but you can’t back it up with relevant work experience on your resume, you’ll just cause confusion.

2.  Photo

You should use a professional looking photo.  Even if you choose not to have a professional headshot taken, have a friend or family member take one of you with a neutral backdrop and decent lighting.  This is not the place for the photo you use as your facebook or online dating profile.  Recruiters are looking for a photo of you wearing work appropriate clothing and makeup.  They shouldn’t be able to see drinks or cigarettes in your hands.

3.  Summary

Your summary is your sales pitch and if it doesn’t grab attention, most people will not continue reading.  You need it to be so interesting that it draws the recruiter in and makes them want to read the rest of your profile.  Keep it short, conversational, memorable, and catchy.  Two or three paragraphs written in the first person, describing your personal approach, goals, accomplishments, and achievements.

4. Experience

This part should match your resume so that when you bring it to a job interview the recruiter isn’t confused by the disparity between what’s on paper and what they read on your profile.  Keep it simple because you already got descriptive in your summary.  Here you should have two or three sentences about each position you held, and a few bullet points about what you accomplished there.  It’s not helpful to list every job you’ve ever had.  Focus on the ones that are relevant to the work you are pursuing.

5. Keywords

Many people will find you through connections but even more will find you through advanced searches.  Your summary needs to incorporate keywords that will attract potential clients or recruiters.  Make a list of keywords important to your industry and use them in your summary, and in the paragraphs about your experience.

Garrett Payne works with the team at Lakeshore Branding.  He is currently teaching others how to create and manage their own LinkedIn profiles.