Monday, December 30, 2013 at 12am

How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile main image

Learn how to improve your profile that will maximize your professional goals from a HEC Montreal MBA alumna.

LinkedIn is a terrific professional resource that can be used in a variety of ways. However, in order to get the most from your LinkedIn profile, it is important to uncover the many usages for this powerful online tool. Here’s my guide on how to improve your LinkedIn profile in order to allow it to help you along in your professional endeavors.

LinkedIn messages

LinkedIn messages allow you to connect with business professionals from all over the world. This means that you can stay in touch with people you have just met. If you attend a conference or networking event, you can immediately send a LinkedIn request to connect with anyone you have met and use a personalized message to remind them of why you’d like to keep in touch.

Once you have already connected with someone on LinkedIn, it becomes easier for you to get back in touch with him/her. I have sent LinkedIn messages to my contacts because I was visiting their cities, applying to jobs at companies where they worked or a friend wanted to know more about their company, for example. If you click on the ‘Contact Info’ tab, you will also find email address, Twitter, websites, and other contact details that will allow you to continue your conversation elsewhere, or include others who do not have a LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn connections

LinkedIn connections allow you to – as the name suggests – connect to various people. Let’s say you really want to work at a particular company. When you type the company into the search bar and click on the company when it comes up, then LinkedIn will display the number of people who are first-degree connections (to whom you are already connected), second-degree connections (connected to those to whom you are connected), and the total number of employees on LinkedIn. For second-degree connections, you can see which of your contacts knows someone at the company, so you can reach out to your LinkedIn connections on your own network to reach someone at that organization.

Using résumé keywords on your LinkedIn profile

You should be selective about the words you choose on your LinkedIn profile, as this is your virtual résumé and allows you determine how you want your background to be described. For example, if you have worked in insurance but are seeking opportunities in marketing, use marketing terminology to describe your experience. Using résumé keywords is ideal so that, if potential employers view your profile, they will be able to see why you are a good fit for the position you are seeking. If you make the experience seamless for them, then they will not have to make the leap on their own.

Furthermore, HR specialists use LinkedIn to find talented professionals for positions they are looking to fill. If your profile has the résumé keywords that they are looking to match, then they may reach out to you accordingly. For this reason, I recommend including any and all résumé keywords that accurately describe your background, as well as any positions you would want to hold.

LinkedIn profile: a handy database of experience

I have also found that LinkedIn has become an excellent database for all of my experience. When I have been asked about dates for positions I have held, my experience with events, a description of previous roles, or my writing samples, I have been able to pull up my LinkedIn profile and easily detail the answers. Similar to my personal blog, my LinkedIn profile has documented my past, providing me with details to elaborate on, when I may have forgotten the specifics.

LinkedIn recommendations

Employers are taking a leap of faith when they hire you. They are hoping that you have the skillset to best perform the duties necessary. They are also hoping that you get along with the team, and that you delivered on your promises with your previous employers. The less nervous you can make your future employers, the happier they will be. That is why companies rely heavily on personal referrals during the hiring process. It makes sense why it is important to ‘know someone’ when you want to work at a particular company – someone they trust will be able to vouch for you. This makes sense for larger companies or local companies where your chances of connecting with the relevant parties runs high. However, if you are attempting to find employment with a smaller organization and/or somewhere outside of your local geographical range, this can prove more difficult. That is why it helps to have LinkedIn recommendations on your profile, ideally from LinkedIn connections who have supervised or managed you. This will enable your future employers to see that people have publicly provided you with accolades.

There are a couple ways to proceed with requesting LinkedIn recommendations on your profile. The first is when you know you will be leaving a position where you were respected and spent a significant period of time. When notifying your boss and/or supervisor(s) of your leave, you can send LinkedIn messages and request that they submit LinkedIn recommendations for you. Secondly, after someone has complimented you on work well done (at your job or elsewhere), you can ask that they publicly display their positive words on your profile.

I hope that this has helped you to embark on a new and improved way of navigating LinkedIn!

About Lori Weiss

Lori Weiss received her MBA from HEC Montreal, where she was awarded the Global Citizenship Scholarship for her Campus Abroad trip to Russia. She is now working in Santa Monica, California as Inbound Sales Manager for Single Grain, LLC, a digital marketing agency. Prior to pursuing her MBA, Lori acquired five years of work experience as a Communications Manager for a Canadian Immigration law firm. Lori enjoys blogging and maintains her blog, Lori Weiss, MBA, where she talks about business, Silicon Beach, and her life on the west coast.


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