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How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

A couple of weeks ago I did a group coaching call with my clients on the topic of LinkedIn. It was a Q&A call and one of the many questions I covered was, “How should my LinkedIn profile differ from my resume?”

How Your LinkedIn Profile Should Differ From Your Resume

The beauty of a LinkedIn profile is it can do things your resume cannot. Trust me, you want to take advantage of these features so your profile will stand out from your resume. And so it will stand out from other LinkedIn profiles.

The first difference is, a resume limits you to your employment history and professional items from the past. On your LinkedIn profile, you can share both your professional past AND your future professional goals.

You can incorporate your future professional goals in your headline and summary section. Feel free to share in these fields what it is you’re working toward using relevant keywords that will show up when recruiters’ search results when they search those same keywords. You can also incorporate your goals in the interests section. Do this by following companies and joining groups related to your career goals.

The headline and summary are also good places to show some of your personality and work philosophy. You can’t always do this on a resume.

Another great feature of LinkedIn is you can include a digital portfolio within your profile. You can add media, files, and links of samples of your work in both the summary section and in each job entry. This keeps your profile from looking “flat” and gives viewers an idea of the type of work you’re capable of.

In addition, you can showcase your writing ability by posting articles on LinkedIn on a regular basis. This is great if you like to write or are looking for a role that requires a lot of writing. These articles show up on your profile and you can share them via the newsfeed and within your groups.

While you can’t target your LinkedIn profile like you can a resume, you do have the option to add a personalized note to potential recruiters. You’ll find this feature under the “Career Interests” section when in the profile edit mode.

What You Need to Know About Your Profile Photo

The most obvious way your LinkedIn profile should differ from your resume is you should include a photo of yourself.

While there are several new resume templates in platforms like Canva that have a place for you to insert your photo, it’s still frowned upon in some industries to include your photo on your resume. But you are expected to have one on your LinkedIn profile. (In fact, it appears kind of “sketchy” if you don’t!)

You don’t necessarily have to hire a professional photographer for your picture. But it should be a photo of you looking professional. It should be one of you wearing the type of clothing typical of your chosen industry. And the background should be one of a work environment.

It amazes me how many people still will use a wedding photo of them and their spouse for their LinkedIn profile picture. Or a photo with their bestie. If you and your bestie are of the same gender, how am I supposed to know which one of you in the picture is the one I’m reading about??? Don’t ever do this!

How Your LinkedIn Profile Should NOT Differ From Your Resume

What should NOT differ from your resume is your descriptions of your past jobs. Just like on your resume, you want to include the things you accomplished in your job and the results of your work (with numbers to quantify it!).

If you choose to only list your job title, company name and dates of employment, you’re leaving a huge, gaping hole in your LinkedIn profile. Especially if a recruiter decides to save your profile to a PDF, which is an option available to them directly from your profile (see screenshot below).

 

Most job seekers aren’t aware of this option, but recruiters know about it! When anyone saves your profile as a PDF and downloads it, it pops up in a resume format. Not having all of your profile filled out, especially all your job descriptions/duties/accomplishments, will make the PDF look like a very sparse resume.

Don’t believe me? Go to your profile and click the “More” button under your headline. When you “save to PDF” and the downloaded PDF pops up, are you happy with how it looks? If not, you need to go back and fill out your profile more thoroughly.

Disclaimer:

Keep in mind the above suggestions are based on the features and functionality of the LinkedIn platform available at the date of this post. LinkedIn is notorious for changing its functionality and removing features on an extremely frequent basis (one of my biggest pet peeves). What may be accurate at the date of this post may not be accurate even a week from now.

Help With Your LinkedIn Profile:

If you’d like a critique of your own LinkedIn profile or would like to learn more about how to better use LinkedIn to your advantage, please click here to fill out the paNASH intake form.

If you become a paNASH client, you’ll also receive access to the recording from the LinkedIn group coaching call where I answered several other questions about LinkedIn including:

  • Should I purchase the Premium membership?
  • Do recruiters really use LinkedIn?
  • Do people really get jobs through LinkedIn?
  • and more!

In addition, you’ll receive access to other past group coaching recordings and invitations to future group coaching sessions.

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